In Fact, He Criticized the Bill As 'Too Generous' To Troops - And Did Not Even Show Up for the Vote...
By Jon Ponder on 8/20/2008, 5:50am PT  


Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review.

Events in the campaign this week offer a case study in how Fox "News" assists the right wing --- in this case, the McCain campaign --- to disseminate disinformation:

Monday: Speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, John McCain falsely claimed credit for supporting the 21st Century GI Bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.):

As a political proposition, it would have much easier for me to have just signed on to what I considered flawed legislation. But the people of Arizona, and of all America, expect more from their representatives than that, and instead I sought a better bill. I'm proud to say that the result is a law that better serves our military, better serves military families, and better serves the interests of our country.

In reality, the bill McCain "sought" was not Webb-Hagel, which he opposed because its tuition benefits were "too generous" to the troops. The version he sought was a different bill that he co-sponsored, and which "in no way resembles" the bill which was ultimately passed, as noted by ThinkProgress...

The GI Bill as approved in no way resembles McCain’s so-called proportional proposal. The GI Bill provides 100 percent tuition payments to those who have served 36 months in active duty, and gives 80 percent to those who have served 24 months. By contrast, under McCain’s proposal, a soldier would have had to serve four times as long — 12 years in active duty – to be eligible for the most generous benefits.

If McCain's version had passed, service members would have to wait to start college until they were 30 years old or older.

In the end, McCain did not even bother to show up on June 26 to vote on the bill, which passed the Senate 92 to six. All six senators who voted against it were Republicans. (The only other senator who did not vote was Ted Kennedy, who had recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor.)

But McCain may have been prevaricating to the wrong crowd. Turns out VFW leaders supported the Webb-Hagel bill:

VFW’s deputy director for legislative affairs Eric Hilleman: The Graham-Burr-McCain plan is “very partisan and is seen as a way to convolute the GI bill, or to slow the Webb-Hagel proposal down.”

VFW National Commander George Lisicki: “People are leaving after their first enlistment because they are tired of being shot at, and their families are tired of the frequent deployments … Whether they stay in four years or 20, we owe this newest, greatest generation the gift of education.”

Tuesday: Fox "News" runs with the story that McCain supported Webb-Hagel:

Either Fox did not bother to fact-check, or they were deliberately lying on McCain's behalf.