From the Daily Herald’s Animal Farm:
Democratic congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth gave both legs in sacrifice to her country, but that apparently wasnâ€™t enough for the Veterans of Foreign Wars to endorse her.
Instead, the national VFW relied on the word of former Republican state Sen. Ray Soden of DuPage County to back Republican Peter Roskam in the down-to-the-wire 6th Congressional District.
Roskam tried to bill the endorsement as a major boost to his campaign in the final days, but found himself admitting he sat on the endorsement until the end for maximum attention. The VFW representative was unable to give much of a reason for the endorsement or explain how it happened, and Roskam looked stunned at the harsh questioning from reporters.
Duckworth is having a press conference soon. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, this press release was issued a while ago by VoteVets.org.
Veterans of the war in Iraq, General Wesley Clark (ret.), and former Senator Bob Kerrey today reiterated their support for Tammy Duckworthâ€™s run for Congress, citing her strong support for troops and veterans, and Peter Roskamâ€™s flimsy record.
â€œLet there be no question who supports the troops and veterans. It isnâ€™t even close. Tammy Duckworth, literally, left part of her body on the battlefield, and uniquely understands the challenges that troops and veterans face, and is committed to helping them,â€ said Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz, who is cofounder of VoteVets.org. â€œHer positions are the same as every major veteransâ€™ group, and Peter Roskamâ€™s are against them in every way.â€
â€œTammy Duckworthâ€™s commitment to Americaâ€™s troops and veterans is second-to-none,â€ said General Clark. â€œFrom asking the tough questions on the war in Iraq and demanding a victory strategy to support for veterans care and services, she stands above the rest when it comes to supporting those who have fought for this country.â€
â€œI know something about sacrificing your body for America, and coming home to fight for those you fought alongside. It takes great commitment, a strong character, and a deep understanding of what troops and veterans go through every day, at war and at home,â€ said Senator Kerrey. â€œTammy Duckworth has it; Peter Roskam does not.â€
*** UPDATE *** AP:
The endorsement also caught Duckworth by surprise. Flanked by more than 20 veterans at a hastily called press conference, Duckworth said she was never contacted by the organization or asked to fill out a questionnaire, which typically happens when organizations decide who they want to endorse.
“I think it’s unfortunate they did this,” said Duckworth, a former Army Black Hawk helicopter pilot who lost both legs when her aircraft was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
Members of VFW posts within the district said at Duckworth’s news conference that their posts were never contacted by anyone about endorsing either candidate.
“He didn’t ask our post,” said Bill Bahr, a Vietnam-era veteran and quartermaster at a post in Bloomingdale.
Roskam said the endorsement came at the urging of area VFW members, but he said he did not know who in the group endorsed him or how many local veterans were involved.
Something doesn’t look right with this.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Curiouser and curiouser.
Roskam said the national endorsement was based on the recommendation by a few 6th District VFW leaders. The only one he named was Soden, a former head of the Illinois VFW who was appointed to fill out former Republican Senate President James â€œPateâ€ Philipâ€™s term in 2003.
Buttice said Soden sits on the national VFWâ€™s political action committee board but had surgery Friday and was unavailable.
Bill Bahr, No. 2 in leadership at the Bloomingdale VFW post who backs Duckworth, said neither he nor his postâ€™s leader were â€œapproached in any wayâ€ about an endorsement in the race.
Roskam often tried to answer questions directed at Buttice and several times declined to say when he found out about the endorsement before finally saying â€œthis week.â€
*** UPDATE 3 *** How worried are the 6th District Republicans worried about GOP turnout? This way over the top mailer should give you an idea.
*** UPDATE 4 *** From the Roskam campaign:
There is a lot of misinformation out there on the endorsement. here are the facts.
1. The Roskam campaign did not “sit” on the endorsement for political purposes.The campaign was notified on November 1, 2006 that we received the endorsement of the VFW PAC.
2. The Duckworth campaign DID NOT contact the VFW or seek their endorsement.
3. Local veterans contacted the VFW state and federal PAC urging the VFW PAC to endorse Peter Roskam. This was not soley engineered by Ray Soden. Mr. Soden was supposed to present the endorsement (as a former National Commander of the VFW), but he had an illness. Many veterans contacted the VFW to secure the endorsement and Mr. Roskam met with the State Commander.