Veterans Hammer McCain, Dole in New Ads

10-09-08, 10:39 am

The political action fund of, a veterans advocacy organization that helps elect politicians that will support US troops and veterans' issues, released three new ads this week targeting Republican candidates for failing to side with veterans on several key issues. By voting against better medical care, expanded education benefits, and adequate body armor, John McCain and other Republicans have failed America's troops, say veterans groups.

The first ad is set to run in Virginia and will target John McCain for his opposition to the 21st Century GI Bill, an update of the veterans' education package that will aid hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with education benefits. John McCain, the ad points out, deliberately missed the vote on final passage of the new GI Bill after weeks of opposing it, to speak at a fund raiser held by wealth Republican Party donors in California.

The ad features Jason Bensley, an Iraq war veteran and actor Matt Damon look-a-like, reminds the audience that during McCain's generation, war veterans had their access to college. 'But when a GI Bill came up in Congress to help today's vets go to college, John McCain, you skipped the vote to go to a political fundraiser in San Diego,' Bensley charges. 'I used to respect you John McCain, but with your seven houses and lobbyist friends, you're just a Washington guy now.'

'Vet to vet, Senator McCain,' Bensley concludes, 'when you put money from your rich friends before vets like me, how is that 'country first'?'

A radio ad in both English and Spanish that will air in New Mexico also challenges McCain's voting record on veterans issues. In the ad, veteran Romeo Rocha reminds listeners that McCain voted against improved medical care for veterans that would have been paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes.

'Me and the millions of veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan never asked for much in return, just that the politicians would keep their end of the bargain and provide troops with the care we were promised when we got home,' Rocha says. But John McCain has failed to live up to that promise.

The ads will appear just as other veterans groups leveled sharp criticism of John McCain's voting record on veterans issues, including poor marks from Disabled Veterans of America and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The Veterans of Foreign Wars also expressed strong reservations about McCain's proposal to end guaranteed medical care for many veterans by privatizing some medical services.

Both Virginia and New Mexico, which George W. Bush won in 2004, are considered battleground states with polls show Barack Obama with a growing lead.

A startling third ad set to run in North Carolina challenges Sen. Elizabeth Dole's (R-NC) decision to vote against providing modern body armor for troops in Iraq. In it, Iraq war veteran Pete Granato demonstrates the effect of an AK-47 round on body armor US troops deployed to Iraq with in 2003 compared to modern body armor. After firing several rounds into both, Granato shows that the old armor allowed rounds to get through potentially injuring or killing the troop, while modern armor stopped all of the AK-47 rounds.

'The difference is life or death,' Granato says. 'Senator Dole voted against giving our troops this [holding up the more protective body armor]. Our troops deserve better.'

Dole has slipped as much as nine points behind her Democratic opponent Kay Hagan.

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