The Cable

McCain: Is Bill Clinton preparing for a Hillary run in 2016?

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) suggested Tuesday that President Bill Clinton is getting more and more active in politics this cycle in preparation for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for the presidency in 2016.

"I would never think such a thing and I am certainly not Machiavellian, but I am told that there are some that think this may have a lot to do with 2016 and the president's wife, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton," McCain said Tuesday morning. "Of course I would never suspicion such a thing, but there are some real jerks around who think that might be the case."

McCain was speaking on a conference call following Monday night's debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. He said Obama is using President Clinton more and more in the campaign because Romney is gaining in the polls.

"I think [President Clinton's] appeal is obviously there and I don't think it's an accident that as Mitt Romney has surged in the polls there has been increase in the activities of President Clinton," he said.

In a recent interview with Marie Claire, Clinton repeated that she does not plan to run for president in 2016.

"I have been on this high wire of national and international politics and leadership for 20 years," Clinton said. "It has been an absolutely extraordinary personal honor and experience. But I really want to just have my own time back. I want to just be my own person. I'm looking forward to that."

McCain also addressed Obama's comments ridiculing Romney for comparing the size of the U.S. Navy today to its size during World War I.

"I think Governor Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works. You -- you mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets -- because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines," Obama said. "And so the question is not a game of Battleship where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities."

McCain said that Obama's highly touted rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region was an effort that requires robust ship presence and he said that if defense cuts under sequestration are allowed to take place, shipbuilding industries will suffer across the county and jobs will be lost.

"That was both demeaning to Mitt Romney and it also showed a degree of ignorance on the part of the president," McCain said. "You need naval presence the same way you did back then. Then to justify a steady reduction in shipbuilding, it shows a misunderstanding of the size of the challenge we face in the Asia-Pacific region."

McCain said that Romney had passed the commander-in-chief test at Monday's debate.

"The question in a lot of people's minds before this debate was: Is Mitt Romney capable of being the commander in chief?" McCain said. "I think he achieved that goal last night. I think he made it very clear to Americans, principally women, that he's not going to get us into other conflicts, that he understands the war-weariness of the American people over Iraq and Afghanistan. But he has also pointed out that we are weaker than we were four years ago, and of course in the Middle East that's absolutely true."

McCain did not mention that he supports U.S. airstrikes and the imposition of a no-fly zone in Syria.

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The Cable

Obama contradicts Clinton, calls China an ‘adversary’

President Barack Obama called China an "adversary" of the United States for the first time during tonight's debate, changing his own administration's messaging on the U.S.-China relationship and contradicting his own secretary of state.

"China is both an adversary, but also a potential partner," Obama said during the debate.

"China is doesn't have to be an adversary," Romney responded.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears to agree with Romney, not her boss. She's said on several occasions that China is not an adversary and doesn't have to become one.

"Now, some believe that China on the rise is, by definition, an adversary. To the contrary, we believe that the United States and China can benefit from and contribute to each other's successes," Clinton said in one her first speeches in office in 2009.

Apparently one of those "some" people is President Obama.

Still, as the Obama administration has became more wary of China's actions and intentions, Clinton has avoided calling China an "adversary." Asked last year if China were a "friend, foe, or adversary," she declined to say whether it were any one of the three.

"Well, my hope is that we have a normal relationship, a very positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship, where in some areas we are going to compete - there's no doubt about that - but in many areas we're going to cooperate. And we've seen that pattern in the last two years and it's a pattern that I think reflects the reality and the complexity of our relationship," she said.