Republican Senator, Vietnam Veteran Endorses President Obama

Posted in the Livingston Forum

Larry

Livingston, TN

#1 Oct 14, 2012
Republican Senator, Vietnam Veteran Endorses President Obama
By Larry Pressler -- Former U.S. Republican Senator from South Dakota
Posted: 10/08/2012 11:59 am
As a combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief. Candidates publicly praise our service members, veterans and their families, but President Obama supports them in word and deed, anywhere and every time.
Larry Pressler: Republican Senator, Vietnam Veteran Endorses President Obama
And something that hits close to home, President Obama also secured the largest increase in VA investments in decades so our veterans get the care and benefits they earned, like treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury. As someone with service-related PTSD, I meet with younger veterans weekly to help them through the treatment and transition to a productive civilian life. It makes a difference for them knowing their President has their back.
Meanwhile President Obama recognizes our sacred trust with those who serve starts when they take their oath and never ends. He's enacted tax credits to spur businesses to hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors. He implemented and improved the post-9/11 GI Bill, the largest investment in veterans education since the original GI Bill over sixty years ago. He's proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that would put returning service members to work as police officers, firefighters and first responders. As part of his achievable plan to keep moving our country forward, the President would use half the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to help pay down our debt and invest in nation building here at home, putting Americans back to work -- including our veterans -- fixing our roadways and runways, bridges and schools.
Let's be clear, Romney and Ryan would be disastrous for America's service members, veterans and military families. Public praise rings hollow when you fail to mention an ongoing war in accepting your party's nomination to be president, or veterans in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a so-called jobs plan or in a budget that should be a blue print of our nation's values.
And as former member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman of the then Commerce Committee, I came to know the federal budget in detail. I'm disappointed that just as our troops are returning home after a decade of war, Romney and Ryan might gut by up to 20 percent investments in the Department of Veterans Affairs -- and even suggest privatizing the veterans' health care. Again, they would short change our national security and the education, health care and employment benefits our veterans have earned and deserve just to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
And along with high-profile Republican surrogates, Romney and Ryan are pandering to election-year politics rather than focusing on pending cuts to military spending. Strategy should drive our military priorities, not party purity.
Behind closed doors with his donors, Romney made clear he'd write off half of America -- including service members and veterans -- because, as he said "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility for their lives." But there's no greater personal responsibility than to wear your country's uniform and defend the rights we all enjoy as Americans. We don't sow division between "us" versus "them." The Commander-in-Chief sets the bar for all to follow and fight for the entire country. Mitt Romney fails that test. As a veteran I feel written off.
What really set me off was Romney's reference to 47% of Americans to be written off -- including any veteran collecting disability like myself, as a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) veteran
Larry

Livingston, TN

#2 Oct 14, 2012
This decision is not easy for any lifelong Republican. In 2008 I voted for Barack Obama, the first time I ever voted for a Democrat, because the Republican Party was drifting toward a dangerous path that put extreme party ideology above national interest. Mitt Romney heads a party remaining on that dangerous path, proving the emptiness of their praise as they abandon our service members, veterans and military families along the way.

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