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Joe Lieberman makes political issue of John McCain's son

John McCain has carefully avoided mentioning the military service of his son Jimmy, a Marine who returned from his first tour in Iraq earlier this year, on the campaign trail -- to prevent anyone from  suggesting he would use his son’s service for political advantage.

But this morning, McCain surrogate Joe Lieberman invoked that service to defend McCain, who was under fire from Democrats for saying during an interview that it’s "not too important" when U.S. troops leave post-surge Iraq.

When McCain was asked in the NBC’s "Today Show" interview about whether he could estimate when U.S. troops could leave Iraq, he said "No, but that's not too important." On an ensuing conference call organized by McCain’s campaign, Lieberman charged McCain’s Democratic foes and Barack Obama's campaign with distorting McCain’s words "to distract the American people from the fact that John McCain has been both courageous and right about the surge in Iraq and Barack Obama has unfortunately been consistently wrong."

He noted that McCain was answering a question about his estimate of when troops would return from Iraq based on the success of the troop surge in Iraq.

Lieberman said it was outrageous for McCain's critics to suggest that he’s out of touch with the needs of our troops.

"More than most any American, Sen. McCain knows the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make and the burden that their families bear, and it really is wrong to suggest otherwise," Lieberman said. "Obviously he knows that from his own—from his father’s service and the impact it had on his family; from his own service and incarceration; from his eight visits to Iraq -- on which I’ve been with him on a lot of them -- and interacting with our troops there; and of course from the fact that his son was deployed to Iraq."

Lieberman dropped off the conference call in the middle of questions from reporters. McCain's foreign policy advisor, Randy Scheunemann, declined to comment when asked whether Jimmy McCain's service would now be part of the campaign.

-- Maeve Reston

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So, how come Barack Obama did not sign up to defend our country. Was he in the military??

Sorry McCain, but you didn't learn military strategy and tactics in military academy where you graduated at the bottom of your class. You don't learn military tactics and strategy languishing as a captive in a prison camp. You don't get to be a hero by being shot down, as the whole idea behind putting you in charge of a billion dollar weapon was to shoot down the other guy.
If Lieberman thinks McCain should get Brownie points for his son's service in Iraq, why hasn't he castigated Bush and the rest of the Bush cabinet, for their children's failure to serve? And, by the way, does anyone know where ChickenHawk Lieberman was during Korea and Vietnam?

Typical McSame - lives don't mean anything to him.

How many Obama-drones have served their country??

Obama’s service is so thin; it isn’t even featured on his website!

John McCain:

Silver Star
Bronze Star
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart
Flying Cross


Let me see if I have this straight:

The Obama campaign makes a ludicrous claim that McCain doesn't understand the the plight and travails of military families, despite -

1) growing up in a military family, with family away at war.
2) having had a family worried to death about him while he was captured and tortured while in the military
3) being the father of two sons in the military, including one in combat zone.

And the LA Times chooses to nitpick about whether Mac's son's service is relevant, rather than question a ludicrous charge by the Obama campaign?

Please let me know when you decide to become a news-reporting organization.

I can only wonder why McCain's sons' service WOULDN'T be a political issue? Yes, I say "Sons", because he has two adult children in the military now.

McCain raised his sons to respect the flag and serve their country. It is an important reflection of his character and judgement. He has earned my respect for his family's patriotism and service. It goes a long way towards earning my vote.

Now my larger question is this: Why is the press so unwilling to talk about his sons' service? They are both adults and in the service of the U.S. Government. I don't see why the press should choose to hide or denigrate that service. It makes me wonder if there's a political agenda afoot by the LA Times and the press generally toward a particular candidate. Hmmmm.

McCain knows all about the military, that is all he knows besides the joys of the political profiteering elites.. What he doesn't know is the life of ordinary folks like the rest of us. We do not live on military bases, have free healthcare etc..

I am afraid he really is out of touch with us regular could he be? He is NOT one of us.

I may disagree with McCain on some issues but loyalty to our country and it's defense IS NOT ONE of them.

"By there fruits you will know them"

Obama has shown his disdain for the military contrary to his oratory time and time again.

