The Washington Times - July 17, 2008, 10:03PM

AUSTIN — Speaking tonight to the Netroots Nation gathering here, retired Gen. Wes Clark touched only briefly on the recent kerfuffle where he seemingly dissed Sen. John McCain’s military service.



He said he was quoted out of context, and added that the reaction was more about the right-wing “freak show” cycle.


Here’s some video:








Clark gave what one savvy blogger referred to as a “VP speech,” even though his chances of being Obama’s choice for No. 2 probably diminished with the dust-up.


“You’ve been a major force in my life,” Clark told the group of about 2,000, noting that the Internet community encouraged and aided his 2004 presidential bid.


He lauded practically every group attending, from military veterans, public servants like police and firefighters, political candidates and organizers and health care workers. He even thanked the “lawyers,” meaning public defenders helping make their cities safer.


He said progressive bloggers “keep America going in the right direction” and have brought unprecedented “passion ideas and energy to American politics.”


He said so often politics degenerates into name calling and said the netroots have avoided that.


“It’s not about partisanship and it’s not about personal attacks it really is about getting it right for the United States of America,” he said, adding: “You are the guiding compass for America.”


The crowd laughed when he said of the wealth of ideas coming from the group, “And you spew them forth in great volume.”


“Our country needs you needs you now more probably than at any other time in recent history,” he said.


Clark also praised Sen. Barack Obama as a candidate “who can bring that change if we put him in office.”


“But to bring that change you’ve got to bring the American people along with him,” he said. “Netroots nation you can do it.”


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times


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