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“Un-American” Comment Garners Criticism And Support For Mandel
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Some Ohio veterans are speaking out against Republican U.S. Senate candidate and fellow veteran Josh Mandel for reportedly calling his opponentâ€™s vote for the auto bailout â€œun-American.â€
But some veterans backing Mandel are fighting back.
The Republican candidate and current state treasurer recently told editors and reporters for the Columbus Dispatch he doesnâ€™t toss the word un-American around often, but “stripping Delphi employees of their pensions with that vote: that is un-American.”
Mandel made the comment while talking about his opponent, Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brownâ€™s vote to bail out the auto industry, a move that Brown and others credit for saving 850,000 jobs in Ohio.
“Unâ€“American?I donâ€™t think so,” says retired Army Major General Dennis Laich. He says heâ€™s deeply offended by Mandelâ€™s comment.
I think it reflects badly on him, and frankly as a soldier and a fellow veteran, Iâ€™m embarrassed by his choice of words. I think it reflects immaturity and poor judgment on his part to use that term. Itâ€™s inflammatory.
Retired Army Brigadier General Sam Kindred is also upset about Mandelâ€™s use of the word â€œun-American.”
Kindred says when it comes to serving the military and veterans, Sherrod Brown has a perfect service record.
“You canâ€™t fight a war just at the tactical level. Youâ€™ve got to have someone to get the resources and thatâ€™s what he does and he does it very well. Perfectly.”
Mandelâ€™s campaign ads stress his military background. But Laich says Brown, who is not a veteran, has the right kind of experience for the job.
“The manning that we are trying to do today is not in Iraq or Afghanistan at the tactical level. Itâ€™s at the national strategic level- the national security level where Senator Sherrod Brown is the veteran.”
Retired Marine Colonel Harry Prestanski disagrees. He say Mandel understands the number one need of veterans right nowâ€¦..the need for jobs.
“Because an enlisted man does not necessarily have all of the experience in Washington D.C., sometimes I think that experience in Washington D.C. blinds what is really needed and sometimes I think our generals are too close to those situations,” says Pretanski, a Mandel supporter.
Thatâ€™s what veterans today are facing today. And Josh Mandel understands that. He was discharged from the service and we also have a number of military people who are going to be discharged. Sequestration right now is going to be a major problem.
Bruce Gump, another Mandel supporter, leads a group of 5000 former non-union Delphi employees who he says found themselves on the losing end of the auto bailout.
“The UAW has their full pensions and almost all of their health care and some life insurance, the IOE and the steelworkers had their full pensions restored plus they had some health care and life insurance.”
But the salaried group was completely left out and kicked to the curb by the Obama administration.
Gump wants the non-union employees pensions to be restored and heâ€™s hoping, if Mandel is elected, he will support legislation to do that.
But backers of Brown say if Mandel is elected, he will strip money away from Medicare and many of the programs veterans rely on. Brown has also pushed for a federal inquiry into the possible loss of Delphi pensions.
The race between Mandel and Brown remains close: the last Quinnipiac University poll has Brown leading 46 percent to 41 percent.