Wesley Clark on the Campaign Trail

--When asked how he would rehabilitate relationships with former U.S. allies, Clark responded: "I always found it a good idea that when you go to France, not to ask for barbeque."

--And, for the first time, Clark resorted to some minor name-calling. Not directed at any specific opponent, but he did say, "… the difference between me and the chicken-hawks is I've been there."

When asked in a press availability following the event what the term "chicken-hawks meant," Clark said, "It's a slang term, I think you know what it means."

Clark continued saying, "It's a term of slang that's been applied to people who are very militant but haven't themselves served in the armed forces … I don't mean it in any personal sense. But I do mean it this way, if you want leadership that knows the right balance between diplomacy and the military, you have to have people who understand both elements and have seen both elements first-hand. I have."

Clark strategizes military experience

Nov. 11 — How will Clark's military experience shape his campaign? That's a question that is "probably too soon to answer," Clark told reporters Friday. The only retired four-star general in the race, Clark's 34 years in military service have defined his campaign from its early days. At almost every campaign event, Gen. Clark will stop, sometimes with jarring awkwardness in the midst of talking about Iraq, to ask the audience if any veterans are present and for them to please raise their hands so they can be recognized.

The General is in New Hampshire today through Friday with scheduled stops in honor of Veteran's Day. Clark Communications Director Matt Bennett told ABC News that Clark "feels like there's just not enough deference placed to people who served their country" and he "hopes to provide them with respect."

One staffer spoke about the strategy behind setting up the Veteran's Day stops: "We do things that put this guy in places where he can be passionate," and "he feels really passionate about veteran's affairs." Other campaign staffers pointed out that Clark is "the only Democratic candidate campaigning on Veteran's Day who's won a war" and anything related distinguishes The General from the candidates who "chose not to serve [in the military] for whatever reason."

Clark was recently asked if a military background is important to have as a candidate. "I think first-hand, practical leadership experience is important for the commander in chief," Clark answered. "And I think if you have that experience in foreign affairs, then it's even better. So I've been lucky, I have a lot of high-level, first-hand experience in foreign affairs."

Clark, however, is not being honored as of late by some other high-profile generals. What does he think about comments by Generals Shelton and Schwarzkopf that he would not make a good President? Clark said Friday: "I think it doesn't matter if you're generals or not, I think if you're going to speak about another person, you have an obligation to know something about the situation." He added that he didn't believe Shelton's comments have, or will, weigh heavily on his campaign.

"I don't think most Americans even know who General Shelton is," Clark said. "But I happen to like Hugh Shelton — I'm sorry he said that, because there wasn't a basis for it. If he has any specifics, I've invited him before to please discuss it, he hasn't. So, I have to assume there's nothing there. He may not have meant to say it, I don't know."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...