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Monday, August 11, 2008

McCain’s attacks on rival fall flat with vets group

Republican offers plan to let some get care outside VA

Sen. John McCain, speaking to disabled veterans Saturday in Las Vegas, attacked his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, for his foreign policy record, while also proposing a program that would allow veterans to acquire health care at private hospitals and not just through the Veterans Affairs Department.

The veterans, at Bally’s for their national convention, gave him a tepid reception, especially considering McCain’s life story. The Arizona senator was a Navy pilot shot down over Vietnam, tortured and held as a prisoner of war for 5 1/2 years.

Just one of 14 veterans interviewed by the Sun after his speech said he is a certain McCain voter, and the nonpartisan group’s legislative director expressed concerns about McCain’s proposed “Veterans’ Care Access Card.”

But as with most presidential campaign events, the intended audience was not the veterans in the hall but television viewers. McCain used the opportunity to hammer Obama on his opposition to the 2007 surge of U.S. troops in Iraq.

McCain said Obama “can’t quite bring himself to admit his own failure in judgment. Instead, he commits the greater error of insisting that even in hindsight, he would oppose the surge. Even in retrospect, he would choose the path of retreat and failure for America over the path of success and victory.

“Behind all of these claims and positions by Senator Obama lies the ambition to be president,” McCain said. “What’s missing is the judgment to be commander in chief.”

McCain said Obama had tried to “legislate failure” in Iraq.

Obama has said that he showed good judgment by opposing the war in the first place. The Iraqi government recently endorsed Obama’s proposal to withdraw troops.

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