Clark: "What does John McCain really believe?"

Appearing on MSNBC Friday, retired Gen. Wesley Clark has some harsh words for the presumptive GOP nominee.

Published June 13, 2008 3:03PM (EDT)

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO commander who ran for president as a Democrat in 2004, has been making a splash lately with some particularly unsparing criticisms of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

On Wednesday, the Huffington Post reported on an interview Clark gave the Web site in which he said McCain is, "in national security terms ... largely untested and untried." Friday morning, in an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Clark hit out at McCain again.

Defending his earlier comments about McCain, Clark compared his own service -- especially the duration of his service, and the positions he attained along the way -- with McCain's. Then, referring to his leadership of NATO forces in Kosovo, Clark said, "John McCain was a senator, he supported my actions. But his support was rhetorical. He wasn't responsible, he's not been responsible, he hasn't felt the brunt of the responsibility, he hasn't felt the anguish of uncertainty, and that makes a big difference."

Then questioned by MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski -- who said McCain had credibility on issues like war and torture because of his experience as a POW -- Clark referred to McCain's "personal courage," but said, "On the other hand, he's changed his position on torture ... So what does John McCain really believe? Who is he? ... Is he just a guy who wants to be president and he'll say what's necessary to get the job?"

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz.