Last weekend, Gallup released poll data showing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney trouncing President Barack Obama in support among military veterans, 58 to 34 percent. This week, a campaign adviser said the nation’s greatest living war heroes are also overwhelmingly backing Romney.
Former Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi, who now co-chairs Romney’s Veterans Policy Advisory Group, told Human Events Wednesday that the campaign had received endorsements from over 50 Medal of Honor recipients. The medal is the nation’s highest military honor; there are now only 81 recipients of the award still living.
“These are obviously the bravest men who have ever served in uniform. We’re talking about corporals and privates who stormed the beaches of Normandy, and (fought in) Inchon, Korea, and Vietnam,” Principi said. “It’s very gratifying that they want Romney to be our commander-in-chief.”
Among endorsers the campaign has named are Lee Mize, retired Army colonel; Leo K. Thorsness, retired Air Force colonel; John F. Baker, retired Army master sergeant; and John James McGinty III, retired Marine Corps captain. All of those men served in Vietnam.
Even those who received their medals from Obama aren’t necessarily supporting him.
In December, three months after receiving his Medal of Honor at the White House, former Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer announced he’d be backing Rick Perry for president.
What makes Romney so attractive to those who have served?
Principi said they appreciate his business sense and belief in a strong national defense posture as a deterrent to war.
While Republican candidate Ron Paul, an isolationist with strong libertarian leanings, has led throughout the campaign in support from active-duty troops, Principi said he believes that military supporters of Paul have begun to back Romney as the election field narrows.
“I think to a degree some of those men and women who served in uniform supported Congressman Paul because they don’t want to see us go to war,” Principi said. “Maybe that’s one of the reasons that they supported him early on and have now come over to Romney.”
The Romney campaign plans to continue wooing American troops and veterans, promising to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs, launch new employment initiatives for those transitioning out of the military, and ensure that battle-wounded troops have access to top-of-the-line care.
“We’ll take this campaign to every VFW, every American Legion post in America,” Principi said. “At the end of the day, we’ll say we did our best.”