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Sen. McCain Joins Fight To Unseat Democrat Edwards

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Sen. John McCain is appearing in a new ad, "Texans Deserve Better," for Republican Bill Flores. See the ad below:

After more than a week of ads hammering him on a plan to "privatize the VA" from Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco, Flores decided to bring out the big guns in the form of his party's previous nominee for president with less than 30 days to go before election day.

"Campaigns can get rough," the McCain starts out, "nobody knows that better than I do."

"But the facts are still what counts. Here's the fact about Bill Flores: He's a patriotic American who's proven he's devoted to taking care of our Veterans. And Bill's ideas to improve Veterans' health care are exactly the same as mine."

Paul Rieckhoff, Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, spoke to Think Progress about his views on McCain's relationship with the VA in 2008:

"We've got to come up with a comprehensive solution to VA health care, and that starts with VA funding. Sen. McCain has consistently voted against expansion of VA funding. So if he says the VA's not working, it's in part because he hasn't funded it properly."

Communications director for the Edwards campaign Megan Jacobs had this from the congressman when reached for comment:

"I deeply respect Senator McCain, but on the issue of privatizing VA health care, Bill Flores is on the wrong side of veterans in our district and on the wrong side of America's largest, most respected veterans' organizations such as the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Disabled American Veterans.

"I would challenge Bill Flores to name just one major national veterans' organization that supports his ill-advised plan to both privatize VA health care and to tell combat wounded veterans they should leave VA health care and go to Department of Defense hospitals."

Regardless of the policy differences, this may be smart politics for Flores, as McCain carried Texas' 17th Congressional District in 2008.