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McCain gives Obama the smackdown on military service

After this, I cannot WAIT until McCain gets to actually debate Obama in front of a live audience. Obama's gonna get schooled, son!

First, Obama tried to make McCain look like he didn't care about veterans. Bad move number one. Here's Obama's statement:

"I respect Sen. John McCain's service to our country," Obama said on the Senate floor this morning. "He is one of those heroes of which I speak. But I can't understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill. I can't believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the president more on this issue."

He's referencing Sen. Webb's GI bill, which passed with a majority of 75 - 22.

McCain wasted no time in firing back:

"It is typical, but no less offensive that Sen. Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of," McCain said in the statement. "Let me say first in response to Sen. Obama, running for president is different than serving as president. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can't always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Sen. Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America's veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim."

I would highlight my favorite parts of that statement, but the whole thing is just so damn awesome. McCain spoke some more about his family's military service, and his alternative to Webb's GI bill. He praised Webb for his military service and called him an honorable man. Then, he offered us us another Obama smackdown:
[I] take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.

Good stuff. McCain then goes to explain how Webb's bill will hurt retention rates, and as we are fighting two wars right now, that would be a bad thing. Unlike many Washington politicians, McCain's support for our troops and veterans is heartfelt and genuine, and not just political, like some (like, maybe, Obama?). McCain pointed out the importance of increasing benefits to those who reenlist, rather than just giving the same benefits to everyone regardless of time served. He also gives a nice nod to the importance of NCOs (non-commissioned officers), which I thought was good to hear.

Then, McCain finishes with one last bang:

"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."

My advice to Senator McCain: keep saying stuff like this. You've got experience that Obama could never even fathom or begin to comprehend. Use it. You'll win a lot better by doing that, then you would by continuing to fight conservatives on issues like amnesty.

I'm talking to a brick wall here, but oh well. At the very least, this statement is near perfect. Interesting to see how Obama can come back from that.

For McCain's statement in full, visit the Politico, where Jonathan Martin has the entire thing.


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Comments (33)

Now this post was fun, but ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Now this post was fun, but who says Obama is going to accept any debate invitations?

Senator Obama has an extens... (Below threshold)

Senator Obama has an extensive and brilliant educational background in law and teaching constitutional law as a professor, on the other hand Senator McCain is merely a naval academy graduate, largely elected to both Congress and the Senate based on his heroic life story. McCain is hardly a details guy and has sometimes stooped to outbursts of anger and obscenities in Senate hearings when he could not even convince his own party members of his point of view. In TV appearances, McCain has sometimes misspoke or confused his positions, and worried his handlers and advisors. And McCain is the oldest man to seek presidency, while Senator Obama is one of the youngest and brightest senators.

The debates will certainly be filled with two contrasting visions for America, one defending the status quo, the failing economy, declining world respect, more of the same, or a call for change from Senator Obama challenging the public to think and to change Washington.

Younger voters may decide this election if they turn out in huge numbers, excited about the Obama message. McCain's support should largely come from older voters fearful of change, even if the current solutions aren't working at all and ruining America at home and abroad.

On the contrary, head to he... (Below threshold)
Don:

On the contrary, head to head Obama will school the doddering old man known as McCain. Vets deserve a college education, not the pittance McCain would give them. McCain wants them to serve and bleed and then deny them benefits. Shame on McCain, he doesn't care one iota about vets.

The last two posters don't ... (Below threshold)
Mitchell:

The last two posters don't know what they're talking about, and don't cite any evidence for their claims. Pathetic.

So, we see the similarities of Obama and his horde of worshipers--slogans are more important than policy, words more than deeds. Obama has tried to take credit for more legislation in the Senate that he had nothing or little to do with than any other Senator.

Is this really the character we want in the White House?

Shame on McCain, h... (Below threshold)
SteveC:
Shame on McCain, he doesn't care one iota about vets.

