ABC News’ Nitya Venkataraman Reports: In a Tuesday appearance on Good Morning America, Retired Army General and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark refused to back down from Sunday comments where he called into question the value of the war record of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
"I fully respect John McCain and his service and I’ve said so repeatedly," Clark said Tuesday in an interview with ABC News’ Robin Roberts. "My point is there’s a difference in comparing yourself for the highest office of the land depending on which levels you’ve served at in the armed forces."
Clark continued, again commending McCain for the "courage and character" he demonstrated as a young officer, "but the service as president is about judgment, and the experience he had as a fighter pilot isn’t the same as having been in the highest levels of the military and having to work with the president and other heads of the state and make those kinds of life or death decisions about national strategic issues."
When asked if McCain’s military experience is better than having no experience at all, Clark said "I think it depends on how you use that experience and what your judgment is."
"I hope the American people will discriminate between someone’s early experiences and the kind of judgment they take away from those experiences," Clark said.
Clark added, "I’m very sorry that this has distracted from the message of patriotism that Sen. Obama wants to put out, but I want to make very clear that as a Democrat and as a former Army officer, I fully respect Sen. McCain and all others who’ve served."