Obama did not sign up to defend our country. In fact he signed up to offend our country.

Quote: Why is the press so unwilling to talk about his sons?

maybe its important to keep them out of the press so they don't become targets?

Dont you think some terrorist leader would love to kill the son of an American leader who is for the war in Iraq?

(As some may recall, Sen. McCain was singled out for special torture in Vietnam because he was known to be the son of a U.S. admiral. Later, he was offered early release for the same reason, which he turned down unless everyone went home.)

It is not patriotic to blindly support a failure of a war, a failure of party and a failure of an ideology.

It's patriotic to try to fix the problems those failures left behind.

McCain is a wooden duck this election cycle. The republicans aren't going to blow their wad in 08, they know they're sunk.

I don't rember of ever hearing that Franklin D. Roosevelt of Harry S. Truman ever were in the military. The Second World War didn't last as long or cost as much as the current conflicts we are in.

I respect those who have what it takes to serve in the armed forces but it would make little sense to say that my unwillingness to go kill people is indicative of cowardice. I do no believe in saying "I have an ideological difference, and you have an ideological difference, so let's get a group of people from each country and duke it out and that'll somehow settle our differences." That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

Obama believes in diplomacy, as I do, and it makes no sense to impugn his military record (or lack thereof) when he disagrees with wars in the first place. He is serving his country already by serving in public office. It is relevant to McCain, however, since this "100 years" nonsense is something he believes in.

What IS an issue is when someone has no problems authorizing and agreeing with it but refuses to sign up or insists on dodging drafts. However, the war in Iraq is not being fought by a conscripted army so to say that the sons of politicians are not there is not totally fair -- they have simply decided that the military is not for them.

Tell me: what defensive, legitimate war did the US participate in since WWII that Obama would have joined to, as some claim, "defend" our country? If his ideology is anti-war, why the HELL would you expect him to -- and absent this, consider it a flaw -- to participate in the most direct advocacy of war there is?

Obma: "I don't believe in putting ANYONE in harm's way without sufficient cause. Getting our greedy paws on oil from an ubstable, poor region is not one of them. "
You: "Obama is a hypocrite; he should have put HIMSELF in harm's way, if not our youth. Why isn't he in Iraq/Nam/etc. shooting up people?" - You
Sounds like a fairly stupid argument, doesn't it? But then again, if you weren't inclined to those, you'd be for Obama, who at least has some semblance of logic in his positions.

"It sounds like segregation to me, etc., etc., etc.," - Ellen
"I understand all that but I disagree." - Nice reasoning and justification, Mr. McCain!
"Why don't you support equal pay for women?"
"I understand but I think it'll help trial lawyers." Well gee, he might as well have said it'll help the communists. The reasoning has no relevance to the question or justification!

Oh come on. Obama's lack of military service or McCain's previous CHOICE to serve in the military has NO consequence on how either would act as President. As for family history what other job in the US would it be legal to ask for family history during a job interview? Judge the person and the ideas presented for the job, not the useless past. History should at least teach us what not to do right?

Where was your need for Military service when McCain was running against Bush? Did Bush have military service but I bet you voted for him. Stop blabbing and talk about what Leadership really is. What are the ideas and goals of a McCain presidency? Obviously he has none since he has been the dog and pony show of the Republican party in order to get nominated. I only hope the real John McCain will stand up and start actually saying what his policies are instead of continuing the Fear Mongering of the Bush administration. Since McCain has seen the impacts of war firsthand should know that it is a waste of resources, life, and time.

This is what is called a political game - I am an Obama supporter

I do believe that McCain his son and all of those who serve this country honorably in our military should be respected

I did not volunteer to go to Vietnam, I did not run to Canada, I did not hide in what in those days was a safe place called the national guard. Am i a coward - perhaps but if I am then every other man in the United states alive in those days and every day sense who did not volunteer is equally a coward.

This is a political game because 4 years ago military service of the Democratic candidate was denigrated while the serving president who did not go to war was honored - now the people of the right want to do the opposite. Make up your mind.

I think service in the military should be honored for what it is - service to our country by those willing to give their all to sustain and care for our nation. They are no longer draftees who have no choice but individuals who for personal reasons or service ideals find that the military is their choice in life - I respect and honor that choice.

