Thursday, May 22, 2008
McCain Responds to Obama on Veterans' Benefits [J. Peter Pham]
In a press release issued today, Sen. John McCain responded to Sen. Barack Obama's Senate floor remarks on veterans' benefits by accusing the Democratic presidential candidate of "tak[ing] cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of." Contrasting himself with his likely opponent in the general election—whom he characterized as someone "who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform"—the Arizona cited his personal history to affirm that his "admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge.
When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years. My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. I grew up in the Navy; served for twenty-two years as a naval officer; and, like Senator Webb, personally experienced the terrible costs war imposes on the veteran. The friendships I formed in war remain among the closest relationships in my life. The Navy is still the world I know best and love most. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well.
Differing from Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia), whom he described as a "friend and fellow veteran" and "an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously," Senator McCain argued that the legislation he had offered with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) would offer substantial increases in educational benefits without reducing retention rates. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee concluded:
Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election.
05/22 02:42 PMShare