Global Politics

The veteran vote

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(Image: whitehouse.gov)

Senator John McCain's status as a war hero seems to give him an advantage over Senator Barack Obama when it comes to capturing the military vote. A Gallup poll conducted in August found that 56 percent of voters with military backgrounds support McCain. More recently, the "Military Times" newspaper survey some 4,000 readers and 68% back McCain.

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Still, the military community is hardly unanimous in its support of Senator McCain. "The World's" Katy Clark reports that's especially true when it comes to veterans.

Before the faltering economy took center stage it was Iraq that ignited voters' passions. McCain has argued that the United States must stay in Iraq until victory is assured. Obama, meanwhile, wants to bring the troops home as quickly as possible. He's called the Iraq War a mistake. Some veterans have lashed out at Obama for that last bit.

Anti-Obama videos have appeared on YouTube featuring veterans, no surprises here. What is a surprising is the number of anti-McCain videos are also popping up on YouTube -- many also featuring veterans.

This week the non-profit, non-partisian group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America released a report card looking at how members of Congress voted this year on military and veterans issues. The group gave John McCain a "D" -- the score was based on votes involving issues ranging from the GI Bill, which provides education benefits to veterans; to funding for mental health care.

Obama scored a "B" for his voting record on key veterans issues, as did his running mate Joe Biden.

Steve Robertson is a veteran, he is also Legislative Director for the American Legion: "If you asked me which candidate I though was the best pro-veterans candidate, I wouldn't be able to give you a distinction."

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.

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