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McCain and Obama Speeches to Veterans of Foreign Wars

How to Spell Success? The Candidates Speak to Veterans

As we saw in last weekend's Saddleback Forum, being able to compare and contrast what the candidates are saying is not only infinitely useful, it's pretty compelling. The occasion to whip out the measuring stick hit us again this week with McCain and Obama both addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.

Appropriate to the audience, Obama and McCain hit on Iraq and their plans as commander in chief.

Pundits have gone nuts parsing and analyzing the fact that Obama mentioned Biden (Veeeepstaaakes) in his address while hammering that McCain is focusing on the wrong fight — and that McCain leveled firm charges against Obama's national security credentials, pointing out his shifting positions on the surge and calling him out for voting against funding for the troops.

Despite all this, I can't help but be a rhetorical purist. What did they say, and how does it compare? Here's how they talked about success in Iraq.

Are you a purist? To see what they said and links to the full text of the speeches,


McCain said yesterday:

Success in Iraq is the establishment of a generally peaceful, stable, prosperous, democratic state that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. It is the advance of religious tolerance over violent radicalism. It is a level of security that allows the Iraqi authorities to govern, the average person to live a normal life, and international entities to operate. It is a situation in which the rule of law, after decades of tyranny, takes hold. It is an Iraq where Iraqi forces have the responsibility for enforcing security in their country, and where American troops can return home, with the honor of having secured their country's interests at great personal cost, and helping another people achieve peace and self-determination. . . The stability of the entire Middle East, that volatile and critically important region, is at stake. The United States credibility as a moral and political leader is at stake.

Obama said today:

Now it's time to succeed in Iraq by turning Iraq over to its sovereign government. We should not keep sending our troops to fight tour after tour of duty while our military is overstretched. We should not keep spending $10 billion a month in Iraq while Americans struggle in a sluggish economy. Ending the war will allow us to invest in America, to strengthen our military, and to finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and the border region of Pakistan. This is the central front in the war on terrorism. This is where the Taliban is gaining strength and launching new attacks. . . .

Did you catch the speeches? Is the US role in Iraq vital to its global reputation? Is it time for the US to focus energy elsewhere? What is the solution to success in Iraq?


Join The Conversation
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Amen, hynoticmix.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Not sure how I missed this article yesterday but I guess I’ll be the Johnny come lately on this one. My problem with Sen. McCain’s campaign is not Sen. McCain him self or the some policies which he has stood behind that I agree with. It is his campaigns seeming insistence on making him a one dimensional character. I was a P.O.W., I was a P.O.W., I was a P.O.W.. What bothers me about this is that it plays on our sympathy and not our intellect. I don’t vote for Presidents based on sympathy nor do I vote for them based on what they did twenty years ago. Those were different times different circumstances. I vote for the one whose plan of action in my opinion addresses the problems that we have now. Doesn’t matter if you’ve been a Sen. for thirty years or six years, it is what you bring to the table to address our nations problems in the here and now. Sen. McCain does have some good ideas and if it we’re up to me I would put the flag down for one minute and have him bring the host of his ideas on intellectual merit to the for ground of his campaign. At the moment he is so wrapped up in the flag and ridding on the coat tails of his own history that the actual policy and applications which he intends to implement on specific issues is lost in blur of red white and blue. As for his goals in Iraq “All this will require that we keep a sufficient level of American forces in Iraq until security conditions are such that our commanders on the ground recommend otherwise.” I agree however if the Iraqi Government decides they want to set a time table than we are obliged to adhere to it. I also don’t like how the GOP in general makes any criticism of War policy a criticism of troops. Once again a direct grab at sympathy rather than intellect. In all fairness though with respect to the criticism of the invasion in the first place we’ve already got the Administration to admit that they made mistakes lets move on because that’s all we’re going to get. It’s time to focus on the end game. As for Sen. Obama “If we think that we can use the same partisan playbook where we just challenge our opponent's patriotism to win an election, then the American people will lose.” Amen. I think one of the biggest fears about Sen. Obama to many is that if elected he will make reality what rhetoric has failed to do in recent history and that is to show that an ordinary American who is not decked out in military service but rather community service can also be the President of the United States. This will break a very long standing unofficial prerequisite for the Presidency and to be quite frank it’s scaring some people silly. Like I said before the first debate will take this debate to the next level and I can’t wait.
Jillness Jillness 9 years
Thank you for the information Harmony! That is so disappointing to hear!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
WHAT? That is crazy - it is such a fundamental thing, IMO! Why shouldn't you be guaranteed health insurance, you served your country! CRAZY! :mob:
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
:) Thanks guys. It also depends what state you JOIN from. Like if you join from a certain state, you can go to that particular state school for free. I joined from Missouri and went to school in on both accounts I was screwed. Honestly, I can pay off my student loans. A raise in the G.I. Bill wouldn't help me at this point unless of course I decide to go to grad school. What I think is appalling is that we aren't guaranteed health insurance when we get out. THAT I could use now.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Harmony, that is completely UNFAIR! I am outraged knowing this! :rant:
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Harmony, that...SUCKS.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I served six and my G.I. Bill was pitiful. It wasn't enough for school, it wasn't enough for rent, I used it for groceries and to pay a couple of utilities. So I served my country during both Operation Enduring Freedom and during Iraqi Freedom and still have over twenty thousand dollars in student loans. It's ridiculous.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
After having IE crash on me a bunch of times in the span of 10 minutes max, I switched to Firefox. I've never looked back :raspberry:
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I agree with McCain in a basic sense that benefits should increase the long that you have served. I disagree with him, though, on what the baseline of benefits should be that 4 years of service gets you. I think that committing 4 years is a BIG deal...especially when you are risking your life. It only takes a moment to give the ultimate sacrifice. Everyone that enlists runs that risk, so just signing up is worth quite a bit, IMO. (I think someone had said that McCain wrote part of the legislation that was in this bill. I was under the impression that he didn't write any of THIS bill. Does anyone know for certain?)
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I would LOVE for either of them to guarantee veterans health care and insurance. That would be fabulous. Somehow I don't expect it though.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
:rotfl: Maybe that's whats wrong with my computer! :P
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Elitists with a nice, clean, efficient, fairly error-free web-surfing interface and plenty of online security ;)
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
Why, UnDave, I am touched by your compliment! :P
True-Song True-Song 9 years
Since when is elite a bad thing?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
:rotfl: Thanks for putting up with me. BTW, I'm still using IE. Firefox is for elitists. ;)
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I too was pretty disappointed that McCain used said Obama put his ambition before the country. I think that rational people know that both of these men want what is best for the country, they just have different ideas to how to go about it. It was really, really low of McCain to go there. I also thought it was odd that he was knocking Obama for his "ambition to be President"...when clearly McCain has that ambition too. He has had it multiple times over the past decade.
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
:rotfl: Torg!!! I did attempt to point out the Firefox is superior to IE (in my experience) but some people.... :oy: LOL!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
:ROTFL: torg!
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
:wave: I'm off to update my internet. I'll be back shortly.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
lol :) Good one Torg
True-Song True-Song 9 years
>Is there Upgrades for IE? Yep, it's called Firefox... : )
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
There are probably some service packs/upgrades available. Go to the Microsoft website and search for 'internet explorer'.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Is there Upgrades for IE?
MartiniLush MartiniLush 9 years
If you choose Help, About from the menu in IE, it will tell you what version. I have had lots of problems with this site when using IE, so I switched to Firefox and it has worked so much better. Firefox is a free download on the web.
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