07/25/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Wesley Clark: I Was Victim Of 'Right Wing Freak Machine'

Late Thursday night, General Wesley Clark cast himself as a victim of the "right wing freak machine" after his comments on John McCain's military service caused a bout of political pandemonium.

Speaking to an adoring crowd at Netroots Nation in Austin, the General said that he "was taken out of context" when, on CBS' Face the Nation, he remarked that McCain's time as a POW did not serve as a qualification for the White House

"There is just no other way to say it," said Clark. "Someone said to me 'This is a playbook operation by the right wing freak machine, the great freak show where they take a statement, distort it, blast it out of context and make it personal. They are so good at it they did all three steps in three hours and you fought back and I'm grateful for you from the bottom of my heart.'"

Putting aside the descriptive words, Clark's remarks were clearly used as campaign kindling for McCain, whose campaign held three straight days of press conferences to hammer both the general and Barack Obama on the issue. The presumptive Republican nominee and his surrogates said Clark had belittled McCain's service for political gain. In the process McCain trotted out a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to not only defend the Arizona Republican but also attack Clark's record as well.

The irony continued soon thereafter, when the McCain campaign (after insinuating that military service was not fodder for a general election) put out a campaign commercial that focused greatly on his time in Vietnam.