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Mitt Romney calls for bigger military, while President Barack Obama touts ending wars

Campaigning in swing state of Virginia, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama addressed military and veterans issues.
by Chris Casteel Published: September 27, 2012

“I want a military that's so strong no one wants to test it,” he said.

Before Romney's remarks, Jim Nicholson, a Vietnam War veteran and former secretary of Veterans Affairs, said Romney would restore the morale of the military and help veterans find jobs in an economy that has been tough for them.

Nicholson said Romney “knows the first responsibility as president is to protect the people. He knows you can't do that as a depleted and demoralized military.”

In Virginia Beach, Obama promised to “sustain the strongest military the world has ever known.”

“My opponent said it was ‘tragic' to end the war in Iraq, and he won't tell us how he'll end the war in Afghanistan,” the president said. “I have, and I will. And I'll use the money we're no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges, schools and runways because after a decade of war, it is time to do some nation-building here at home.”

Romney has been criticized for not mentioning Iraq or Afghanistan or the U.S. veterans in his speech at the Republican National Convention. U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former secretary of the U.S. Navy, took Romney to task Thursday at the Virginia rally for Obama.

Webb, D-Virginia, suggested that Romney made a choice not to serve in the military during the Vietnam War and said veterans were owed “at least a mention, some word of thanks and respect, when a presidential candidate who is their generational peer makes a speech accepting his party's nomination to be commander in chief.”

Webb also made reference to Romney's recently revealed comments about people who don't pay income taxes and rely on government services.

Referring to the people with whom he served in Vietnam, Webb said that “in receiving veterans' benefits, they are not takers. They were givers, in the ultimate sense of that word.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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