Defense & National Security

Numbers indicate veterans feel alienated by Obama

Numbers indicate veterans feel alienated by Obama

New poll data shows that while President Barack Obama maintains a slight lead in the overall race, he can’t hope to catch challenger Mitt Romney in support among military veterans.

Obama trailed by margins of between 12 and 20 percentage points in the swing states of Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, according to NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist surveys conducted earlier this month. The widest gap, with Romney leading 58 percent to 38 percent among veterans, is in the swing state of Florida, a state crucial for Romney to carry in the general election.

Writing about the new data, Politico cited Obama campaign spokeswoman Clo Ewing expressing hope that the president’s standing among veterans would improve before the election.

The Romney campaign made it clear they believed the damage was irreversible for their opponents.

“As individuals who have chosen to serve our nation, veterans care about a strong military and a President who will keep faith with them when they return from the frontlines.  It is not uprising that veterans overwhelmingly support Governor Romney and his policies of reversing President Obama’s devastating defense cuts, turning around the economy so that our veterans come home to good jobs, and improving the VA system for the 21st century,” Campaign spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement provided to Human Events. “President Obama’s veterans outreach efforts are failing because voters understand that his defense cuts threaten our position as a global power, unemployment for returning veterans is at an unacceptable level,  and the VA system is breaking under a backlog of disability claims that has doubled on his watch.”

In addition to defense cuts, numerous veterans groups have recently come forward to speak out about security leaks that appear to be coming from the White House, Obama’s “leading from behind” stance on foreign policy, and the perception that he used the special forces raid that eliminated Osama bin Laden as a campaign talking point.

Many of these groups have yet another reason to feel alienated.

Last month, the Obama website published a list of veterans advocacy organizations, such as Special Operations for America, a group of former Navy SEALs, and Veterans for a Strong America, a group founded by a veteran of the Iraq War, denouncing the groups’ statements as “false attacks” and terming the movement “Swift Boat 2.0.”

Special Operations Chief of Staff Scott Hommel told Human Events Obama’s attack on the groups was specious.

“We’re not swift boaters,” he said. “The swift boat operation was discrediting Sen. Kerry’s service in Vietnam. Our whole effort is to say that the president is not leading as a commander in chief.”

Hommel said despite pro-military rhetoric, Obama’s recent actions, from his sequester cuts to his lack of support for American exceptionalism, explained why he lags in popularity with military voters.

“It sends a message that he doesn’t exactly hold the military and veterans in high regard,” Hommel said. “His actions and the campaign speak just don’t add up together.”

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