Election 2012: McCain Rallies Veterans in Michigan
Former Republican presidential nominee campaigns for Romney
On Monday, former presidential candidate Senator John McCain rallied military veterans at an American Legion Post in Utica, Michigan, to elect Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Veterans make up 13 percent of voters, so appealing to military service members has been particularly important for both Romney and Obama.
But a Gallup poll taken in late May shows Romney with a comfortable lead among veterans – 58 percent to Obama's 34 percent.
"The quality of the men and women serving today is as high or higher than it's ever been in our history," McCain explained. "But in my view, they need new leadership."
In a roundtable discussion, Senator McCain discussed the high unemployment rate among veterans. The national unemployment rate for veterans is about 14 percent, compared to an 8 percent national unemployment rate, according to McCain.
"Veterans don't want our pity or our sympathy," McCain said. "They want to come back and be contributing members of our society just like everybody else."
Congresswoman Candice Miller, who was also present with Senator McCain, spoke to the Kids Press Corps following his speech.
"We think about the unacceptably high amount of unemployment which we have nationally, and that is particularly acute for our returning men and women, our veterans," Miller said. "We should be ashamed of that number and we really need to do a lot more to grow the economy and to place more tension and focus to make sure that we can hire and put together those who are looking to hire veterans," Miller said.
McCain also took the time to criticize President Obama's administration.
"I worry about American leadership," McCain said. "I worry about this president who leads from behind. I worry when all we talk about is withdraw rather than victory."
McCain served in the Vietnam War and was captured as a Prisoner of War after his aircraft was shot down. He was seriously wounded after being held at the Hanoi Hilton prison for five-and-a-half years.
"There's no one in this room who doesn't know someone who paid the ultimate price," he said. "So it seems to me the kind of leadership we need is the kind of leadership who will not only honor their service but make sure there isn't any unnecessary sacrifice."
While McCain attempted to rally support in Michigan, President Obama was in Ohio, another important swing-state.
But despite recent polls that show Obama and Romney in a virtual tie in Michigan, Miller believes Michiganders will ultimately choose Romney, who was born in the state.
"The people of Michigan are like those all across the country," Miller said. "They're seeing this out-of-control federal spending, they're seeing the President's economic policies that are not working, and they look to the alternative, and in this case, they have a fantastic alternative."
Since 1944, every presidential election has had at least one major candidate that served in the military. The 2012 election is the first one where this hasn't been the case.
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