Being in the military does not give you wisdom on the world stage - it does not give you an automatic understanding of the world around us in all its facets.

I do not mean this disrespectfully I mean it honestly - just as living a long time does not guarantee wisdom - it does increase your chances in my experience but it does not guarantee

So respect McCain for his service both in Vietnam and in the Senate but also respect Obama for the life he has lived - both have unique perspectives that are different than most Americans - both have been chosen by their party to represent us - Decide who is better not just beating on them and looking for who is evil

With respect, LEP

I can't believe I voted for Joe Lieberman as a democratic vice presidential candidate. Talk about being a sneaky underhanded manipulative backstabbing turncoat. Why won't that frog looking low life piece of fecal matter go ahead and just join the republican party already and get it over with.
Joe Lieberman is a representative of the state of Israel, not the USA.
He might as well leave the country and get elected to their government and keep defending this stupid war in Iraq, that was nothing but a gift to the Israelis government. This argument that you have to serve in the military to be elected president is an insult to all past presidents that didn't serve and normal citizens that work and pay taxes. You military people get off of your high horses because you are getting paid for your service. It's not like you are volunteering anything. You get benefits room, board and paychecks. Also, your service in Iraq has done nothing to make America safer. This stupid war supported by scum like Lieberman, McCain and Bush has done nothing but ruined our image in the world. It has forced the world into an energy crisis, and has created new enemies all over. When is he going to endorse McCain as president?

How about this little fact: Since, Hillary Clinton has bailed out, Obama has touted her economic policies, meanwhile, he criticized her economic policies when she ran against him. So far, Obama has stated that removing the federal tax on gas would be beneficial if we tax the profits of the oil corporations further (Hillary's plan), he has touted Hillary's healthcare plan, etc. Its amazing. And only one news organization picked it up, and it was in an editorial (New York Times). Meanwhile, Obama states that he wont go negative. What do you call it when a person's campaign organizers publicly call out a individual... not his plans or theories, but the person itself? Is that not negative tactics? I honestly believe people make Obama out to be something he is not. Everyone just wants a Kennedy back in office (well, the Kennedy mentality anyway)... Change can be good and bad. Lets make a good decision, an informed decision. Listen and learn when the candidates speak, dont just vote based on party politics.

America has invested far more Iraqi lives than American lives in all of this. Sure Bush is an idiot, but we can't change what has been done no matter how much we wish to.

Somehow "all men are created equal" has been lost in the american conscience. If we abandon the millions of Iraqi lives we have pledged in this fight to be slaughtered, tortured, and raped by those that would rise to power in America's absence, we have no honor left in our country at all.

If Obama has a plan to prevent this, then let's hear it. Only thing we have heard so far is tantamount to cut and run and hide our eyes and ears from the cries of those we left behind to suffer and die. If we ignore it long enough, the cries will dim as the bodies they come from are buried in the earth or shut away in prisons and then we can back to important things like the next iphone.

We made the mess, now we have to clean it up. it's called being responsible, its called being an adult, and it should be part of being an American.

Isn't it ironic that black and white american race relations have come so far, that we can come together to support racist policies that give no value to arab lives.

McCain's words were taken out of context.

I thought McCain fought in WWII? Is this wrong?

The only reason Lieberman is so pro war is because his allegiance lies with Israel. He does not give a rats ass about American lives as long as his real country Israel is better off.

McCain graduated 890 out of 895 and was allowed to become a naval aviator because of "affirmative action" granted to the admirals son. He went on to crash four planes before being shot down in his fifth and brainwashed for 5 years. Now this Manchurian Candidates' psychological status is a closed file accessible to only a privileged few. McCain is AIPACS puppet and Lieberman is his handler.

grannie53 ...
Show me the requirement to sign up with the military.

The quesiton should be why would someone who was a prisoner of war support abusing prisoners.

Why does someone who is a veteran require people who sign up to defend this country to have to deal with benefit levels?

