Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Obama Endorsement Steals Clinton’s Thunder at VFW Convention

Whatever political capital Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., may have gained with veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars may have been overshadowed the following day with Rep. Patrick Murphy’s endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama the following day at the VFW’s annual convention. Murphy, the freshman Democrat serving Pennsylvania, is the only Iraq War veteran to serve in Congress and earned a Bronze Star as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, while serving in Baghdad in 2003 and 2004.

“I take my role as an Iraq war veteran very seriously,” writes Murphy on a blog post on Obama’s campaign website. “Four years ago, in August 2003, I was in the middle of Baghdad. As a Captain with the 82nd Airborne Division, I was a witness to our foreign policy. As a Congressman, I believe that we need to change the direction in Iraq, start bringing our troops home, and refocus on the real War on Terror. And I believe that Senator Obama is best suited to lead in this effort.”

As if setting up Obama, Clinton told the story Monday at the VFW national convention in Kansas City of how she met a “bright, young captain” in the 82nd Airborne Division named Patrick Murphy in 2003, during her first trip to Baghdad. One hour before Obama was set to take the stage at the convention the following day, Murphy announced his endorsement of Obama in the Democratic presidential race.

Obama believes that America hasn’t been keeping its sacred trust with our servicemen and women and our veterans. “We enter into a sacred trust with our veterans from the moment they put on that uniform”, said Obama in a press release. “That trust is simple – America will be there for them just as they have been there for America . As a candidate for the presidency, I know that I am running to become Commander-in-Chief – to safeguard this nation’s security, and to keep that sacred trust. There is no responsibility that I take more seriously.”

The Obama campaign hopes to use Murphy’s endorsement as a reminder that one can support the troops and military veterans, while simultaneously opposing the war in Iraq. “Congressman Murphy is a part of the new generation of American leaders that’s bringing a fresh voice to our nation’s capital,” Obama told the crowd of veterans Tuesday. “He knows that we need fundamental change in our politics and our foreign policy if we want to make the progress America so desperately needs.”

Murphy joined Obama at the VFW conference as part of a united front in a zero-tolerance approach against homeless veterans. “This is absolutely critical, especially when you consider that there are 1,300 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have come home in the past three years and entered into homeless outreach programs, and that on any given night in America , there are 200,000 veterans on the streets in America,” writes Murphy on Obama’s campaign site. “That's immoral, and that's why I've introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to take a zero tolerance approach towards allowing our veterans to become homeless.

"Senator Obama understands that we owe our troops the best public policy and the best foreign policy that we can give them. He understands that we need a tough and smart approach when we talk about Iraq and when we talk about fighting al-Qaida in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” writes Murphy. “We need Senator Obama's comprehensive approach to foreign policy and we need to make sure that we are fighting on the right battlefields.”

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