August 10, 2004
Kerry to address VFW

I'll be interested to see what kind of response John Kerry gets when he speaks at the national VFW convention next week.

Kerry will speak to VFW members Aug. 18, said Brendon Cull, a spokesman for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Ohio. The Kerry campaign has expanded its efforts in recent weeks to emphasize Kerry's military service in Vietnam.

Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Bush's re-election campaign, said Tuesday he had no information on whether the president has accepted the VFW's invitation.

The VFW does not endorse candidates for president, said VFW spokesman Jerry Newberry. He said he expects the candidates to discuss health care for veterans, which the VFW regards as a top priority.

"I don't think either candidate would dance around that," he said.

VFW officials expect 12,000 to 15,000 people at the convention, Newberry said. Delegates attending the convention represent 2.6 million fellow VFW members and the interests of 25 million other veterans.

The VFW convention delegates are to act on dozens of resolutions on subjects including prisoners of war, military pay and health care.

Edward Banas, the VFW's current commander, outlined veterans' concerns in his March testimony before a joint meeting of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees in Washington. He said thousands of veterans had been waiting well over six months for basic health care appointments.

"Other veterans must wait over a year for specialized health care appointments," he said. "There are millions of veterans who are completely excluded from the system because they make above a paltry income threshold."

The VFW was unhappy with the budget proposed by the Bush administration this year. It included increased co-payments and an enrollment fee the VFW said would force many out of the Veterans Administration health care system.

I can't imagine that Bush would duck this, especially as he is actively campaigning through swing states, but you never know. I'll be even more curious to see how the crowd reacts to him.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 10, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack