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Talking antiwar to the VFW

August 20, 2007 |  2:12 am

Every presidential candidate knows that every word he or she utters gets the microscope treatment from media and opponents and just plain persnickety people. It's part of the intense campaign inspection of would-be leaders.

Every misplaced pronoun or omission can keep the spin doctors busy in the ER for several news cycles. Barack Obama, for instance, recently referred to the president of Canada, which doesn't have one. We hope Hillary Rodham Clinton's and Obama's spin doctors got plenty of rest this weekend, because as Sam Youngman points out in the Hill, this week is filled with land mines for each of them.

Clinton and Obama are scheduled to address the national Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Mo. Also scheduled to address the conservative crowd is Republican candidate and former POW Sen. John McCain, likely GOP candidate Fred Thompson, and the current commander in chief, President George W. Bush ...


Youngman writes:

While McCain and Bush almost undoubtedly will receive a hero’s welcome from the veterans — the former because he is one of them, the latter because he is a wartime commander in chief — Obama and Clinton will have a fine line to walk.

“I think [the attendees will] hear them out, be polite [but] they’ll be skeptical of what they’re saying,” Vets for Freedom spokesman Adariel Domenech said.

The Democratic presidential candidates face a tricky balancing act in addressing a group that supports Bush and the Iraq troop surge, particularly having just voted against the Iraq war supplemental as they continue to jockey for favor with the party’s anti-war wing.

VFW executive director Bob Wallace said he expected the 6,000 attendees to be respectful toward the Democrats. And who knows? As Youngman points out, the Democrats could even turn controversies over care for veterans into a political advantage.

--Scott Martelle