Below is an e-mail that I received on Sunday, May 18, from Rear Admiral David Stone, who has been an active volunteer supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign among veterans groups.
Rear Admiral David Stone (Ret.) graduated from the US Naval Academy and served 32 years in the Navy uniform. His operational commands included Commander Nimitz Battlegroup, Commander NATO's Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, Commander US Middle East Force/CDS-50 and Commander USS John Hancock. Admiral Stone also served as the Assistant Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security for the Transportation Security Administration and was nominated by President Bush and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate for that position. He is currently President and CEO of the Alacrity Homeland Group. Admiral Stone is a supporter of Senator Clinton for president has been a part of a volunteer group of veterans who have visited with veterans in the various primary states, primarily in American Legion and VFW posts.
My support for Senator Clinton should be well known to readers of my Blog. Obviously one purpose of my posting Admiral Stone's email is to strengthen my argument that she is the stronger candidate against Senator McCain. Veterans are an important voter bloc in this country and Rear Admiral Stone's anecdotal evidence is that many veterans support Senator Clinton and recognize and appreciate her legislative record on their behalf as a member of the Armed Services Committee. Thus, I hope that Super Delegates and other un-pledged delegates will read and consider Admiral Stone's "Report from Veterans" email as an honest report.
However, if Senator Obama becomes the party's nominee, Rear Admiral Stone's email offers insight into the challenges he faces in defeating Senator McCain.
Here is Rear Admiral Stone's email, with only minor editing.
--- Lanny J. Davis
Mr. Davis is a long-time friend and supporter of Senator Clinton's and a fundraiser in her presidential campaign.
From Rear Admiral David Stone:
The Democratic Party has its work cut out for it with Vets if Hillary does not get the Democratic nomination .
After visiting American Legion Halls and VFW's across the country, it is very clear that there are two kinds of voters in these establishments. One group is passionate about HRC and the work she has done for Vets and her position against the War and the other group loves McCain and his record of service to country as a POW. From my experience in talking to Vets, Senator Clinton has a slight edge over McCain. (Approx 6 out of 10 support her) in the American Legion Halls and VFW establishments because of her position on ending the war which most Vets agree with her on, as opposed to McCain who is more aligned with the view of a prolonged presence in Iraq. [Emphasis added by L.Davis]
Of note, Senator Obama has zero -- repeat zero -- traction in the VFW and American Legion Halls. Veterans cite his refusal (until recently) to wear the American Flag pin, the photo where he is shown not saluting the Flag with his hand over his heart, . . . his alleged MoveOn.Org relationship and that organization's innuendo (in an ad) of General Petraeus as a traitor, his relationship with Rev. Wright (who once said "God Damn America" in a sermon), Mrs. Obama's comment about only recently being proud to be an American, and Senator Obama's recent comment that some people were "bitter" about their economic situation and thus "cling" to guns and religion as a result....
I could go on, but in summary, it is going to be a very steep climb for Senator Obama with this particular demographic.
For example, I was in an American Legion Hall in Kentucky and the experience provided a classic example of what I am talking about. While speaking to a veteran he told me that Hillary had his vote and he liked where she stood on the key issues. However, he added: "If Hillary doesn't win, don't come back and see me in the fall, because there is no way I will vote for Obama but instead will vote for McCain". The above feedback is reflective of the view of many veterans I have met who seek change from the course that the Bush Administration has us on currently on but are totally against Senator Obama.
This email is not meant as an "anti-Obama" email but is sent merely to give you a "reality pulse point" on what life is really like today on the ground in the VFW and American Legion Halls across many of the states I have visited. [L. Davis emphasis] The really bad news is that this is the actual pulse point "before" the actual campaign against the Republican Party starts and the deluge of negative campaign ads about Obama are launched if he is the Democratic nominee. The climate in these Vet establishments will only worsen and solidify once that campaign commences.
The good news for Obama supporters is that we are a large and diverse country with many different segments of voters of which the Veterans Groups is only one segment.
....I am very proud to be out campaigning for Hillary Clinton in Kentucky. So many people love her and admire what she stands for. They believe she will make a difference in their lives and so do I. As a woman in a Waffle House in Paducah, Kentucky told me this morning" please tell Hillary not to quit fighting - we need her now more than ever!"