(CNN) - The same day Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said Arizona Sen. John McCain’s military service didn’t mean he was qualified to be commander-in-chief, another prominent Democratic veteran and former presidential candidate – former Gen. Wesley Clark – sent supporters a message accusing the presumptive Republican nominee of failing recent veterans.
An e-mail sent from Clark’s political action committee WesPAC, and co-signed by the former general, takes aim at the GOP senator, asking “Why Won’t McCain Support Our Vets?”
The message urges individuals to sign a petition calling on McCain to back a veterans benefit bill co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and criticizes him for not yet pledging his support for the measure.
“So far, John McCain has refused. The same McCain who insists he supports our troops. The same McCain who is voting lockstep with the Bush administration (who has also resisted this bill),” reads the e-mail.
It adds that a young Iraq and Afghanistan vet “thinks John McCain ought to stand in his shoes to know how difficult it is to be a vet and have to pay staggering education costs. THIS is your call to arms. …”
Clark, a supporter of New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, has attacked McCain several times this year, focusing his fire on the national security and foreign policy credentials that have been at the heart of the Republican's White House bid.
Last month, he told reporters on a Clinton campaign conference call that the New York senator was more qualified than McCain to be the next commander-in-chief because the senator’s experience as a naval fighter pilot did not prepare him “in terms of dealing with the national strategic issues” he would encounter in the White House.
Two months ago, in a fundraising e-mail for Senate Democrats, he wrote “If you don’t think John McCain is just as dangerous in the White House as George W. Bush, think again.”
Clark criticized McCain’s support for President Bush’s Iraq policy, writing that “John McCain and any Republican senator who supports his presidential candidacy are offering more of the same. And they have got to go.”