So you are telling me if someone did their time in Iraq and came out under his system they would not be worthy of benefits???? This goes back to the old story that to be respected as a veteran you have to show wounds. Otherwise people see them as just another person which is sad.

I'm waiting for the various news agencies to stop treating McCain like the Jessica Lynch we were lead to believe.
When will they reveal his respected service also has some stains. Google it: SONGBIRD McCain


Reality Check.... Your post took the words right out of my mouth.

TO sean, ...jenn,...and stan g....what a crock of babble
you folks really need an education...if you did go to were cheated!
And to you RonGrube....The price of a war is not measured in dollars, butt head!'s measured in men KIA for the likes of you. When you get into adult hood you will
read better and learn something...All of you folks!...Start with a new book on the market "The Great Upheaval"...from there start again...good luck you poor poor folks...uncbob

McCain patrioitic. Hah! He signed a letter specifically stating that the actions of the US were immoral. He should have died for his country before signing such a thing. How could a person who sides with another country against his own be a patriot. I guess the press is hiding this for him because they are all in the Repugnicants back pocket.

I am a liberal. I have 6 children all from the same wife of 25 years. I attend church at least 3 times a week. I give of my means, I help the poor. I don't believe that anyone should have an abortion, live with a woman or man they aren't married to or divorce their wife because they found someone better (i.e. McCain)

I am a liberal because I don't think the government should force my religious beliefs on anyone. It is up to me to teach someone God's truth and it should be their decision to obey or disobey. That's between them and God and our government shouldn't have anything to do with it.

I am voting for Obama who graduated at the top of his class because he is smart and capable. I can't understand why we'd want to elect someone who graduated at the bottom (or next to the bottom) of his class, can't inspire our nation (speaks poorly) and espouses the failed policies (make tax cuts permanent, continue borrow and spend, keep spending 2 billion on Iraq war) of our current President.

I'm confused as to why anyone would vote for McCain.

So what if McCain's son served in Iraq? So what? Why is he still not there when others are being forced to go for the 3rd or the 4th time. Did his daddy pull strings?

Just because you have family involved in a stupid war does not absolve you of the responsibility towards other's children who are are sentencing to death.

As for Liberman - he is an imbecile.

Any dog and idiot can declare and go to war ( as we have seen w/ McSame and Bush), it takes courage to prevent killing your own children. By the way - as you may have seen in the news today - georgie porgies el stupido is no professing diplomacy w/ iran. What a moron.

And just because mccain was a pow does not mean he has his head screwed on right. he just want to take revenge on ANYONE who is in sight to avenge his incarceration.

You are not going to get that chance old man!!!

Stan writes: "Languishing in a prison camp" ???

I thought I'd read everything, but apparently stupidity knows no bounds.

Sen Obambi has repeatedly used the story of his grandfather's flag drapped coffin and his granduncle who helped liberate a concentration camp to build up his military experience.

Jim Webb openly wore his son's boots to get elected.

The McCains have every right and indeed a duty to speak openly and with pride about the service of their children.

This is what biased uminformed people who want to outright lie think like

Dear illogical thinker..
John's own son served in Iraq
John himself gave years of his life in prison for America

John was asked when AMERICAN Forces could come home from Iraq--not when SOME could come home. Thats why he mentioned SOME were still in Germany and other countries.

He mentioned this same point before when the DEMS distorted his 100 year comment. He said the question is phrased incorrectly. American forces will remain just like in these other countries.

So asking when American forces will come home is not only umimportant--its a dumb question in the light of history. The question is when can forces be reduced to an observers level.

Anyone with an IQ above room temperature can see that. So why do dems and fanatics lie? Their not interested in truth--only winning. Why does the news put out a headline that takes him out of context--because they know eyeballs will click a link or tune in.

Its shameful. John Kerry knew exactly what John meant. But he's a dishonest person.

Mc Cain does not even honor those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting the Jim Webb GI Bill. He did not want to mention his son Jimmy went to Iraq but since his mommy Cindy is a drug addicted heiress worth over 100 million I guess he does not have to worry about tuition. He should honor our troops like our country did his service in Vietnam. I came home with a couple of purple hearts and cannot fathom not taking care of these kids. Over 30,000 of them have been maimed. Please visit a local veterans hospital and see for yourself what this war for no reason is costing our country in blood plus the 12 billion a month. How many have committed suicide since returning they wont talk about that and Mc War want to hang around Iraq for who cares how long? His own words today that is not too important. America we think it is important rgiht? let him know by pulling the lever for Barack Obama.

