Gaffetastic: Team Romney Reminds Media of Ryan's Lack of Military Experience

Aug 11 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Mitt Romney protesting the protesters of the Vietnam war, before he headed off to France to avoid the draft

Stephen C. Webster at Raw Story revealed yet another team Romney gaffe this morning. Webster noted that in a press release of talking points sent to reporters this morning after the Big Announcement, team Ryan Romney drew attention to Ryan’s lack of military service.

Webster wrote, “Of course, the statement (and misspelling of “than”) is not intended to be all-encompassing: that’s the Romney campaign’s response to the president’s theoretical, hasn’t-quite-happened-yet attack on Ryan’s lack of military service, which they just wanted to remind the media of for some reason.”

The talking point memo from the Romney camp via Raw Story:

4) Paul Ryan doesn’t have military experience. Does that hurt?
The ticket is no different that Obama and Biden. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan both respect members of our military who sacrifice so much to defend our freedoms.
They share the view that America’s leadership position in the world is based on a robust national defense, strengthened relationships with our allies and a philosophy of peace through strength.

While draft-dodger Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have no military experience, saying this makes them “no different that Obama and Biden” isn’t exactly accurate. After all, Joe Biden’s son, Beau Biden, is a major in the Delaware Army National Guard who served in Iraq. He returned home in 2009. in addition, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have been a huge, consistent presence for military families.

It’s probably best if Romney/Ryan leave military comparisons alone, with Beau Biden reminding veterans of Romney’s suggestion of making dramatic changes to veterans benefits. Beau Biden, the Democratic attorney general of Delaware, reminded The Daily Times Herald that Romney hinted at privatizing veterans benefits:

“He chose Veterans Day of last year to assemble a group of veterans to propose the voucher-izing of veterans benefits, which is a not-so-very euphemism for the privatizing of veterans benefits.”

Indeed, Romney did float ‘Private Sector Competition’ for Vets’ health care system at a campaign event in South Carolina last November:

“If you’re the government, they know there’s nowhere else you guys can go, you’re stuck,” Romney told a group of veterans at Mutt’s BBQ restaurant in Mauldin, S.C., according to ABC News. “Sometimes you wonder if there would be some way to introduce private sector competition, somebody else who could come in and say each solder has ‘X’ thousand dollars attributed to them and then they can choose where they want to go in the government system or the private system with the money that follows them. Like what happens with schools in Florida where people have a voucher that goes with him.”

Romney’s team later backtracked after Democrats called him out, saying that Romney hadn’t been laying out new policy in his speech. Spox Andrea Saul said, “Mitt Romney is only interested in providing veterans with the world-class care they deserve and reversing the defense cuts and failed policies of the Obama administration. He did not lay out any new policy proposals today.”

Well, that’s not surprising, since Romney generally refuses to nail down actual policy proposals that he can’t retroactively retire from tomorrow.

Just in case he didn’t get it, the Veterans of Foreign Wars doesn’t support privatization or vouchers. VTF spokesperson Jerry Newberry told ABC, “The VFW doesn’t support privatization of veterans health care. This is an issue that seems to come around every election cycle.”

Romney should probably just avoid foreign policy, Commander-in-Chief, and military service issues lest he remind voters of his days in France hiding from the draft, after protesting the protesters of the Vietnam war (see image above) or his recent foreign policy disaster tour. As for his attempt to paint Obama as weak as Commander-in-Chief, Osama bin Laden isn’t talking.

While one or two gaffes are to be expected, when a candidate gaffes as often and as consistently as Mitt Romney — and no, it’s not the just the “liberal media” taking note of Romney’s verbal and written stumbles (see how he offended conservative leaders in Britain who have no kind words for ‘Mitt the Twit’ after his recent visit) — as he is running for the highest office in the land, it matters. Yes, it matters that he, on a daily basis, says things he doesn’t mean, shouldn’t have said, and/or are utterly insulting to entire groups of people. It matters that Romney managed to unite Israeli and Palestinian leaders in calling his statements “racist”.

Team Romney writes that they will strengthen “relationships with our allies.” Yet, Romney’s gaffes have already alienated conservative leaders in Britain who should have been in his corner. He also alienated leaders in Australia after using them to score political points against President Obama. We could also call that move a gaffe, or we could call it a cynical misquoting of an ally.

This past week alone we had the Sikhs are Sheiks gaffe, and this morning the “here’s your next President Paul Ryan” gaffe, with teleprompter. The Romney team excuse the Sikhs Sheiks gaffe as it being late in the day. Perhaps mornings are also bad for Romney. Republicans expect Americans to lower the bar for Mitt Romney lest they seem like they’re picking on him — after all, no one picks on the President.

If conservatives can run Prompter-Gate for four years against President Obama for his ability to use one properly, they shouldn’t be surprised when their candidate (well, okay, the guy they’re stuck with) gets lambasted for failing while using one. But of course, that’s not really the issue. The issue is that Mitt Romney can’t seem to speak without making a critical mistake, and his campaign team is no better. The international fallout during Romney’s recent tour exemplifies the results of his gaffes, and only the most partisan hack would try to claim otherwise.

Romney/Ryan is quite different from Obama/Biden on military matters, both in experience and in action. Obama/Biden have personal experience and four years of active interest in the military and military families, including supportive policies to match the rhetoric. Obama/Biden fought for Veterans Jobs Bills, foreclosure help and protection for veterans, and college loans, while Michelle Obama and Jill Biden traveled to bases around the country for their joint initiative “Joining Forces.”

There’s a difference. You only need to watch Joe Biden addressing the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) National Military Survivor Seminar in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2012 to know that Joe gets it.

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