Vets group plans McCain ad

July 5, 2008 5:49:10 PM PDT
Republican John McCain, who has made support for President Bush's troop buildup in Iraq the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, is getting from help from a veterans group that's launching a national TV ad campaign next week. Vets for Freedom is spending $1.5 million on ads that will run on national cable television and in five states in July - the first set of ads in a multimillion dollar campaign in coming months touting the troop buildup, Pete Hegseth, the 25,000-member group's chairman, said in a telephone interview Saturday. Aimed at "informing the American people about the truth regarding progress in Iraq and Afghanistan," the issue ads will feature veterans of the war describing the accomplishments they've seen since the buildup began in early 2007.

"We need to finish the job no matter who is president," the ads say, according to Hegseth. The five states being initially targeted are Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio and Virginia.

Vets for Freedom also said it would send its members to about a dozen swing states as part of a four-month education campaign that will "call for victory in Iraq and Afghanistan." The group planned to formally launch their campaign and unveil the first ads at a news conference on Wednesday.

In late May, Vets for Freedom released ads praising some of the troop buildup's successes and criticizing expected Democratic nominee Barack Obama for not visiting Iraq since 2006. After McCain echoed the criticism, Obama soon after said he would visit Iraq later this summer.

In the last week, Obama has said that "I'll ... continue to refine my policy" on Iraq after his visit there, drawing a flurry of commentary whether he might be softening his position on a troop pullout. Later Thursday, Obama said any refinement of his position on Iraq wouldn't be related to his promise to remove combat forces within 16 months of taking office, but rather to the number of troops needed to train Iraqis and fight al-Qaida.

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On the Net:

Vets for Freedom:

http://www.vetsforfreedom.org/

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