May 12th, 2008
05:52 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama takes aim at McCain's position on veterans


CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) -
Barack Obama became the latest Democrat to criticize presumptive Republican nominee John McCain Monday for his lack of support for a bi-partisan veterans benefits bill its sponsors have dubbed a "new GI Bill of Rights."

"John McCain is one of the few senators of either party who oppose this bill because he thinks it's too generous," said Obama. "I could not disagree with him more. At a time when the skyrocketing cost of tuition is pricing thousands of Americans out of a college education, we should be doing everything we can to give the men and women who have risked their lives for this country the chance to pursue their American Dream."

In a statement, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds called it "absurd" for Obama to question McCain’s commitment to America’s veterans "when Obama himself voted against funding our nation’s veterans, and troops in the field during a time of war."

Earlier this year, retired Army Gen. Wes Clark and other Democratic activists launched petition drives targeting the Arizona senator for his opposition to the measure, which was introduced by Democratic Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia and Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Rick FL

    Webb, Obama, Hagel, Clinton, Nelson (FL), Warner, etc. are correctly supporting this bipartisan GI Bill. Where is the "maverick" on this much-needed legislation? It is travesty McCain refuses to back it.

    May 12, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. A Clear Thinking Independent

    It is suprising that McCain would be less generous than Obama to veterans. When I hear the words "support the troops", this is what I think of as an independent minded voter.

    Our all volunteer armed forces today likely included more folks from families with less income (as a percentage of medium income) thanever before because so many young people are told that it is the way to a better future.

    Our forces are certainly more diverse now than during the Vietnam era draft when McCain served. A candidate that cares about "the little guy" and that wants to support the troops, should be all over this, no?

    McCain's operatives need to address today's facts, not try to wrap themselves in McCain's POW status of 35 years ago. If that's how they plan to answer substantive topics like this, I can only imagine that Mr. Obama's running mate will be former NATO commander General Wes Clark.

    May 12, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  3. ALLMOND

    JOHN MCCAIN HAS THE MIND OF A ELITE MILITARY BACKGROUND AND THE AVERAGE VET MEANS NOTHING TO "THE WAR HERO" AND THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS COMING HOME FROM THE PRESENT WAR MEAN LITTLE TO HIM BECAUSE HE WANTS TO SEND THEM BACK IN HARMS WAY.

    May 12, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  4. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles

    Hispanic Americans must feel really Betrayed now..
    They supported Hillary early on in Cali., Arizona & Texas, New Mexico, etc.; and now she just dumps them into that 'Other Than' "…hard working White Americans" group that she has recently embraced above all others.
    Now Latinos know how the Blacks feel, now that they know they were played and Patronized by the Clintons for years..

    Puerto Ricans… Are you Listening?

    Hispanic voters are Not Hard working and not White Americans..
    You are no longer importante...

    May 12, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. Jeff

    I love Hillary and so does America!

    Go Hillary!

    You'll do this champ!

    May 12, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  6. Frank smith

    WAS OBAMA IN the military

    was obama in the military? I dont think so
    HE dont know what its like are have people say you Losted when you didnt it was the people like you and the peole that won't let them do what whey can and get home when its over

    /

    May 12, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  7. Navy Veteran in New Mexico

    Being a vet myself and going to school full-time, I can honestly say that the GI bill is actually not very good. I think in reality, if you started from scratch if you separated, retired, etc. and had the benefits, you only have 32 months of full-time benefits.... And trust me, its doesn't pay much.

    So on this specific issue about vet benefits, it is actually pretty bad. I already know that I will have to get a student loan if I want to pursue my bachelors (which I am).

    So I honestly have no idea why Sen. McCain wants to do this to veterans when he is one himself. It makes no sense.

    May 12, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. Let's Get Real

    You say you would prefer McCain over Obama, yet Clinton over McCain, and you provide no reasoning other than you hate Obama. None. Zip. Nadda. Obama and Clinton are identical 95% of the time on issues and solutions (you know, the solutions you are so willing to vote for in the primary and against in the general?) that you make no sense.

    And for the guy saying Obama is the end of the American era is way behind the times. We are losing ground on every level, and Iraq was one of the worst possible things we could have done to keep world leadership. But, yeah, let's vote for someone who wants to keep that going just because our candidate didn't win.

    Let's not have healthcare reform, let's have spite.

    Let's not end the Iraq War, let's have spite.

    Let's not repeal tax cuts on the rich, let's have spite.

    Clinton supporters, I am more than willing to vote for clinton if she pulls it out. I am concerned that you are all thinking that voting against Obama is hurting us. It isn't. In the end, it is you, the rust-belt democrats, that will suffer. It is you that will bear the burden of your own mistakes.

