Monday, August 13, 2007

The Iowa Front: Military & Veterans’ Weekly Roundup

Political/Veterans’ Front

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney may have won the Ames Straw Poll fundraiser Saturday, but his “surge for support” in the veterans’ community had trouble gaining traction in the days leading up to the event.

“Iraq Vet Confronts Mitt”: While stumping at the Iowa Sate Fair on Thursday, Romney was confronted by wounded Iraq War veteran Ron Devoll Jr., a 26-year old from Cedar Falls. Cut off by Romney’s traveling secretary Eric Fehrnstrom, Devoll never got an opportunity to finish his line of questioning. "I think that Romney was disrespectful," Devoll told reporters after the candidate had left. "I tried to ask him questions. You know I am an Iraq vet who served my country and he can't give me a few minutes of his time, and he wants to walk off. I think that's really disrespectful," he said. The online journal, “Salon,” captured the complete transcript of the conversation. (“War Room”)

“Romney’s Sons Surge to Support Him, Not Troops”: At an “Ask Mitt Anything” campaign stop Wednesday, Rachel Griffiths, a member of the Quad City Progressive Action for the Common Good and sister of an Army major who had served in Iraq, asked Romney, in light of his support of the troop surge, why none of his five sons were serving in Iraq. Romney responded, "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president.” (Political Fallout)

“Iowa Veterans Put Politics Aside to Raise Funds for Wounded Comrades”: The spirit of bipartisanship has broken out on the presidential campaign trail in Iowa. The Iowa Democratic Veterans Caucus is hosting a fund-raiser Monday (Aug. 13) in Des Moines to assist wounded soldiers and veterans. The event, "Iowa Veterans' Presidential Extravaganza," is open to all veterans, regardless of their political affiliation. "From the day you put on the uniform, you learn to take care of your fellow soldier. This is no different. Black, white, Hispanic, Republican, Democrat, Independent; we are all in this together. You may or may not like our politics, but you cannot deny that we are comrades in arms," said Bob Krause, chair of the IDP Veterans' Caucus.

All of the Democratic presidential candidates have been invited, but only Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Con., has confirmed he will attend, while John Edwards, Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, Sen. Barack Obama, D.-Ill., and New Mexico Gov Bill Richardson have confirmed they are sending high-level aides on their behalf. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, is also scheduled to speak at the event. The event will run from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to accommodate veterans and their families who will be attending the State Fair. (Iowa Independent)

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