McCain: Obama Should Cut Wesley Clark Loose.

Jul 1, 2008 7:29pm

ABC News’ Bret Hovell Reports: John McCain, taking questions from reporters aboard his Straight Talk Express: The Airplane Edition, said it was time for the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama to cut retired Gen. Wesley Clark loose.

"I think it’s up to Sen. Obama now to not only repudiate him, but to cut him loose," McCain said to a small group of reporters somewhere between Indianapolis, IN, and Cartagena, Colombia.

For two days, the Obama campaign has been off message, forced to manage the fallout surrounding comments Clark made about McCain’s war service in a broadcast interview Sunday. The highly regarded former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO said of McCain, whose plane was shot down and was later held captive in Vietnam, "I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president."

Onboard his plane Tuesday, McCain was asked if Obama — who did reject Clark’s comments on Monday –had done enough to repudiate the general. He didn’t take the bait. "That’s up to others to decide," said McCain. "I’m not going to worry about the comments General Clark made."

He implied that Clark’s comments were a distraction, saying they didn’t help solve the economic woes of the United States.

The wide ranging media avail was divided into 2 parts because of space concerns. About half of the 20 members of press traveling with the campaign joined McCain at a time in an area on the plane specifically designed for the flying press conference.

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