    May 12, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  9. Clinton Supporters...

    Clinton never served in the military either, and her position on this bill is the same as Obama's, and she has said similar statements. How about the pot stop calling the kettle black?

    May 12, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  10. Reggie , Anaheim, Ca.

    This mcCain brother should just go sit down somewhere!
    I mean what in the world is going on here! This phool not
    supporting Veterans Benefits etc.... Beyond the Pale!

    John / Hill since you both have dough go on vacation for
    alittle while and get back to Senate work! Oh and John
    make MLK Day a Hoilday in Arizona!

    Do something good for a change! Stop kissin dubya's butt!

    Obama 08

    May 12, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. Jazzy

    I read a lot of these irrational comments daily from both sides supporting the democratic candidates. Most of the time people are simply stating personal opinions about their choice for president. I would like to say that both candidates are qualified for the position, however, only one can win. These two have been well educated and have learned through experience how to negotiate and solve problems. We still have an age old problem in this country–race. We must all realize we are in this country to support the constitution which was written for all people. (not just white people–even though it seems like it has been most beneficial for white people) Stop the attacks on our candidates and offer some comments that can end all of these negative attacks from the writers to one another.

    May 12, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. David D Kollie

    McCain has been testing the strength of Obama. It is time for Obama to start speaking out against him. Go Obama 08

    May 12, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  13. ALLMOND

    TO VIG
    AS FAR AS OBAMA NOT SERVING THE COUNTRY, WE HAVE TWO JERKS IN THE WHITE HOUSE NOW WHO DIDN'T SERVE, 1) COULDN'T HANDLE THE NATIONAL GUARD EVEN. 2) THE OTHER GOT DEFERRED. SO WHAT IS THE POINT IN YOUR STATEMENT. THE TWO OF THEM GOT US IN A WAR FOR NOTHING.

    May 12, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  14. no to McSame

    Democrates, stop focusing on Clinton. The person that Obama is running against is McCain. Pay attention to what he is trying to shove down our throats, and so NO TO McSame and Yes to change

    VOTE OBAMA.

    May 12, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  15. david

    What is the ticket for democrats

    Choice 1: Obama/Hamas

    Choice 2: Obama/Write

    Choice 3: Obama/Ayers

    Let's see, we have a choice of

    1: A militant group

    2: A militant racist reverend

    3: A militant racist

    Hmm. you dems are so bright.

    WAKE UP AMERICA

    May 12, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  16. BILL

    OBAMA

    YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TALK ABOUT VETERANS AGAINST A MAN

    WHO SERVED OUR COUNTRY IN HONOR AND WITH NO

    PERSONAL AGENDA WHEN HE WAS TAKEN PRISONER

    SHAME ON YOU OBAMA...AND I AM A LIFELONG DEMOCRAT

    HILLARY OR MCCAIN O8

    May 12, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  17. Tom in CA

    …and Terry Mc what have you been smoking?

    Hillary is toast! Got FORK!

    May 12, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  18. Sharon Minnesota

    As an old school democrat, I am happy to shout to the house tops that any republican, even GWB would be a better choice than Barack Obama. If I had more time and more space, I would let you know why. Since I have bloged on this site for the last 3 months, most of you know my reasons. If you haven't seen my posts, you can read any post that is pro McCain or pro Clinton and get the full story. They know!!

    As I see it, both of those candidates have moved toward the middle where most Americans reside. Obama has moved so far to the left that he's falling off an un-American cliff.

    Hillary or McCain, No Obama Ever

    May 12, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  19. barackobama4prez

    We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, will Elect Barack Obama as our nation's next president. The haters will have to get used to it.

    May 12, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  20. Tom in CA

    Sharon...so you would invade IRAQ again. KNOWING what we've go through these last 7 years – YOU"D WANT TO GO THROUGH EVERYTHING AGAIN?

    GOD ALMIGHTY!!! Are you a TOTAL DUMB...!

    May 12, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  21. James, IN, WV

    Obama has the guts to question Sen .McCain on any issues about Military? He never served in the military, never been a POW, he is friendly to countries who harbor terrorism and mostly he has no experience whatsoever in any type of security of this country. So now he questions the candidate who risked his life in POW defending his freedom when he was in elementary? This is why Democrats will lose again in General election if OBAMA is the nominee. They never learned from their past 2 candidates...GORE AND KERRY and now OBAMA. Sen. Clinton is the only candidate who can be fared squarely with Sen. McCain and yet they didn't support her. Sen. Clinton would have been the great candidate between MCCAIN or OBAMA but if OBAMA is the nominee, I would rather see another 4 years of BUSH era in the white house.

    May 12, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
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