VoteVets.org's Brandon Friedman joined MSNBC's Keith Olbermann to discuss the reactions of U.S. troops and veterans to John McCain’s "not too important" remark.


Partial transcript

OLBERMANN: How do veteran's families feel that he does not think it is too important when they come home.

FRIEDMAN: This is a moreral crusher. If you can imagine, say a sergeant on his third tour and in the 14th month of the tour and he hears the potential president saying something like this, it kills morale. The troops are over there and, I've been there and I've had to deal with this. But the troops over there hang on every word they hear from a leader, especially the Commander in Chief or someone that could be the Commander in Chief. When they hear something like this it really kills them on the inside because their families want them home. They want to come home or focus on the real global war on terror elsewhere. This is really killer when you hear something like this.

OLBERMANN: When I hear from servicemen or talk to vets, more than anything is their astonishment that the brass don't get it. Of all people, these are the ones they thought would understand risk and sacrifice. Does it matter more they are abandoned by a John McCain who did serve as opposed to a George Bush who did not?

FRIEDMAN: Absolutely, Keith. We have come to not expect a lot from George W. Bush. When you have a veteran like John McCain who has gone through so much in vietnam, you expect more out of him. The way you see it as a soldier or Marine or airman is that John McCain should know better. He's been in our shoes, had it worst than most of us. He should know better. And for those of us who have been there and lived through this, we just would expect a lot more and it really saddens us to see this happen because there are thousands and thousands of veterans that disagree with him on this.

This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast June 11, 2008.


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