3. Posted by Don

Mega-troll. Must be reading donkey talking points.

If Mccain REALLY cared abou... (Below threshold)
Angus:

If Mccain REALLY cared about vets wholeheartedly he'd back the bill. He just wants to use our young. And who said the only way to serve your country is to be in uniform? We sere our Nation as diplomats, scholars,teachers, lawyers, doctors and in so many ways!!! I guess since the boffins who invented and tested the atom bomb, the stealth fighter and the missiles were not all soldiers then they have a case to answer.

McCain disrespects our contribution to our Nation and confirms his narrow fixation with things military. The USA is bigger than just the military even though that is an important part of any state.

John McCain needs an education!

The Senate sent a war-fundi... (Below threshold)
PattyF.:

The Senate sent a war-funding bill to President Bush this week that included $50 billion for education benefits. The president has indicated that he would veto a war-funding bill that included "domestic add-ons," so it is unclear whether veterans will get more educational aid.
Montgomery GI Bill

The current education program for veterans is the Montgomery GI Bill. It requires service members to pay $1,200 in exchange for 36 months of benefits. For full-time students, that's about $1,100 a month. Veterans can increase benefits by increasing the amount of money they pay into the program.

The original GI Bill educational program was signed in 1944 by President Franklin Roosevelt. Called the Servicemembers' Readjustment Act of 1944 and commonly known as the GI Bill of Rights, it provided 7.8 million World War II veterans with money for education or training programs.

Perhaps many of you are unaware that the 7.8 million provided to WW2 veterans has been paid back to American society at least 10-fold. I work for a University that had hundreds of veterans graduate. Many of those veterans have donated at least a million back to the University as well as other philanthropic gestures. In addition to giving money back to society, they have impacted fields such as agriculture, business, engineering, medical, and other industries.

McCain is from the vietnam era - one that often times was "forgotten" because of the political controversies that surrounded the war. Notice I said was forgotten. It was not forgotten by people born of the 60's but by people who remembered WW2 and the Korean Wars. McCain went to the Naval academy, but he still was "forced" to serve (initially) because of the draft. McCain was born in '36 and was raised according to society cultures the existed after the depression and through movements of Civil Rights.

On the other hand, Obama was born in 1961 and therefore did not face the draft when he came of age. It was expected that a person go to college after high school. It was presumed that people who joined the military in the late '70s early '80s joined because they couldn't get into college (whether academic or financial reasons) or they social background was of the lower class. And although the US was involved in some covert war actions, there were not real threats to the American society.

It is ridiculous therefore for McCain to claim that Obama did not see it as a responsibility!

Many people that join the military today, join because they view that the United States is in danger of losing their "super power" status and freedom. They should be commended for their dedication. As mentioned above money is not handed to the soldier after leaving the military service. The soldier pays for the benefit, like we pay for insurance or annuities. Only their annuity grows at a faster rate. Note however, if they die, their investment into their educational future dies with them.

I therefore disagree with the Bush and McCains philosophy.

The fact remains that Obama... (Below threshold)
galoob:

The fact remains that Obama was right on the new GI Bill and McCain was wrong. In the end, McCain cut and run from the vote on the new GI Bill, leaving 75 senators to vote in favor of it and only a few to back the weak Graham version.

Also, does McCain's invocation of his military service against Obama mean it's OK for me, as a veteran to refer to all the non-veteran warmongers as CHICKENHAWKS?

Its ridiculous to argue the... (Below threshold)
epador:

Its ridiculous to argue these talking points as if they have any true measure or reflection on the men and their potential. Its all hot air.

The bill that was vetoed had plenty of pork worth vetoing. This empty rhetoric about whether someone cares about veterans or not based on the support or lack for the bill is preposterous. You're falling into the traps set by the Dem and Republican politicos who devised this scam.

