VoteVets, a group of veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, plans to broadcast a cable television advertisement attacking Senator John McCain, the only veteran in the presidential race.
The ad features a young mother and Iraqi vet, who challenges Mr. McCain’s statements that it would be fine with him if the United States spent the next thousand years in Iraq.
Holding up her infant son, the vet, Rose Forrest, said, “This is my little boy. He was born after I came back from Iraq. What commitment are you making to him? How about a thousand years of affordable health care? Or a thousand years of keeping America safe? Can we afford that for my child, Senator McCain?”
The group’s Web site is also sharply critical of Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona: “Senator John McCain presents himself as a maverick and a critic of the Iraq war,’’ it states, “but a close read of his record indicates that his position on the Iraq war has consistently matched President George W. Bush’s.”
In response to the new advertisement, the McCain campaign issued this statement that referred to the candidates for the Democratic nomination, Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York: “Senator Obama and Senator Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal -– that means chaos, genocide and an opportunity for al Qaeda to tell the world that they defeated the United States of America. As Senator McCain has said on a number of occasions, it isn’t troop presence that the American people object to -– it’s the loss of American lives.”
Mr. McCain has repeatedly defended remarks he made in New Hampshire and elsewhere that it wouldn’t bother him if the United States maintained a troop presence in Iraq and the region for a hundred or a thousand or more years. He likened keeping troops there eventually to the situations in Korea and Bosnia.
The ad buy for VoteVets initially will be aimed only at “opinion-makers and power-brokers” in the Washington, D.C. area, said a spokesman for the group, which would not disclose how much it planned to spend on the ad.
“Senator McCain needs to give us some straight talk about how much endless war in Iraq is going to cost,” said Jon Soltz, an Iraqi vet and chairman of the group. “We don’t have an endless pot of money or an endless supply of troops and equipment.”
VoteVets. Org is a nonprofit and also has a political action committee that raised $242,000 in 2007. Members of its board of advisers include retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the former NATO supreme commander and presidential candidate, Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam vet who is president of the New School in New York. Both Mr. Clark and Mr. Kerrey have endorsed Mrs. Clinton.