From NBC's Alex Wall and Caroline Gransee
Sen. John Warner (R-VA), Col. Bud Day, USAF (Ret.), Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, USMC (Ret.), Lt. Commander Carl Smith, USNR (Ret.) and McCain spokesman Brian Rogers responded in a conference call to Gen. Wesley Clark's (Ret.) most recent attack on McCain's military experience.
The McCain campaign held the conference call in order to "keep his reputation clean" and point out the inconsistencies between the Obama camps' actions and rhetoric.
"It is inconceivable that anyone take a shot at Senator McCain's military experience," Smith said. "Gen. Clark is way off base on this one."
Day added that, "no one who fought in Vietnam would question McCain's credentials." The group argued that McCain's success in commanding the Attack Squadron Sixty-Five (VA-65) in Vietnam has given him the leadership experience to "assess risk" and make informed foreign policy decisions.
Warner pointed out that, "McCain was one of the strong voices that spoke up [against Bush]" regarding the need for more forces in Iraq and noted that "he turned out to be correct."
The group went on to criticize Obama for "refusing to condemn attacks that have been leveled on Sen. McCain."
Rogers argued that Clark's remarks were another example where "his words don't match up with how he is running his campaign."
McCain's surrogates also noted that Clark's comment could have a greater effect on young voters who didn't live through Vietnam.
"Half of the people in this country were not alive during Vietnam," Orson said. "When you start spreading rumors on the integrity of a candidate it has a tendency to weigh in on those who do not know better…and young people…in many cases aren't familiar with Vietnam."