You need to look at where these two have come from, what they've done with their time so far, and who they associate with. What they say they're gonna do is not necessarily what they are going to do, its what they think they have to say to get elected. I'm no McCain fan, but I am a real Obamaphobe. What's truly sad is that our country has such garbled perceptions of reality that these are the two (heck make it three and add in Hillary) "most electable" choices our system can cough up.

Actually, Hooson, you are e... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Actually, Hooson, you are exaggerating Obama's legal accomplishments a bit, his time teaching constitutional law was as a lecturer, not as a professor. There is a significant difference.

First, Obama tried to ma... (Below threshold)
Brian:

First, Obama tried to make McCain look like he didn't care about veterans. Bad move number one.

He doesn't need Obama to help him with that.

All this is is McCain's "I'm a veteran and you're not" rhetoric. I also can't wait until they get to debate head-to-head. Then it will be clear that this is all McCain is running on.

PattyF - "Many people t... (Below threshold)
marc:

PattyF - "Many people that join the military today, join because they view that the United States is in danger of losing their "super power" status and freedom."

Has anyone, aside from a few political hacks, seen a more ludicrous statement than that?

[sarc] - Yeah that's it, you got'em right where you want'em PattyF. That fits the modern day military enlistment candidate to a "T".[/sarc]

Wow, would it not be out... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Wow, would it not be outrageous if a GOP presidential nominee dared to have at the convention a huge production number that emphasized his Vietnam war experience? Maybe have someone he served there on stage too?

McCain could say something about "reporting for duty".

Then we can all watch Brian sputter about how terrible it was.

And we can laugh.

Who wants a presid... (Below threshold)
To my fellow Americans:

Who wants a president who does not salute the American flag? Obama is a disgrace to the American people. He doesn't care because he has a hidden agenda. Do we want to find out what it is? No way, by then it'll be too late.

Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72B3tUAqpo4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rufWDdAX3C4&feature=related

It's never too late to VOTE 4 HILLARY '08

Support her now if you want to save our country.

Actually, given the primary... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Actually, given the primary schedule, it is too late for almost everyone. Get a clue.

McCain could say somethi... (Below threshold)
Brian:

McCain could say something about "reporting for duty".
Then we can all watch Brian sputter about how terrible it was.
And we can laugh.

If that was all he was running on? "More of the same, but I'm a veteran"?

Yes, indeed. We will laugh.

Once again McWoody is livin... (Below threshold)
Sharon Douglas:

Once again McWoody is living in the Viet Nam era. He is out of touch with today's military and it's members. One McWoody, we now have women, african americans, we are no longer in the draft, and we learned a lesson in Viet Nam, we can not win on foreign soil, and will no longer waste young lives trying to bully the world. We wish to live in PEACE, advance in Technology, Economincally and Environmentaly. You don't have to be in the uniform to be partriotic!!! We will have liberty and peace. Look at our reputation, the poor victims of the cyclone's government, said, "we don't want the US here, they might take over our country and steal our oil." That's what the world see's. Our worst enemy in the world is ourselves, and the selfish way we view ourselves and others. Get out the way Johnny, the bugle is blowing and the song, "We aren't the world, but we are the world."

Oh, my creditials to speak ... (Below threshold)
Sharon Douglas:

Oh, my creditials to speak on the state of the solider. I am a Veteran, my husband, 25+ retiered Veteran, my father-in-law 30+ retiered US Marines. I shop in the commissary, my husband works on a military installation, I get my health care on a military installations, I shop at the PX. So, I get plenty of exposure, and I am telling you the military is stretched so thin, soliders on 3 and 4 tours delopyment in 2 years. "Mothers don't let your babies grow up to be Republicans."

Sharon, you actually think ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Sharon, you actually think that Myanmar's victims are rejecting US aid because of this leftist crap you flog here? That's incoherent.

Oh, and I didn't think you ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Oh, and I didn't think you would get it, Brian "Tu Quoque".

