President Barack Obama on Monday used a speech in Reno, Nevada to a
major organization of American military veterans to underscore his
record on ending the war in Iraq and winding down U.S. combat operations
The president is seeking the support of veterans as he runs for
reelection in November. He says he wants them to remember the pledge he
kept to honorably end America's combat role in Iraq, and gradually end
U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan.
Obama says he hopes the steps he has taken to help veterans find jobs in
a tough economy and assistance to military families will boost his
approval rating, particularly among younger veterans.
Addressing the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or VFW, a 2.1 million member
organization, Obama cited all of this, along with U.S. successes against
the al-Qaida terror network. The United States is stronger and more
respected, he said, because of his leadership.
"As you reflect on recent years, as we look ahead to the challenges we
face as a nation and the leadership that is required, you don't just
have my words, you have my deeds. You have my track record. You have the
promises I have made and the promises that I have kept," Obama said.
Obama also used the speech to underscore actions his administration has
taken to ensure that veterans receive better medical care, including
rehabilitation services for those who have suffered life-altering
The Pentagon says 4,487 Americans were killed and 32,226 others were
wounded during the Iraq War. Private groups say the number of injured is
in the hundreds of thousands when traumatic brain injuries,
post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions are taken into
The Obama campaign released a new video on Monday, featuring Iraq and
Vietnam veterans praising the president's policies.
"We need a president to bring service members home and help our country
get back to where it needs to be. I think the person who can do that is
President Obama," said veteran Hattie Daily, who served in Iraq, in the
But public opinion surveys of U.S. veterans show Obama trailing his
likely Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.
A Rasmussen poll released on Sunday has Romney leading the president 59
to 35 percent among likely voters who have served in the military, a
result similar to a Gallup survey three months ago.
he addresses the VFW on Tuesday, Romney is expected to renew his
criticism of the Obama administration's foreign policy, including on
Iraq and Afghanistan, saying the president is weakening the military.
President Obama addressed the issue on Monday ahead of Romney's
"We will maintain our military superiority. It will be second to none as
long as I am president, and well into the future. We have got the best
trained, best-led, best-equipped military in history. And as commander
in chief, I am going to keep it that way," Obama said.
On large mandatory spending cuts -- including for the military -- that
could come at the end of the year, Obama urged Congress to agree on a
balanced way to reduce the federal deficit while keeping the armed
The president said that although there is more work to do, including
efforts to further reduce veteran unemployment, homelessness and
suicides, he has upheld a "sacred trust" with the nation's veterans,
saying "I've got your back."