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Former GOP Senator Endorses Obama, Says Romney “Would be Disastrous for America’s Service Members, Veterans and Military Families.”

Pressler in 1995

Former Republican Senator Larry Pressler has issued a statement detailing why he plans to vote for President Barack Obama in November. The longtime politician and decorated Vietnam veteran, who voted for Obama in 2008 because of what he viewed as the Republican party’s drift “toward a dangerous path that put extreme party ideology above national interest,” said that the President’s stellar record of treating military families with respect was a major factor in his endorsement:

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.

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.

Since leaving Congress in 1997, Pressler has dedicated his life to fighting for veterans and their families. He predicts dire circumstances for veterans if Romney is elected in November:

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.

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.

In an interview with Alex Seitz-Wald for Salon, Pressler further explained his rationale when asked, “Beyond the rhetoric, do you see a Romney administration as being bad for veterans?”

Veterans with disabilities are not addressed — everybody says they’re for them — but whatever it takes, we must take care of those veterans. And I have not heard Romney say that. I have heard Obama say it. And I have also heard Obama give the Vietnam Veterans a particular salute. I’m a Vietnam Veteran and we’re dying off and almost forgotten about and we never really got told thank you. And that’s OK with me, but it’s not OK with some of those who had severe wounds and disabilities.

Everybody has all these programs, ball games praising veterans, and all the presidential candidates praise them, but Obama’s the only one that’s got the budget money. And he’s the only one willing to — if we have to raise taxes in order to help veterans, we’ll have to raise them on the very wealthy, and maybe on everybody, but we’ve got to do it.


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