Obama purposely gives the i... (Below threshold)
Gorgegirl:

Obama purposely gives the impression that McCain doesn't care for the veterans. Hogwash! He left out a very important fact. McCain and Lindsey Graham had introduced a similar bill in the Senate a week before that was rejected by the Democrat majority. That bill would have provided for a 4-yr GI bill, but it would have required 6 years of service. McCain and Lindsey took the needs of the military into consideration along with the taxpayers. Without any experience, I think Obama could end up breaking our military. I wonder who is is for - us or our enemy.

The Clintons tried to do th... (Below threshold)
Donna:

The Clintons tried to do the same thing and underestimated Obama,John McCain seems bent on that path and his response smacks of someone who thinks he's talking to a " boy".

It would have been more presidential to state his disagreement with the Bill and his alternatives and invite Mr. Obama to discuss the varying points of view, instead we heard a condescension that I found very distasteful.

Mr. Mcain is acting like the emperor who has no clothes, and I would not take for granted Mr. Obama's mantra of I think I can, I think I can...

Jesus died on the cross and... (Below threshold)
Redphilly:

Jesus died on the cross and rose again. There is no longer a need for war. What part of "turn the other cheek" don't you so-called Christians understand?

"McCain's support should... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"McCain's support should largely come from older voters fearful of change,..."

Fearful of change. There's that "changey" word again. And that intimation that older people are instilled with "fear".

Next you'll be telling us they're afraid of "hope".

John Adams, Thomas Jefferso... (Below threshold)
Mike:

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt....where do these gentleman sit in McCains world? Is he saying the FDR, who led country in war, cannot challenge him on military due to FDR's lack of military service?

Senator McCain's position d... (Below threshold)
View From Canada:

Senator McCain's position defies logic. If one accepts his position that only a veteran can speak about veteran's affairs, does that mean that he cannot speak about African American affairs, Latino affairs, Asian affairs, Homosexual Affairs, because he has no direct experience in those areas. Which person, then, would ever qualify to be President of the US? Why, then, is he so supportive of George Bush who ran away from the military?

It is astonishing how shallow this gentleman's intellect seems to be.

I am a democrat. But OBAMA... (Below threshold)
Eric:

I am a democrat. But OBAMA is a class A moron, racist (let's remember Wright), minimal grasp of facts, opportunist and no friend of Israel. What is worse is his wife. Let's not forget, if he gets elected, we get Al Sharpton and Jesse (Hymie Town) Jackson in the Lincoln Bedroom!

I know quite a number of people (Democrats) who are going into the booth and not voting for Obama. In all my years voting Democrat, I have never been more ashamed of a candidate than this one.

"Senator McCain's position ... (Below threshold)
George:

"Senator McCain's position defies logic. If one accepts his position that only a veteran can speak about veteran's affairs, does that mean that he cannot speak about African American affairs, Latino affairs, Asian affairs, Homosexual Affairs, because he has no direct experience in those areas. Which person, then, would ever qualify to be President of the US? Why, then, is he so supportive of George Bush who ran away from the military?

It is astonishing how shallow this gentleman's intellect seems to be."


The problem is that this kind of response, as illogical as it is, appeals to a significant segment of people. Hopefully Obama will be right and this time people will see through this crap.

I think this line from McCa... (Below threshold)

I think this line from McCain's rebuttal is very telling...

"And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did."

If I were McCain, I'd avoid insinuating that those who never served somehow don't deserve to weigh in on issues affecting the military. Especially when you consider that much of the GOP leadership never served.

Can any of you honestly ass... (Below threshold)
clemenhagen:

Can any of you honestly assess the Republican use of the troops?

They have cynically used the troops as cannon fodder in order to pad corporate profits. This includes the privatization of war whereby corporate entities like Halliburton, Bechtel, and BlackWater reap huge no-bid contracts. In return the troops get sent on endless tours of duty and then stymied upon request for health benefits at home. There is your support for the troops.

