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January 16, 2004


Cheney Fuck You. Nowhere in this article or in his speech to veterans in Arizona did it or he address the royal dick-pummeling this administration is giving not just veterans but soldiers still fighting in Iraq.

- Reducing combat pay just before Christmas
- Reducing medical benefits for veterans
- Saying one thing and then doing another in keeping not just full-time soldiers in Iraq "forever" but National Guard and other reservists. No, they didn't sign up for this. If no one was in Iraq, America would not be under attack. The country is not in danger from Iraqi's
By ANABELLE GARAY | Associated Press Writer

MESA — Vice President Dick Cheney’s visit with Arizona veterans Thursday could help Republicans stay in the spotlight just weeks before the state’s Democratic primary, a political observer said.
Cheney praised veterans and the military during a speech at the Falcon Field Airport’s Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa on Thursday afternoon.

“Whenever and where your service took place, you earned the nation’s respect from the first day you put on the uniform,” Cheney told about 500 veterans at the event.
[ed. Don't veterans get tired of hearing these cliched bromides?]

By focusing on veterans during his official visit, Cheney could aid President Bush’s re-election bid, said Fred Solop, a political science professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

“Generally, the Republicans clearly see Arizona in play in the presidential election,” Solop said. “Arizona is taking a lead role and Republicans want to keep a foothold in the state.”

Arizona is among a handful of states that will vote just after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary. Gov. Janet Napolitano moved up Arizona’s Democratic primary to Feb. 3, also making it one of the first western states to vote in the race.

Arizona’s appeal to retirees and its many military installations have made the state home to a large number of veterans. More than 536,000 veterans live in Arizona, according to the 2000 census.

“They’re involved politically and they vote,” he said. “It’s a very important constituency in Arizona.”

During his speech, Cheney said the country started the year safer because the military was pursuing terrorism throughout the world.

“We’re waging this war in the only way it can be won, by taking it directly to the enemy,” he said.

Although polls have shown that Bush could beat any of the Democratic presidential hopefuls in Arizona, retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark has been gaining on former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, and Clark appeals to veterans, Solop said.

“The Republicans aren’t sitting on their laurels. They want to remain vigilant,” he said.

Many people question how the Bush administration has handled the war with Iraq, said Paul Hegarty, executive director at the Arizona Democratic Party.

“Deep down, it’s not the solid base that it used to be,” Hegarty said of veterans. “Nothing can be taken for granted in the Republican Party in the state of Arizona any more.”

Some veterans who heard Cheney’s speech said they wanted to hear the vice president to help them decide who to vote for in the presidential election.

Pearl Harbor survivor Leonard O’Brien of Glendale said he’s undecided about who he’ll cast a ballot for, but he likes Clark’s platform.

“He talks straight from the shoulder,” O’Brien said. “And I have to expect that’s how it’s going to be.”

His fellow Pearl Harbor survivor Milton Kraut of Sun City favors Bush and liked Cheney’s remarks about taking a direct approach in fighting terrorism.

“An enemy is an enemy,” Kraut said.

Cheney’s trip also signals that Republicans want to remind Arizona voters they are responding to the issues that affect the state, such as forest health, immigration and Medicare, Solop said.

“The administration clearly is in campaign mode,” he said. “Anything they do from now on is going to be viewed through the lens of running a campaign.”