Ron Grube, I appreciate your analogy but Harry Truman was a successful company commander in WW1. Roosevelt didn't serve in the military. Actually, many former military heroes made bad or mediocre presidents: Grant, Kennedy, Ike etc...I think intelligence is the key, Our best president, Lincoln, was a Captain in the Black Hawk War but saw no action. He was a very smart cookie with a common man's touch. That is exactly what we need now after the insanity of the Bush regime. Military service is not a prerequisite.

We should all thank Barack Obama for having written and championed the legislation that got my comrades and me at Walter Reed free phone privileges and also free food. Can you believe we were charging the maimed and injured to call their homes? Well we were until Barack Obama saw it first hand while I was in the Spinal therapy unit there. I lost both legs in an IED explosion and still don't have proper medical care. Google me if you want to know the truth. Mc Cain is not for us even though he and his whole damn family is one of us. I want my college education and will need it to keep my two boys in decent clothes. Support Jim Webbs GI Bill so I can go to school America. Get this past John Mc Cain and George W. Bush. Please!

I can match him purple heart to purple heart now I just want our country to have a heart and take care of our veterans. You don't need to serve to empathize.

hasn't the
State of Vermont
sent a proportionately large number of soldiers to Iraq?

How about Vermont Governor Jim Douglas as a V.P.
running mate for Senator McCain?

When Israel nearly provoked a nuclear war using the false flag of the USS Liberty incident, McCain's dad helped sweep the incident under the rug. Maybe AIPAC stooge McCain will help issue in the nuclear war that wasn't when he bomb, bomb, bombs Iran.

Why people want a presidentship is an important question? Based on his experiece serving the country as soldier and as a had-nosed, bare-knuckled senator, we can conclude that Senator McCain truly loves his country and thinks he can help make it better.

Can we say the same about Senator Obama. What are his reasons? I wonder. Does he think America is a racist, bigoted country that has done great injustice to its own citizens (African Americans and the poor of the US) and to the world (Iraqis, Palestinians, Iranians, Cubans etc)?

What's new here? John McCain and Joseph Lieberman care about one thing and one thing only: Israel. That's why they have absolutely no problem keeping troops in Iraq for a hundred years. It's a great insurance policy for Israel. AIPAC and its neo-con cronies basically own the U.S. government. Every politician in America fears AIPAC. That's why Obama, Clinton and McCain were trying to out-duel each other by showing their loyalty to Israel last week at the AIPAC conference. If you really want to understand American politics, read "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy" by Professor Stephen M. Walt of Harvard University and Professor John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago.

I can guarantee you this - the only uniform Joseph Lieberman would ever wear is that of the Israeli Defense Force. Lieberman is nothing but an Israeli mole, here to serve only the interest of Israel. His actions are truly treasonous. In fact, Lieberman would happily support the Communist Party if he thought it was in the best interest of his beloved Israel.

After the comment by McCain of "not too concerned" the Obama machine had several top Democrats interviewed and they all used the word "confused". Obama is trying to use prejudice against older people. His is trying to make people think that because McCain is older he is confused. I think it is great that America has an African-American running for President but sad that it is Obama, a man whose pastor for his whole adult life is a raving racist and a man who uses campaign tactics based on prejudice against another older Americans.

John, your comment sadly reflects the distorted manner in which the media have covered the GI bill. McCain does indeed support expanding GI benefits.

There were two GI bills. One was the Webb bill, one was the Graham bill. The Graham bill includied a sliding scale that correlated time in service to level of benefits and included a provision to transfer benefits to family members. This was done to accomodate a concern the Pentagon had with the Webb bill -- it's effect on retention.

McCain supported greatly expanding GI benefits under the Graham bill, not the flawed Webb bill. That little detail has gotten lost in this story, and what the media has been perpetuating is "McCain opposes GI benefits."

