April 7th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain: not taking proper care of veterans a national 'disgrace'

CNN

Watch a clip of Sen. McCain's speech Monday.

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, said that as president he would ensure veterans receive proper care upon returning to civilian life.

McCain’s speech Monday at the headquarters at the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri comes in the wake of attacks by prominent supporters of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over the Arizona senator’s record on veterans’ benefits legislation.

“When our government forgets to honor our debts to you, it is a stain upon America’s honor,” McCain told the audience.

“The disgrace of Walter Reed must not be forgotten,” said McCain as he promised that he would do everything within his power if elected to ensure that veterans receive “the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world.”

Wesley Clark and Ed Schultz, backers of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have recently attacked McCain over his support for bills regarding veterans’ benefits – especially given McCain’s staunch support for the Iraq war and recent efforts to tout his own military service as part of his presidential campaign.

Schultz,an Obama supporter and liberal radio talk show host, also took issue with McCain’s voting record on veterans’ benefits since 2001. “He has kicked the veteran to the side of the road like road kill with his votes,” Schultz told CNN's John Roberts.

Late last week, former U.S. Army Gen. Wesley Clark, who supports Clinton, also targeted McCain for his failure to support a bill regarding veterans’ benefits that is currently pending in the Senate.

McCain was a naval fighter pilot during the Vietnam War and spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war.


Filed under: John McCcain
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Mike Sk

    Actions speak louder than words Mr. McCain. You have failed your fellow veterans with your votes in the Senate. When the media starts looking at your record after the Democractic contest plays out you will be shown for your non support of the GI Bill plus other bills for veteran affairs.

    April 7, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. kim portland, oregon

    then why wont you sign on to the GI bill?!!? the disgusting abuse and neglect of our soldiers here and abroad has been going on since the very first day, when we didnt send them off with adequate equipment and protection. i dont recall EVER eharing you say anything about this before now, and i find it just a tad suspicious that you are saying this now, when something really huge is going on for you--oh yeah, YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT!!!!

    you of all people should be ashamed of yourself, knowing what our soldiers were are still are dealing with!!!

    April 7, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. kim portland, oregon

    then why wont you sign on to the GI bill, johnny boy?!!?

    the disgusting abuse and neglect of our soldiers here and abroad has been going on since the very first day, when we didnt send them off with adequate equipment and protection. i dont recall EVER hearing you say anything about this before now, and i find it just a tad suspicious that you are saying this now, when something really huge is going on for you--oh yeah, YOU WANT TO BE PRESIDENT!!!!

    you of all people should know better and be very ashamed of yourself, we dont expect decency from the other repubs, but you should have stood up for them years ago!

    April 7, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. Josie WA

    McCain does't support the Vets, only war. He is hell bent not to "surrender" and be "defeated" because he can't get over not winning in Vietnam. He wants to win a fight before he dies. The poor man needs therapy not the nomination. HE IS A VERY SCARY FELLOW.

    April 7, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Adam, Plano, TX

    oh really? then why are you against an updated GI Bill?

    April 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. David

    Mr. McCain,

    If it is a disgrace not to take care of our troops, then why have you voted 10 times against troop pay increases. Also, why are you not signed up to Jim Webb's GI Bill? I know why. Because you are a fraud and a phony. It would be nice if CNN gave us the truth.

    April 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. Chooch

    Veterans have heard the same b.s. before. Someday, one of the "career" politicians, will follow thru with the promises and hell will freeze over.

    April 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  8. Richard

    John McCain is a hollow person. He says he supports veterans but refuses to sign on to legislation to give GI's better benefits.. What a fake! What a liar!

    How can anyone support this guy?

    April 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Chris, Fairfax, VA.

    I don't dislike McCain, I like him more than most Republicans... but why on earth would he bring this up now, doubtlessly drawing attention to his abysmal voting record on veterans' rights?

    April 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Patriot

    I am voting for my own self interest that is why I am for McCain. He is the only one I trust with our Government and our Military.

    The next time our country gets attacked why don't you just talk to them and maybe they will stop. Chamberlain tried that with Hitler and it didn't work. We need a man of action not of words.

