NewsNation | May 29, 2012
>>> reaching out for the veteran vote in decision 2012 . earlier today mitt romney tried to connect with military members during an event in colorado. he told the crowd how 4 was touched by vets he met monday and how selflessly they gave themselves to their country.
>> i love the men and women of our armed forces and appreciate their sacrifice for this great nation. they give themselves something bigger than themselves, their country, their family.
>> during the commemorations yesterday, president obama had a special message to veterans especially those to the vietnam war from you kocame home and sometimes denny graded instead of selee greated. it was a national shame, a disgrace. that should have never happened. that's why here today we resolve that it will not happen again.
>> joining me is "the new york times" michael sheer who wrote about the military vote. nice to see you. as we show everybody the new gallup poll out yesterday 58% of vets support mitt romney , 34% obama . neither is military related, i mean in terms of being a veteran. how critical is the veterans' vote in securing that moving into 2012 ?
>> well, i think it's especially critical for obama because this is a president who has probably been more aggressive in his use of the military, you any the bin laden killing but also the use of drones, the pursuit of two wars, i mean so if there's ever a time that a democratic president should in theory be able to grab a bigger slice of those voters which have traditionally been republican voters, if you go back to past campaigns this that is moment. and yet that poll suggests he's got a lot of work to do.
>> president obama made a bold statement yesterday at arlington national cemetery about progress in iraq . take a listen to this.
>> for the first time in nine years, americans are not fighting and dying in iraq . we are winding down the war in afghanistan and our troops will continue to come home.
>> certainly that is a significant accomplishment, michael, on obama 's part, especially combined with the killing of osama bin laden . how can mitt romney compare to someone who has ended a war, has overseen the death of who would be the country's greatest enemy, that of bin laden ? is it like trying to compare apples and oranges ?
>> what mitt romney 's going to try to do is shift the conversation to other areas where he thinks he might be stronger. what you see mitt romney doing is, a, looking at benefits for veteran and ask whether veteran feel satisfied that the kind of things they're getting when they come home is what they need and of course a lot of veteran are dissatisfied, and then the other question is, one of sort of overall funding for the military. i mean you know mitt romney is really pushing hard on this idea that president obama wants to gut the military, wants to cut funding for all branches as part of the debt deal that he made last year, earlier this year. you'll have that conversation that mitt romney thinks that he can win and you know the question is whether those topics will be enough to kind of outweigh the accomplishments that the obama administration will claim.
>> as you talk about that yesterday mitt romney told the audience that he was speaking to that he wouldn't take the path to europe is taking and cut the size of our nation's military. take a listen to that.
>> the others to commit to preserve america as the strongest military in the world second to none with no comparable power anywhere in the world. we choose that course in america not so we win wars but so we can prevent wars.
>> talked about the defense cuts or the spending. this is a nation, we are a nation at war for over ten years now. how big of a platform do you think defense will be in the 2012 campaign and the conversations, the debates?
>> i mean looking i think it's part of it, i think that the -- it all fits in the broader conversation about the economy, the debt, the how much money that the government is spending. i think the obama campaign thinks that one of the things that gives them a stronger ground to stand on is this idea that people have sort of internalized the notion that the spending on wars in afghanistan and iraq over the last ten years has cost this country a lot sat home and kind of making it harder to grow out of the economic recession that we were in. so, i think the obama folks think they have that as an edge. mr. romney thinks that he can press the case that somehow president obama won't be as vigorous and enforcing kind of american interests abroad, and we'll see how that plays out over the course of the campaign.
>> forgetting the vet vote, is it all about their care what they need, going forward for their futures, betterment of their families the best jobs they can, the security that they find at home?
>> yeah. and i tell you that is a real key. and really focused on the men vets. there are female vets as well but the real struggle for obama is how to cut into mitt romney 's lead among men and here's a group if he can convince them that their economic fortunes are better off he might do well. you've seen mitt romney already talk about the economic problems for vets when they come back, having trouble finding a job, that's where he thinks he's going to go.
>> thank you. appreciate it.