Obama Campaign Responds to Questions of Patriotism


From CBS News' John Bentley

MEDFORD, ORE. – After Bill Clinton seemed to question Barack Obama's patriotism yesterday, the Obama campaign fired back today during a town hall meeting with a rebuttal from a retired four star general. "Both Barack Obama and John McCain are great patriots who love this country and are devoted to it," said Gen. Tony McPeak, who went to high school about 30 miles from the town hall in Medford. "So is Hillary Clinton. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat wrong."

McPeak was responding to a quote from Bill Clinton, which he read aloud to the several hundred who attended the town hall. "I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country," McPeak said, quoting the former president. "And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Saying these kinds of tactics had no place in a presidential campaign, McPeak said he was "saddened" to see the president make the comments. "He, of all people, should know better because he was the target of exactly the same kind of tactic when he first ran 16 years ago," McPeak continued. "They had no place then, and they have no place now."

McPeak introduced Obama at a rally last night in Eugene, but in an unusual move for this campaign, Obama had already started speaking today when he brought McPeak up to the stage. Obama himself did not address Clinton's statements, but thanked McPeak and compared the 72-year-old general to a 77-year-old movie star. "Let me just say that not only do I consider Gen. McPeak a friend and an advisor, but I just think the fact that he looks and sounds like Clint Eastwood is cool. That's what you want a general to look like and sound like," Obama said. "If you mess with him, you're in trouble."