Obama's Strong Record of Support for Veterans

Sen. Barack Obama has a strong record of support for veterans' rights, including legislation he passed and supported while serving on the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs and in Illinois. Compare and contrast with that of Sen. John McCain:

  • As a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Obama passed legislation to improve care and slash red tape for our wounded warriors recovering at places like Walter Reed. He passed laws to help homeless veterans and offered an innovative solution to prevent at-risk veterans from falling into homelessness.


  • Obama led a bipartisan effort in the Senate to try to halt the military's unfair practice of discharging service members for having a service-connected psychological injury.
  • He fought for fair treatment of Illinois veterans' claims and forced the VA to conduct an unprecedented outreach campaign to disabled veterans with lower than-average benefits.
  • Obama passed legislation to stop a VA review of closed PTSD cases that could have led to a reduction in veterans' benefits.
  • He passed an amendment to ensure that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for traumatic brain injuries.
  • He introduced legislation to direct the VA and Pentagon to fix disjointed records systems and improve outreach to members of the National Guard and Reserves. (pdf)

As Gen. Wesley Clark pointed out months ago, John McCain has not acted in the best interests of our veterans.

Here's what McCain says he stands for. His voting record belies that. Read the examples. Bottom line:

"John McCain voted against veterans in 2004, '05, '06 and '07," says Jeffrey David Cox, who spent twenty-two years as a VA nurse before moving to the American Federation of Government Employees, where he serves as secretary-treasurer (AFGE represents employees of several federal agencies, including the VA).

See also VoteVets.org. There's a reason troops deployed to Iraq donated 6:1 to Obama over McCain.

McCain talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk for veterans' rights.

McCain does not have a positive, proven record of helping veterans. Barack Obama does. Obama not only has relevant experience but the right position on veterans' issues.

Also check out Vets for Obama.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Excellent. This is information (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 01:59:56 PM EST
    helpful to voters.  Would be good if Obama and his surrogates talked about this (in clear, brief, bullet points).

    More info (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by magster on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:06:12 PM EST
    McCain votes with DAV's position 34% of time; Obama 89%.

    Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America - McCain 58 % (D rating); Obama 89% (B+ rating)

    McCain has also voted against closing corporate tax loopholes, tax proceeds from which would have been directed solely to veterans health care.

    All these tidbits, and a few more in this article.

    Actually, this info could become (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:15:30 PM EST
    a very effective campaign ad for Obama/Biden.  Remember all those vets in VFW caps at the RNC?

    It would make no difference to them. (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 06:33:00 PM EST
    Even if it were demonstrably true that Obama is the true champion of veterans, it would not penetrate the skulls of the veterans organizations.

    It has shocked and saddened me that they seem to be little more than a cheering section for whomever is the commander in chief at the time.

    They have never been the ones to call the papers, to picket congress, to point out what is happening to veterans. When the government makes it difficult or impossible for vets to get treatment for "Gulf War Syndrome", for example, these organizations should be calling for the removal of the president.
    I've never seen it happen.

    And here, with this stupid and illegal war, a war where young people are being used as cannon fodder for purely political and selfish reasons, the veterans organizations side with the folks causing the mess. They don't investigate. They don't come down on the side of the soldier being used in this manner.


    The older generation of Vets... (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:26:02 PM EST
    ...may not leave McCain, but I don't think that is necessarly true of today's young Vets.  

    Different generations, different values, different ideas, different problems.

    You could be right that the older (none / 0) (#6)
    by lizpolaris on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:40:33 PM EST
    vets will vote McCain anyway, despite his miserably lacking support - in his voting record.  Too bad they haven't been able to pressure him into doing the right thing.  But then, as a veteran himself, you'd think this would be obvious to McCain?

    Obama should definitely own this issue - but will the campaign use it?


    Hey could this be one of the reasons (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptainAmerica08 on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:47:40 PM EST
    Obama is holding strong in Virginia? He won't win the military vote, but he can surely cut into McCain's military support enough to pull off a huge win there.

    Younger vets realize McCain's not on their (none / 0) (#10)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 03:08:33 PM EST
    side, but how can we communicate with older vets?  VoteVet.org has an email list and the Obama campaign has Vet groups.  

    How can we reach the McCain supporting vets?  And would they change their opinion of him if they knew he voted against the Veteran Administration's funding?


    Let's check the statements (5.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Prabhata on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 02:58:16 PM EST
        * Obama led a bipartisan effort

    Obama the "leader"?  A junior senator is rarely a leader in the US Senate.

        * He fought for fair treatment of Illinois veterans' claims

    Did Obama win the fight?

        * Obama passed legislation
        * He passed an amendment

    A legislator cannot pass legislation.  He can authorize and vote for it.

        * He introduced legislation to direct the VA and Pentagon to fix disjointed records systems

    Was Obama successful in getting other legislators to vote and pass the legislation?

    younger vets are aware (none / 0) (#9)
    by jeffinalabama on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 03:06:24 PM EST
    by 'younger i should say post Vietnam vets are aware, but are notoriously conservative. I'm a 'younger' vet by my definition. The military somehow breeds an extremely conservative viewpoint. At present, I don't think this is a single-issue group, but a conservative one.

    OK (none / 0) (#11)
    by Strick on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 03:41:47 PM EST
    Jeralyn, I'm a bit baffled.  Could you cite the legislation that Obama's website refers to?  Maybe some evidence to back up his claim?

    I just went to Thomas to look and I can't find any legislation Obama's sponsored related to Veterans that's been passed.  Near as I can tell, he's proposed some amendments, but they all died in committee.

    For that matter, I see from other sources that he's skipped fully half of the meetings of that VA committee he's on.  When did he do all this working for and passing stuff?  Where and how?

    I mean, talk's nice and all that, but where's the proof Obama actually accomplished anything other than get some comments read into the Congressional Record?

    You know what they say about all hat and no cattle?  Help me understand where I'm wrong.

    Update (none / 0) (#12)
    by Strick on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 04:08:51 PM EST
    OK, I went back to the previous Congress and see that that Obama did have one amendment passed by unanimous consent and was one of 20 cosponsors on a couple of other bills.  Not exactly swimming up stream.

    Surely there's more to Obama's claims than that, a few amendments a couple of years ago?  Sounds a little inflated to me.

    Where am I wrong?


    Here's Robert Greenwald's video on McCain/Vets (none / 0) (#13)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Sep 09, 2008 at 04:18:32 PM EST
    Why Won't McCain Sign the GI Bill? Presenting the most blatant hypocrisy of the McCain campaign.

    John (none / 0) (#16)
    by onemanrules on Wed Sep 10, 2008 at 12:42:21 AM EST
    McCain has been invisible on veterans issues. Under his watch the number of homeless vets has gone to approx. 200,000, he's against the new g.i. bill. Why was Obama the one trying to fix conditions at Walter Reed, hadn't McCain been there hundreds of times before him. I can speak to alot of Vietnam Vets voting for Obama, even some republican ones. I love all our troops and it sickens me that in this country they are treated so poorly once they return home. One thing we should all do is if we see a vet, thank them for their service regardless of their political views. I've noticed that nothing makes them happier than a little appreciation.