Core 2 Duos are not similar to P4s at all. P4s use Netburst architecture, which really relied on high clock speeds to get any kind of performance. C2Ds, on the other hand, don't rely on high clock speeds for their performance, as they have a new architecture. This is where confusion arises because of the lower clock speeds in conroes.
That is part of the reason Intel has done away with using clockspeeds to distinguish between different CPUS. Now they have names like E6300 and E6400 and X6800, etc, etc. They want to show the independence of clock speed and performance.
Have a look at Tomshardware's interactive CPU charts to see how each CPU stacks up:
I compared a 3.6GHz Pentium D (Netburst) with a 2.4GHz C2D and the C2D still performs better, in spite of having 1.2 GHz for clock speed.
What the General was referring to about benchmarks mattering more than specs, is that when you use a computer, it isn't going to perform better just because it's box has more impressive numbers on it. The only way to find out exactly how well a CPU is gonna perform is by benchmarks, not by what it says on the box. For example, if you are looking for the best gaming CPU, then look up some gaming benchmarks, and see what has the highest FPS.
Got it now