After this, I cannot WAIT until McCain gets to actually debate Obama in front of a live audience. Obama’s gonna get schooled, son!
First, Obama tried to make McCain look like he didn’t care about veterans. Bad move number one. Here’s Obama’s statement:
“I respect Sen. John McCain’s service to our country,” Obama said on the Senate floor this morning. “He is one of those heroes of which I speak. But I can’t understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this GI Bill. I can’t believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans. I could not disagree with him and the president more on this issue.”
He’s referencing Sen. Webb’s GI bill, which passed with a majority of 75 – 22.
McCain wasted no time in firing back:
“It is typical, but no less offensive that Sen. Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of,” McCain said in the statement. “Let me say first in response to Sen. Obama, running for president is different than serving as president. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can’t always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Sen. Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America’s veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.”
I would highlight my favorite parts of that statement, but the whole thing is just so damn awesome. McCain spoke some more about his family’s military service, and his alternative to Webb’s GI bill. He praised Webb for his military service and called him an honorable man. Then, he offered us us another Obama smackdown:
[I] take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.
Good stuff. McCain then goes to explain how Webb’s bill will hurt retention rates, and as we are fighting two wars right now, that would be a bad thing. Unlike many Washington politicians, McCain’s support for our troops and veterans is heartfelt and genuine, and not just political, like some (like, maybe, Obama?). McCain pointed out the importance of increasing benefits to those who reenlist, rather than just giving the same benefits to everyone regardless of time served. He also gives a nice nod to the importance of NCOs (non-commissioned officers), which I thought was good to hear.
Then, McCain finishes with one last bang:
“Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election.”
My advice to Senator McCain: keep saying stuff like this. You’ve got experience that Obama could never even fathom or begin to comprehend. Use it. You’ll win a lot better by doing that, then you would by continuing to fight conservatives on issues like amnesty.
I’m talking to a brick wall here, but oh well. At the very least, this statement is near perfect. Interesting to see how Obama can come back from that.
For McCain’s statement in full, visit the Politico, where Jonathan Martin has the entire thing.