    I would rather die fighting then be alive on my knees praising Allah.

    April 7, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Patty Atlanta GA

    Not as big a discrace as having an adulterer and his drug addicted stealing wife in the Whitehouse.

    April 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  12. Rachel

    ... if it is such a disgrace, how come you didn't care until you began running for president????

    April 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Tammy smith

    Too little, too late. He shouldn't have kept quiet these last 8 years.

    April 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. shawn

    McCan't, put up or shut up- Support the new GI Bill.

    April 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Tannim

    McCain has one partially right here. We should be taking better care of our infirm and mentally incompetent veterans.

    We can start by institutionalizing HIM!

    Google "Green Zone Follies".

    April 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. Tim

    John McCain is a disgrace to real vets everywhere. Only when he seeks the presidency does he care to speak for veterans. John ( my wife has millions of dollars to pay for the best health care in the universe) McCain does not care for real veterans. He is a warmonger.

    April 7, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. T in FL

    Wow, how about we take a look at his record:

    NO on increasing VA funding by $1.5 billion by closing corporate loopholes.

    NO on providing $430 million to the VA for outpatient care and treatment for veterans.

    NO on a $650 million increase in veterans’ medical care funding.

    NO on increasing VA funding by $1.8 billion by ending abusive tax loopholes.

    NO on an amendment providing $20 billion to the VA’s medical facilities.

    ---

    And with that, I'd like to thank CNN for doing this fantastic research on his voting record. Great work guys, really holding Sen. McCain accountable for his actions in the Senate, and not just buying everything he says into the mic at any given time.

    Really, you guys are too good.

    Best Political Team on TV. Yup.

    April 7, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. kathleen

    This is a travesty!!! This man did not stand up for these Veterans
    when they needed Him the most. What a liar. This is disgusting the
    way politicians lie while trying to win a vote.

    Obama 2008

    April 7, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Wayne

    McCain is even a bigger fraud than Hillary Clinton. He is another war waiting to happen. Get him outta here for our country's sake. He has voted against veterans several times. Check his voting record people.

    April 7, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  20. obamamama

    If anyone thinks that the guy that sat there with his young children while his pastor roared God Da– America will somehow be for the vets,they must be smoking something stronger than what Obama did in his teens.Hillary,McCain or no one else.

    April 7, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. JHR Arizona

    John, it was under your watch and the Presidents. You have never been for Veterans, because you are too busy being a War Hero.

    The Men I know take care of their friends, they don't leave them . You deserted our Veterans when they needed you.

    You know that 15 months in a combat zone is too long. Making these people go back two and three time you know better.

    You and the President should say "your sorry "for what you did to these great and honorable soldiers bothin combat and when they come home for help and healthcare.

    You are a Senator with a Military background John you should lead not follow, shame on you and the rest of Congress.

    April 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  22. DJ in TX

    I think enough comments here show McCain's voting record on veterans. I must say I'm shocked that a POW would vote against anything that helps our veterans. Especially with the war in Iraq. While the number of fatalities is far less than Vietnam and previous wars, the casualites are not. We have thousands of troops severely injured (but still alive) retuning home after their tours. The VA needs to be top notch as these vets will need medical care for years to come, some for the rest of their lives. As a veteran and has visited some VA facilities, I've seen 1st hand how these hospitals look. I'm glad I have private medical insurance. I would not want to be cared for by some of these facilities. Don't get me wrong, the staff are top notch, but the management of these facilities need to be looked at. Let's take care of our own and support ALL our veterans AND their families.

    April 7, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  23. Herman LA, CA

    I think some Americans are walking around with a blind mask over the eyes and are really closing their eyes to the facts and that is why the United States has gone to hell. Why on earth would anyone want to give McCain a vote? Do your homework people... Military Issues – votesmart.org

    April 7, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. Women 4 Obama

    Well, great ... but where are you going to get the money to take care of the veterans?

    More tax-cuts? Extend the war?

    April 7, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Jen

    Vote AGAINST him!!! He's heartless!
    An empty hull.

    April 7, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
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