They have been sent to war based on cherry-picked intelligence and outright lies by whom? Chickenhawks who evaded their duty (Bush) or outrighted avoided service (Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, O''Reilly, etc.). They even brazenly sold out a CIA operative (Valerie Plame) in their efforts to lie us into war.

Finally, in addition to Pentagon personnel being hired as propaganda agents, the troops themselves have been used as propaganda pawns in this charade. Simply look at the Pat Tillman scandal (and cover-up), the Jessica Lynch "rescue" and other such scams evidence. Then when the troops carry out the orders to torture (see Torture Memos for proof) they get sold down the river as "bad apples" only to disappear into the brig (and hopefully from public view).

Now we have the son of admirals parading himself in his legitimate heroism lining up to follow in the footsteps and legacy of these dispicable chickenhawks. Quite a sight to behold my fellow patriots.

"If I were McCain, I'd a... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"If I were McCain, I'd avoid insinuating that those who never served somehow don't deserve to weigh in on issues affecting the military. Especially when you consider that much of the GOP leadership never served."

If I were you, I'd take reading comprehension again. McCain offered no opinion on whether Obama should or should not weigh in on issues regarding the military. What he did do was to clearly state that Obama had no authority to weigh in on McCain's regard for those who served.

As A Veteran ( Vietnam Era ... (Below threshold)
William McKinley:

As A Veteran ( Vietnam Era ) I agree with McCain, that unless you had the RESPECT for the United States to SERVE the United States, You Don't have the right to comment on the Veterans situation. The reason's for McCain being against the Veterans Bill are valid. It provided the same benefits for any veteran whether they served 3 years or 30. It should be rewarded based on the years of service, not just that you served. Which Is a lot more than I can say for a lot of the people that I hear commenting on an issue when they were too lazy, greedy, rich or stoned to give the respect to the country they live in by serving in the military . Yes Give the Veterans the support and benefits that they deserve, But don't slap someone that has spent more time in harms way in the face by giving them the same as some one that did their 36 and out.

Clemenhagen, it is amusing ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Clemenhagen, it is amusing to read your little screed and realize just how every line of yours is a falsehood.

They have cynically used the troops as cannon fodder in order to pad corporate profits. This includes the privatization of war whereby corporate entities like Halliburton, Bechtel, and BlackWater reap huge no-bid contracts. In return the troops get sent on endless tours of duty and then stymied upon request for health benefits at home. There is your support for the troops.

False. As a matter of fact, the Halliburton / KBR "no bid" contract dated to the Clinton administration. Several different companies bid security for the Iraq and Afghanistan operations, and several of those security contracts date back to the Clinton administration as well.

They have been sent to war based on cherry-picked intelligence and outright lies by whom? Chickenhawks who evaded their duty (Bush) or outrighted avoided service (Cheney, Rove, Limbaugh, O''Reilly, etc.). They even brazenly sold out a CIA operative (Valerie Plame) in their efforts to lie us into war.
More lies on your part actually. The intel was not cherry picked ( established by a bipartisan select intel committe report ). Bush did not evade his duty - thanks Mary Mapes for the forged attempt to prove it. And Plame was not "sold out" to get us in the war, you have screwed up the timing of those events, and forgotten that it was Armitage, a protege of Colin Powell not George Bush who revealed Valerie Plame's involvement in the attempt by the CIA to sabotage Iraq intel with its Clousseau operation with Wilson.

And your last is just incoherent:

Finally, in addition to Pentagon personnel being hired as propaganda agents, the troops themselves have been used as propaganda pawns in this charade. Simply look at the Pat Tillman scandal (and cover-up), the Jessica Lynch "rescue" and other such scams evidence. Then when the troops carry out the orders to torture (see Torture Memos for proof) they get sold down the river as "bad apples" only to disappear into the brig (and hopefully from public view).

The "torture memo" does not prove anything because Yoo's memo did not "order" anything. Your last paragraph is probably your most incoherent drivel as like the rest it bears no relation to any reality.




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