“Now, let me be clear: No one can dispute John McCain’s love for this country or his concern for veterans. But here’s what I don’t understand. I don’t understand why John McCain would side with George Bush and oppose our plan to make college more affordable for our veterans,” the Democratic presidential candidate said. “George Bush and John McCain may think our plan is too generous. I could not disagree more.”
Obama’s criticism renews a clash that turned personal after the Senate approved the scholarship bill Thursday.
McCain responded with a sharp statement saying that he wouldn’t listen to any lectures on veterans’ affairs from Obama, “who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform.”
The Arizona senator opposes the scholarship measure, as does the Pentagon, because it applies to people who serve just three years. He fears that would encourage people to leave the military after only one enlistment even as the U.S. fights two wars and is trying to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps.
Only three primaries are left in the battle for the Democratic nomination, and Puerto Rico is holding one of them. After his speech, Obama was headed to a town hall-style meeting with voters in Old San Juan. Rival Hillary Rodham Clinton also had a town-hall event in Puerto Rico scheduled for later Saturday. Both candidates are hoping to increase their share of the 55 delegates who will be chosen June 1.
Puerto Ricans can vote in party primaries but not in the fall general election.
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