Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saxby Chambliss Defends Reprehensible 2002 Attack Ad Against Max Clelland

In the Thanksgiving ad above, Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia states that he's "praying for...our troops who can't be with their own families." Praying for the troops is fine, but I'm chagrined to hear such sentiments from Chambliss, involved in a senate runoff vote on December 2 against Democrat Jim Martin. 

Chambliss ran a shameful ad in 2002 that displayed photos of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Max Clelland, Chambliss's opponent, who supposedly didn't "have the courage to lead" because he disagreed with Bush's Homeland Security policies. Clelland, however, had the courage to put himself in harm's way in Vietnam and become a triple amputee, losing both legs and an arm.

After Chambliss won the senate seat, John McCain said, "I'd never seen anything like that ad. Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to the picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield–it's worse than disgraceful. It's reprehensible."

McCain, though, seems to have made peace with the reprehensible. He's campaigning for Chambliss. As for Chambliss, he's reprehensibly unrepentant. Speaking to Andrea Mitchell, he defends his slimy attack ad as "truthful in every way":

Chambliss, in  addition, won't match his prayers for our troops with actual support for them. Here's a message from Vet Voice, "the online voice of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans":

Chambliss has similar habits to McCain, claiming to support the military while his votes show different. Like McCain, Chambliss voted against troops having more time at home between tours. Like McCain, Chambliss voted many times against increasing health care funding for vets, including after the conditions at Walter Reed Hospital came out. Like McCain, Chambliss even voted against funds for armored vehicles, military equipment repair and for adequate body armor and bullet-proof vests for our troops in Iraq. Chambliss voted against the new Webb-Hagel GI Bill (which McCain only supported after it was obviously going to pass). So it shouldn't be surprising Chambliss is getting McCain's support now in a run-off.

Chambliss never had to worry personally about veterans' benefits; he received five student deferments, in contrast to Vietnam veteran Jim Martin. On his Web site, Martin has also pointed out Chambliss's terrible record on veterans' issues. Considering Chambliss's treatment of with Max Clelland in particular and veterans in general, he doesn't deserve a prayer of a chance toward victory. To contribute to the Jim Martin campaign, click here.

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