DNC - McCain Myth Buster: John McCain and America's Veterans

Today's McCain Myth: John McCain will support America's veterans and military families.

Washington, DC--
John McCain claims he "believes that meeting the needs of our service members who defend us is our obligation and is essential to our national security." But his record in Congress tells a different story. As Time reported this week, according to a nonpartisan group, McCain has only voted for veterans funding 30 percent of the time. [johnmccain.com, accessed 5/21/08; time.com; 5/20/08]

The latest issue pitting McCain against our nation's veterans? His refusal to support Senator Webb's 21st Century G.I. bill to help America's service members and veterans pay for college. McCain cites retention issues as the reason he offered a much weaker bill that would provide far less educational benefits, an argument echoed by the Bush Administration but disproved by a Congressional Budget Office study. It's no surprise then that veterans groups support Webb's bill, not McCain's. [time.com; 5/20/08]

John McCain talks about supporting the troops, but if he's going to talk the talk, he better walk the walk. Americans don't want another president who will mislead them on his record just to score some votes.

McCain Gets Score of 30 Percent On Veterans Issues. According to Time, "This is not the first time McCain, who has a proud history of opposing what he views as excessive government spending, has found himself at odds with his fellow veterans on legislation. He's voted for veterans funding bills only 30% of the time, according to a scorecard of roll-call votes put out by the nonpartisan Disabled Americans for America." [time.com; 5/20/08]

McCain Refused To Support Bipartisan Legislation To Reform GI Bill. "On his campaign plane this afternoon, McCain said he and allies in the Senate are working on an alternative to the bill, but would only support something that included incentives to stay in the military.  'We are working on proposals of our own.  I'm a consistent supporter of educational benefits for the men and women of the military,' McCain said. 'I want to make sure that we have incentives for people to remain in the military as well as for people to join the military.'"  [ABC News, 4/14/2008]
McCain's Proposal Would Only Cover The Average Cost Of Tuition, Room, And Board, Leaving Some Vets Without Adequate Funding.  "For active-duty members, monthly GI Bill benefits would rise Oct. 1 to $1,500, up from the current $1,101, enough to cover the average cost of a four-year public college including room, board, tuition and fees, said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services personnel subcommittee." [Army Times, 4/22/08]

McCain Admits His Plan Is Designed To Keep Troops Serving Longer.  "My proposal and others, Senator Graham, Senator Burn, is we'll place incentives for people to stay in the military."  When O'Reilly said, "So the longer you stay, the more you get" McCain responded, "Yes, the more you get, because we want people to stay in…. We have to increase the benefits for the men and women who are serving and motivate those to serve."  [Fox News Transcript, "The O'Reilly Factor," 5/8/08]
McCain Said He Wanted To Give Greatest Benefits To Those Who Serve Longest.  "What I want to of course reward the person stays in the military longer with greater incentives to stay in as opposed to someone who only staying a few years because I also want Americans to serve but I also want dedicated Americans to serve as long as possible…" McCain also spoke about "…incentivizing talented professional men and women to remain in the military and make it a career."  [CNN Live Feed, Town Hall (Rochester, MN), 5/7/08]

After casting himself as a "Maverick" in 2000, the new John McCain is walking in lockstep with President Bush, pandering to the right wing of the Republican Party, and embracing the ideology he once denounced. On the campaign trail McCain has callously abandoned many of his previously held positions, even contradicted himself, in a blatant attempt to remake himself into a candidate Republicans can accept in 2008. So just who is the real John McCain? The Democratic National Committee will present a daily fact aimed at exposing the man behind the myth.