It's an absurd, ludicrous assertion, but look how people are unthinkingly buying into it.

Under the Graham bill, you could transfer your benefits to family members, like your son.

If you're saying you are not receiving adequate medical care, I'd suggest you publish a letter stating as much either on the net, on a milblog, or on a newsite explaining the problem.

We need to know if people aren't getting sufficient medical care so public pressure can be brought to bear on the case.

Obama indeed has the method of doling out benefits to buy votes among many groups, not just the military. But McCain made himself vulnerable to this distortion and attack because he made the mistake of approaching the issue like a Commander in Chief thinking about future force levels, while Obama approached it like a politician trying to buy votes.

That was McCain's mistake. He should have simply signed the flawed Webb bill as Obama did, despite it's deleterious effect on national security, so Obama wouldn't be able to exploit vets, benefits or this particular bill, in his attack.

The Pentagon supported the Graham bill McCain supported, not the Webb bill Obama signed. At the time Obama feigned bewilderment in an Oscar winning performance about "Golly, I just don't understand why McCain wouldn't support these benefits".

Obama knew full well McCain supported expanding the benefits, but that he wanted the Graham bill to do it so risks to retention could be ameliorated. The media dutifully perpetuated Obama's little myth.

What's really galling is to have someone like Obama, who preaches to young people to avoid corporate success, and go into community service or the Peace Corps, or do something for your government, AND NEVER ONCE MENTION MILITARY SERVICE, which these days, despite the ongoing war, spends more effort and resources in humanitarian aid around the world than the Peace Corps does.

No Obama didn't serve. That's fine, no problem. But then for him to accuse McCain of not caring about vets, all the while knowing McCain's own son just returned from an Iraq deployment, is bottom-feeding poliltics at it's worst.

Appears Obama picked up a little tactical knowledge in the sreets of the south side.

I'm no supporter of Juan McCain, but his commitment to his beliefs are a lot more admirable than Barack Obama's. The only thing an Obama presidency will bring to the U.S. is third world destitution found in Africa and every other country that's runned by an African.

Is it possible that like Lieberman's stepson, the Rabbi, McCain's son may also be supporting Barack Obama? Now that would be a good reason McCain doesn't want his son in the news.

In dangerous times like these, Bush III is better than Carter II.

I disagree with the notion that military service automatically makes you some knd of genius in miliary affairs. The military is full of morons. I served 14 years as an officer in the Army. Most career officers are just too dumb to find anything better. I do not claim to have been a good officer. I just did the job. And I was too dumb to find anything better. I do know that if I had crashed 4 expensive aircraft, I'd a) have been run out of the Army, and B) still be paying for them. MCain graduated from the Naval Academy 894th out of 899, which means only 5 guys were dumber than him. What makes you think that his tactical or strategic ideas would be of any value at all? Everything he managed to accomplish as a Naval Officer was due to his father's influence and nothing else. Shoot, even his first congressional seat was purchased by his father-in-law (Cindy's weathy father). McCain is no paragon of virtue. He's got a lot of skeletons in his closet, but the media is giving him a complete pass on all his negatives. Somebody explain that.

An Anti-Sara Palin Evolution Antidote to Mindless Evangelical Babbling

Dear Friends,

Evangelicals have been denying evolution with the greatest vigor especially since the turn of the 21st Century and the arrival of George Bush on the scene. Now, so tightly intertwined with the Republican Party as to be indistinguishable from them as evidenced by the hoopla and shouting and talking in tongues up in Minnesota, they are denying all truth to a degree that should be alarming to any thinking person. Join with us in considering a new ideology that is neither conservative nor liberal but is based on the straight scientific truth of evolution put together with mathematical precision and clarity. Now is the time when America must make its stand against these lunatic, double talking, control mad, war mongering fascists who want to enslave the country and conquer the world for God, up to and including waging nuclear war to satisfy His Divine will in their suicidally juvenile and unhappiness driven desire to all die and go to Heaven, and take us with them. Are you on the hit list to be activated the minute the election is over and McCain has won?

Dr. Peter V. and Mrs. Ruth Calabria
Read more and help us organize at


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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