VoteVets.org Launches Ad Blitz Targeting McCain, Cornyn on 21st Century Bill
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PUBLISHED: May 20, 2008
VOTEVETS.ORG LAUNCHES AD BLITZ TARGETING
McCAIN, CORNYN ON 21ST CENTURY GI BILL
WASHINGTON, DC - The largest group of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, with 95,000 members, VoteVets.org today launched a 36-hour television advertising blitz urging Senators John McCain and John Cornyn to support the bipartisan 21st Century GI Bill, offered by Senators Jim Webb and Chuck Hagel.
A broadcast-quality download link and beta tapes of the ad can be obtained using the contact information above.
In both ads, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan explain that only the Webb-Hagel bill will fully grant them the educational benefits they've earned, while a substitute bill, offered by McCain will grant them only a fraction of their benefits. Neither McCain nor Cornyn back the Webb-Hagel bill, which is due for consideration in the Senate this week.
"We didn't give a fraction in Iraq," the veterans say in the ad. "We gave 100 percent."
The McCain version of the ad began airing this morning in heavy rotation on Washington, DC cable and broadcast, while the Cornyn version of the ad began on broadcast and cable in the Waco and San Antonio markets, which both include military bases.
Veterans said that Senator McCain should follow the leadership of Senators Webb and Hagel, by supporting the bill which has the support of a majority of Senators from both sides of the aisle, and every major veterans group. Veterans from Texas implored Senator Cornyn understand that a vote against Webb-Hagel is a vote against them.
"Senator McCain, as the leader of the Republican Party must send the signal to his colleagues in the Senate that now is not the time to play politics by forcing Senators to choose between his bill and the Webb-Hagel measure," said Jon Soltz, Iraq War Veteran and Chairman of VoteVets.org. "The Webb-Hagel bill has majority support in the Senate, from both sides of the aisle and the backing of every major veterans group. It was carefully crafted to gain this support, and by offering another bill, John McCain is only undermining our veterans."
Brandon Friedman, an Iraq and Afghanistan Veteran from outside Dallas, and Vice Chairman of VoteVets.org said, "I began using the GI Bill less than a year after I returned from Iraq. Unfortunately, the amount of money it provided wasn't enough for me to live and go to school at the same time. If I hadn't found another source of income, I wouldn't have been able to complete my program. And to me, that's not what the GI Bill is supposed to be about. After serving in combat, veterans shouldn't be placed in a position where they have to choose between going to school and paying the rent. That was never the intention of the original bill. Senator Cornyn needs to follow the lead of so many of his colleagues from both sides, who are doing the right thing to support our troops and veterans by voting for this bill."
Alex Horton, an Iraq veteran from Austin, who will soon be using GI Bill benefits said, "The G.I. Bill enjoys broad support on both sides of the aisle, but unfortunately Senator Cornyn is fighting tooth and nail against giving adequate benefits to our troops and veterans, using it as a wedge in partisan politics. He needs to lead by example and get his name on a bill our veterans desperately need. As an Iraq War veteran, I'll be attending school in the fall under one G.I. Bill or another. My future has two paths: one is riddled with tuition debt and juggling a full time job with school, and the other is a path paved by benefits earned by my service to this country. Veteran students should not have to make a decision between food and school, and if Senator Cornyn makes the right decision to support this bill, we won't have to."
The ad was produced by GumSpirits Productions, an advertising company based in Portland, Maine.
VoteVets.org has been incredibly active on this bill, considering it a top legislative priority. The group's members joined in a 30,000-signature petition calling for passage of Webb-Hagel, sent over 16,000 letters to the Senate, and over 1000 letters to the editor. Additionally, Jon Soltz and retired General Wesley Clark cowrote an op-ed on the bill that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, and was syndicated across the country. The group's state captains wrote opeds in their local papers, as well, including in Wisconsin, Kentucky, and New Hampshire.
VoteVets.org is a pro-military organization committed to the destruction of terror networks around the world, with force when necessary. It represents the Voice of America's 21 Century Patriots - those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It primarily focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on behalf of troops, veterans and their families.