Obama staff: Health care for veterans to improve

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s national veterans director, Phil Carter, told a group of nearly 100 local veterans and residents that caring for those who have served the United States in war will be one of Obama’s top priorities in office.

Carter, himself an Iraq War veteran, highlighted Obama’s support for a new version of the G.I. Bill that passed through the Senate on a 75-22 vote in May.

The legislation, which Obama supported and his opponent, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., opposed, provides post-service benefits for veterans.

“It wasn’t done because … we want a handout,” Carter told the crowd at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1247. “It was an investment.”

At the time, McCain, who wanted to tie the amount of benefits veterans receive to the amount of time they serve, sent out a statement lambasting Obama’s stance in light of his lack of service in the armed forces.

“I will not accept from Sen. Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did,” McCain said.

Veterans in attendance Thursday said they were pleased to hear about Obama’s commitment to making sure veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be taken care of at home.

Jim Hoffman, who served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, said strengthening the country’s veteran services will only make the military stronger and more likely to find the recruits it needs to protect America.

Vernon Overby, who served in the U.S. Marines from 1946 to 1948, said he liked what he heard about Obama’s stance on the G.I. Bill.

“I think it’s something that’s warranted,” Overby said. “These guys put their lives on the line.”


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