A man visits the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., on May 28. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.
On this Memorial Day, the presidential campaign is taking a bit of a pause as both men on the ballot honor the sacrifices made by the nation’s men and women in uniform.
President Obama offered a message to veterans across the country Monday by noting the day “holds special significance because it marks the beginning of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.”
“After Vietnam, our veterans didn’t always receive the respect and thanks they deserved. At times they were neglected and even shunned, which was a national shame. We’ve pledged many times since Vietnam that we would never let that happen again, and that we would give our veterans, especially our Vietnam Veterans, the respect and honor they deserve. This 50th anniversary is our opportunity to do it right,” Mr. Obama wrote in an op-ed for Stars and Stripes.
The president wrote that “[o]nly about 1 percent of Americans may wear the uniform, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting those who do.”
His presidential rival Mitt Romney, who will spend the holiday with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., offered praise for the military in a statement.
“[T]oday’s holiday is all about: sacrifice, valor, honor, courage, and love of country,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “A lot of young Americans are risking their lives in distant battlefields today. Memorial Day is a day to give thanks to them, and to remember all of America’s soldiers who have laid down their lives to defend our country.”
Romney’s campaign also released a web video with an upbeat message in honor of Memorial Day.
Watch it here or below.
The Washington Post over the weekend looked at what it means when neither man on the ballot has served in combat. And a Gallup poll out Monday found Romney leading the president among veteran voters, 58 percent to 34 percent.
FUN WITH THE ELECTORAL MAP
On the NewsHour Monday night, we will talk about the presidential battleground states with Stu Rothenberg.
We’ll be showcasing the Electoral College calculator in the Vote 2012 Map Center. You can play along here or below.
On a related note, the NewsHour’s Listen to Me election-year project is amping up, and you can see examples filmed by reporter-producer Katelyn Polantz in her post about voices from Virginia.
BROOKS AND MARCUS
On the NewsHour Friday, political analysts David Brooks and Ruth Marcus talked about the Congressional Budget Office warning about the economy.
The CBO predicted “chaos, decline, apocalypse,” Brooks said, but not until December.
“It will be after the election. And all these things come due, tax cuts, spending,” he said. “All these automatic things start happening. And we hand this incredibly knotty problem on to a Congress which is unable to do the easy problems.”
Marcus pointed out that the CBO used “the R-word, which is very, very scary, recession.” If the warnings prove correct, the nation would be in a recession by January.
“Which got everybody’s attention, but in some ways, that wasn’t really the message that CBO wanted to send, because, yes, that would be a very bad outcome,” she said. “But the second thing they said is that the alternative, if you filled that entire fiscal cliff and cushioned it, and you just dug the debt deeper, the debt hole that much deeper, that would also be a terrible outcome, just later.”
The point, Marcus suggested, is that CBO was trying to get Congress to act now instead of when it’s too late.
They also talked about the ongoing kerfuffle over Bain, with Brooks saying the debate “hurts both candidates.”
“I do think hurts Obama, because it makes him look like a very conventional politician. I don’t think, if you are a liberal Democrat, you want to be seen attacking business. People may not love business. They like it a lot better than government. And they don’t want to see an anti-business Democrat,” he said.
Watch the segment here or below.
Mark Shields, and the Doubleheader, will return Friday.
2012 LINE ITEMS
- The NewsHour explored why gas prices actually came down a bit heading into the Memorial Day holiday.
- The New York Times’ Michael Barbaro profiles Virginian Jim Wilson, who for the past year “has devoted himself with the single-mindedness of a college-age groupie to following Mr. Romney around the country in decidedly conspicuous style: driving a pickup truck festooned with 27 giant Romney for President posters.” The man has logged about 40,000 miles, visited 15 states and attended 150 campaign events on Romney’s behalf since last summer.
- The Democratic National Convention has an official stock car.
- The Los Angeles Times talks with neighbors living near the Romney estate in La Jolla, Calif.
- The Romney campaign’s “Week in Review” by Gail Gitcho concludes the Obama campaign had a rough week.
- Gwen Ifill looks at the ground Republicans need to make up with Hispanic voters.
- Politico’s Anna Palmer on the influence industry’s plans for the conventions.
- The AP reports the presidential contest will be the most expensive ever — by a lot.
- The Los Angeles Times writes that Newport Beach “spent $35,043.04 on police officers when President Obama stopped in Corona del Mar in February for a campaign breakfast, and revenue officials have sent his campaign an invoice to recoup the costs.”
- The New York Times’ Trip Gabriel looks at Ann Romney’s involvement with the world of dressage.
- Donald Trump refuses to let go of the “birther” issue.
- Romney met privately with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., last week on Capitol Hill. Their sit-down focused on policy and not pleasantries, reports the National Review Online’s Robert Costa.
45% Have Close Friend or Relative Who Died Serving Country… tinyurl.com/6mbxw3c
— Scott Rasmussen (@RasmussenPoll) May 27, 2012
Nice sunny moment at Edwards trial: immigrants just sworn in as US citizens are getting applause from assembled news crews outsde courthouse
— Josh Gerstein (@joshgerstein) May 25, 2012
This photo makes us smile (vintage edition): twitter.com/MichelleObama/…
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) May 25, 2012
— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) May 25, 2012
— Joshua Barajas (@Josh_Barrage) May 25, 2012
OUTSIDE THE LINES
- Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed a measure that bans “sharia law.” A national Muslim group’s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely, the AP reports.
- One time presidential candidate and Michigan GOP Rep. Thad McCotter may not qualify for his August primary ballot. The Secretary of State is reviewing the 2,000 signatures his campaign submitted for possible fraud, the Detroit News reports.
- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Craig Gilbert traces the dividing lines over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
- And the Journal Sentinel’s Patrick Marley reports that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is unlikely to erase Walker’s fundraising advantage in the June 5 recall election.
- Terence Flynn, a Republican member of the National Labor Relations Board, resigned over the weekend amid an ethics probe.
- The jurors considering John Edwards’ fate have been doing some unusual things.
- A Senate ethics panel gave Republican Sen. Tom Coburn a slap on the wrist for “improper conduct” with the former aide to ex-Sen. John Ensign at the heart of the scandal that prompted Ensign to leave office. But the contact had nothing to do with that affair.
- The Tea Party Express is amping up its efforts for Ted Cruz ahead of Texas’ Republican Senate primary Tuesday. In an email criticizing supporters of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the group touted Cruz’s endorsements from Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Sen. Rand Paul. “We are hoping that the Tea Party will step up to defend conservative Ted Cruz. If we do, he will have a much greater chance of getting in the runoff and defeating establishment moderate David Dewhurst,” the group wrote.
- The Washington Post’s Paul Kane looks at Texas redistricting.
- Ex-Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, serving in jail on a bribery conviction, has asked to have his gun rights restored when he finishes his sentence, Ryan J. Reilly of Talking Points Memo reports.
- The NewsHour’s Ray Suarez reported on how the disappearance of Etan Patz changed the way we search for missing children.
Terence Burlij, Katelyn Polantz and Alex Bruns contributed.
ON THE TRAIL
All events are listed in Eastern Time.
- President Obama will host a breakfast for military families at the White House at 9:15 a.m. At 11 a.m. he will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery and give remarks at 11:20 a.m. At 1:50 p.m. he will speak at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
- Vice President Biden will accompany the president to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
- Mitt Romney attends a Memorial Day tribute with Sen. John McCain at the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center in San Diego at 1 p.m.
All future events can be found on our Political Calendar:
For more political coverage, visit our politics page.
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Questions or comments? Email Christina Bellantoni at cbellantoni-at-newshour-dot-org.