General Wesley Clark got himself into trouble a couple of weeks back when he responded to a remark from CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer made about how Barack Obama didn’t have the experience of riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down by saying “Well, I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president.”
Perhaps Clark had in mind this quote from then-Speaker of the House Henry Clay, who wrote a letter in 1825 mentioning Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans, who was running in a field of candidates for president (including Clay and the contested winner, John Quincy Adams):
Mr. Adams you know well I should never have selected, if at liberty to draw from the whole mass of our citizens xor a President. But there is no danger in his elevation now, or in time to come. Not so of his competitor, of whom I can not believe that killing two thousand five hundred Englishmen at New Orleans, qualifies for the various, difficult, and complicated duties of the chief magistracy.
From PBS’s Andrew Jackson: Good, Evil, and the Presidency.