Obama Backer Compares Clinton to McCarthy

Retired general blasts Bill's patriotism remark
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2008 6:33 AM CDT
Retired Gen. Merrill "Tony" McPeak introduces Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., at a rally at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Friday, March 21, 2008.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – A retired Air Force general yesterday compared Bill Clinton to red-baiting Sen. Joe McCarthy, after Clinton made comments that seemed to question Barack Obama's patriotism. The former president said at a North Carolina rally, "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, and people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude."

In a speech in Salem, Oregon, Merrill "Tony" McPeak took the comment as a challenge to Obama's patriotism, and likened it to McCarthy. "I was going to college when Joe McCarthy was accusing good Americans of being traitors, so I've had enough of it."  A Hillary Clinton spokesman dismissed the comparison as "absurd" "misinterpreting." McPeak was Air Force chief of staff under Clinton and George HW Bush, and now serves as  a co-chair of the Obama campaign.