Obama campaign reaching out to veterans
While President Obama may have won the election in 2008 thanks in part to his popularity among younger voters, this time, it seems he's going after a group that traditionally leans to the right. Erin Billups explains how the president's re-election campaign is reaching out to veterans.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Obama has come under fire for talking up his successes as Commander in Chief of the nation's armed forces.
"I said it was time to go after Bin Laden and Al Qaeda and we did," Obama said.
A group of veterans is launching an ad campaign this week, accusing the administration of leaking classified information.
Whether the motivations behind the alleged leaks and the push to end the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars were politically motivated as some claim, the President is trying to make veterans a priority.
Obama said, "Nobody who's fought for this country should have to fight for a job or a roof over their heads when they come home."
"We have put in so many new programs that will help this newest generation of veterans either not get into homelessness or if perhaps they do to get out of it as quickly as possible," said Dr. Susan Angell, VA Homeless Veterans Executive Director.
Dr. Angell says she’s seen a nearly 200 percent increase in calls to her agency’s hotline and outreach center. Most recently, the department divvied out $100 million in grants to organizations across the country to help service members transition into the civilian workforce.
Angell said, "They know what the issues are, they know their community. So it's just another set of open doors for our veterans."
New York State received $8 million of those grant dollars.
The VA pledged to end homelessness among veterans by 2015 and even groups, like the American Legion, unaffiliated with the Obama Administration, say it's well on its way to achieving that goal.
"The momentum that we have now with this issue seems unprecedented. It's unprecedented funding," said Mark Walker.
Some though may look at the focus on veterans and families throughout the administration as a way for the President to cater to a base that traditionally votes conservatively. Walker brushed aside talk of politics.
"Hopefully whatever happens in November that veterans will be at the forefront of any President, any administration because we've done the work. We've been vetted. We've served our country," Walker said.