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Troops and veterans left on the sideline again in second presidential debate

U.S. President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney prior to their second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012.

WASHINGTON -- After two presidential debates, here’s a quick scorecard:

  • Number of times the candidates said “Afghanistan” – 2
  • Number of times the candidates said “veterans” – 2 
  • Number of times the candidates said “soldiers” – 2 
  • Number of times the candidates said “jobs” – 106 
  • Number of times the candidates said “Big Bird” – 2

Unlike last week’s vice presidential debate, where foreign policy and national security were major topics of discussion, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney focused almost exclusively on domestic policy issues in their second debate and have barely mentioned issues surrounding servicemembers and veterans in either of their two debates.

On Tuesday, the men sparred over the administration’s handling of the murder of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya, but not until a full hour’s discussion on job creation and the economy. Topics like the war in Afghanistan, defense spending, veterans benefits and homeland security were skipped altogether.

As the debate unfolded, staffers at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America invited their followers on social media to send in the military-themed questions they’d like to see answered. Twitter user @ArtDAV responded: “Why has the ‘next greatest generation’ become the ‘forgotten generation’ during this entire campaign?”

Monday’s presidential debate, the last before the election, is supposed to focus on foreign policy. Veterans groups said they’re anxious to hear both men highlight their plans for troops overseas and those who have recently returned from combat.

For more on the candidate’s positions on military issues, visit the Stars and Stripes election page.
 

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