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Walter Reed Anniversary Exposes More McCain Double Talk

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- One year ago today, the American people first learned about the dreadful conditions at military hospitals and outpatient facilities treating wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Amid the national outrage sparked by those reports, John McCain saw an opportunity to bolster his presidential campaign. Days after the story broke, McCain blamed the scandal on former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld, saying "the fruits of Rumsfeld's policy were on display at Walter Reed military hospital in Washington." [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2/22/2007]

McCain failed to mention that the fruits of his own work were on display at Walter Reed, too. As a top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, McCain helped rubberstamp six years of Bush Republican budgets that consistently shortchanged veterans and military health care. McCain also failed to mention that he put his presidential aspirations ahead of our veterans and wounded warriors by voting against Democratic proposals to increase funding for military and veterans' hospitals by eliminating some of President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Despite McCain's finger-pointing his rhetoric about Rumsfeld's mismanagement, McCain failed to mention that he had consistently refused to join calls for Rumsfeld to be fired.

"John McCain's double-talking, say-anything-to-win campaign strategy shows why America's veterans and military families simply cannot trust him in the White House," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "The Maverick McCain who used to stand up for his principles has been replaced with a more shameless version that will do anything to appease the right wing of his party, even if it means promising four more years of President Bush's failed policies."

McCain & Veterans' Health Care

McCain Has Repeatedly Voted Against Increasing Funding for Veterans Healthcare to Keep Tax Cuts for the Rich. John McCain has repeatedly voted to keep intact tax cuts for the rich, rather than provide American veterans with adequate healthcare funding. McCain has repeatedly voted against amendments in the Senate that would have added funding for healthcare services, but eliminated tax cuts for the wealthy. Funding would have covered such important services as improving care at veterans' hospitals, providing mental health services to soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse problems. [2006 Senate Vote #7, 2/2/06; 2005 Senate Vote #343, 11/17/05; 2003 Senate Vote #74, 3/21/03]

2006: McCain Voted Against Eliminating Increased Fees And Co-Payments For Veterans Health Care Program By Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes. In 2006, McCain voted against the Kerry amendment that would eliminate increased fees and co-payments for veterans in the TRICARE health care program by raising the discretionary spending limit by approximately $10 billion. The provisions would have been fully offset by eliminating creating corporate tax breaks. [2006 Senate Vote #67, 3/16/2006]

McCain Stood Out in Opposing Veterans' Healthcare Funding. McCain was one of only 13 Republicans to vote against an amendment that added over $400 million for inpatient and outpatient care for veterans. [2006 Senate Vote #98, 4/26/06]

McCain Puts Politics Over Vets; Would Rather Be Out Campaigning Than Supporting Our Troops. McCain missed an important vote this year that supported the funding of the troops in Iraq and guaranteed them adequate medical care upon returning home. [2007 Senate Vote #76, 3/15/07]

McCain Blamed Scandal on Rumsfeld's Management of War. Days after the story broke, McCain told a group of Georgia legislators that "the fruits of Rumsfeld's policy were on display at Walter Reed military hospital in Washington... It's well chronicled that the war was mismanaged." [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2/22/2007]

FLASHBACK 2004: McCain Refused To Call For Secretary Rumsfeld's Resignation. McCain would not call for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation, saying that the President "can have the team that he wants around him." McCain said that he respected Bush's decision to keep Rumsfeld around. McCain said, "I respect the president. The president of the United States was re-elected by a majority of the American people, and I respect his right. And I will work with the president obviously and with the secretary of defense." [, 12/15/04;, 12/5/04]

FLASHBACK 2006: McCain Refused to Join Calls For Rumsfeld's Resignation, Said He Would Work With Rumsfeld. "But the president has the right and earned the right as the president of the United States to appoint his team," and he has confidence in Secretary Rumsfeld. "I will continue to work with Secretary Rumsfeld as much as I can as long as he is secretary of Defense. We have to, because we need to win this war." [East Valley Tribune, 415/2006; ]

SOURCE Democratic National Committee
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