Our Forgotten Warriors

On MSNBC, Iraq war veteran and former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA 7) discussed Mitt Romney’s decision not to mention Afghanistan in his speech at the Republican National Convention and the passing reference he made to the war in his speech at the American Legion. President Obama ended the war in Iraq and will end the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Romney called the end of the Iraq War “tragic” and has failed to lay out a plan to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home.

Friday, Murphy rebuked Pat Toomey and 39 of Mitt Romney’s other allies in the Senate Republican caucus for killing the Veterans Jobs Corps Act that would create jobs for veterans and put in place programs to help our brave men and women reenter the work force when they come home:

These Senate Republicans should be ashamed of themselves. They are a disgrace. To put their political priorities ahead of veterans who risked their lives to protect our country is the lowest form of cowardice. I understand that their number one priority is not jobs or veterans or seniors. I know their number one priority is to deny the President a second term. But I never thought they would take it this far. We’re talking about helping to put tens of thousands of our nation’s heroes to work, and Republicans can’t set aside the political games for 5 minutes to support our troops when they come home from war? Helping our warriors settle back into civilian life is the least we can do. We’re talking about job training programs and priority hiring for first responder jobs, police officers, firefighters or rescue workers – but Republicans would rather kick up their heels and do nothing. It’s pathetic.

It’s particularly disappointing to hear Senator Toomey joined in the political gamesmanship immediately after holding public events with Pennsylvania veterans. Our veterans don’t need more lip service from opportunistic politicians, they need action.

Speaking of opportunistic politicians, where was the Republican Party’s alleged leader Mitt Romney during all this? Not a word.  After neglecting to mention veterans or our troops fighting in Afghanistan during his convention speech, it’s no surprise Romney took the easy way out and stood silent as his Republican colleagues killed an important jobs program for our nation’s heroes.  Apparently, veterans are an even lower priority for Romney than previously thought.

Video transcript follows the jump.

ANCHOR: Former Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy is a Democrat, also the first Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress. Patrick, good morning to you. Let’s note here first of all what Mitt Romney did say at the American Legion. This was a speech he gave on August 26th. Let’s put it up on the screen here. He said in part, “of course, we are still at war in Afghanistan. We still have uniformed men and women in conflict risking their lives just as you once did. How deeply we appreciate their service. We salute them, we honor them, we respect and love them.” Now, that’s a 16-second quote out of about a 16-minute speech, but again no specifics about policy there. Why do you think that there’s been such a fear or reluctance to get specific?

MURPHY:  Because then he has to take a stand, Craig, and he refuses to do that. I mean, it’s like what John Kerry said in his speech the other night: You know, Mitt Romney has to debate himself before he actually debates Barack Obama in a couple weeks. I mean, Craig, the quote that you played where Mitt Romney said, “I talked in my speech about the things that I thought were important.” We know that there’s 68,000 sons and daughter of American families that are fighting for us in Afghanistan. That’s not important to Mitt Romney? I mean, he wants to be Commander-in-Chief. And not just a Commander-in-Chief as President, but a wartime Commander-in-Chief – what Barack Obama has been and a true friend to our veterans. I mean the contrast couldn’t be more clear.


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