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

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


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. Trisha

    He is absolutely right! and why after spending his life in politics has he not done something about this problem???

    April 7, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. ProfMike

    He apparently doesn't want veterans to get a college education either. Hey! Then they have to reenlist to get decent pay and medical care. Right?

    April 7, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Michelle

    Obama SPONSORED the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act of 2007.

    Didnt McCain refuse to sign the new GI Bill?

    April 7, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. ED

    I will bet Mccain has been triple dipping with the Veterans admin service connected disability[which he rightfully earned and deserves] But he should be honest enough to ensure other deserving vets get there due. I will bet that another Mccain will somehow find that he somehow will be eligible for the same if he earned it[he deserves it ] but with the powers to help get it sooner than most other deserving persons who do not have a connection to get to the head of the line.

    April 7, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. mary

    McCain's son has been to Iraq unlike most politicians sons and daughters aren't in the service. If Hillary doesn't get the nomination my vote will be for McCain, a true patriot!!

    April 7, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  6. ElwynHAlexander


    April 7, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. Karlie

    Blake you are right. As a Senator, Mc Cain didn't do anything to help veterans. His voting record doesn't lie.

    And yes, Sen. Obama has been pushing to help the veterans (and our troops now serving) for a long time.

    I used to think Sen. Clinton would be a good candidate, but lately, I don't know. I'm leaning toward Sen. Obama.

    April 7, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Jermaine

    John Mccain has been in the Senate for 20+ years. John Mccain wants to Privatise the VA, HOW IS THAT TAKING CARE OF VETERANS?
    Let us not forget it was BARACK OBAMA who blow the whistle on Walter Reed, so for 3 years he did allot, where was JOHN MCCAIN.
    John Mccain in an opportunist, who hide in the HILTON Hotel drinking coffee and sakki while everyone else fight the WAR.
    G. W. Bush was correct in 2000, when he said MCCAIN isn't no real HERO! I can't wait for OBAMA to resuse all the ADDS that G.W. used against MCCAIN, no need to create new ones, use the old ones that G.W. use, it was good enough in 2000, it is relevant today. If G.W. had so much to say about MCCAIN then, then obviously he still believe it today.

    Mccain is not a champion of Veterans rights, he is a Johnny come later!

    April 7, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  9. Dori in AZ

    Sen. McCain's voting record re veterans is a personal, as well as public, disgrace. This is especially evident considering his POW status.

    My family is comprised of several generations of vets, including two WW II POWs (my dad and an uncle who, like McCain, was shot down). We've had combat and non-combat members in all the regular armed forces and the National Guard. We've been stationed all over the world, having served in every war and almost every conflict since WW II. The brother with the longest career devoted over 25 years and saw his fair share of ugliness. Our youngest vet served with the USMC in Iraq and lost his best friend his first day in country. He's still serving.

    I can't think of a single warrior in my family who'd choose conflict, given a real option of peace. But, our leaders don't always make good decisions for us, so we "war" where we must and have peace wherever we can find it. Unfortunately, it is impossible to survive war – wounded physically or not – without being forever changed. From many of those changes spring new – sometimes initially relatively invisible – wounds. But, real wounds just the same....

    So, Sen. McCain, why have you forsaken our wounded ones? Whatever their wounds, every man and woman who has been wounded in the service of our country deserves better.

    Si se puede! Obama 2008!

    April 7, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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