It was only a matter of time.
Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and his campaign have been attacking Josh Mandel’s character for months now. One thing they had stayed away from, however, was his military service in the U.S. Marine Corps.
At a campaign event held at Ohio Democratic Party headquarters yesterday where reporters heard from “Veterans for Sherrod” co-chairman Retired Army Major General Dennis Laich, a reporter asked Laich about Mandel’s military service. Josh Mandel served two tours of duty in Iraq.
The Mandel campaign clearly is pushing his experience in the military as a Marine you know, as a major theme in their campaign and I’m sure, hoping to pull along that block of votes. I guess from your experience in the military – will that work?
Laich’s answer is incredible (emphasis mine):
It’s not a matter of it working or not. The fact of the matter is that Josh Mandel has served in the military – we applaud that. As a matter of fact, General Kindred and I would hope that thousands of other young Ohioans would choose to serve in the military.
But the fact of the matter is that the manning that we’re trying to do today is not in Iraq or Afghanistan is not at the tactical level. It is at the national strategic level it’s at the national security level where Senator Sherrod Brown is the veteran. Senator Sherrod Brown has the record of support for veterans and being on the right side of issues. The experience that Josh Mandel had in the military is at the tactical level. Decisions that are made by those hundred Americans who serve in the United States Senate is at the strategic level and the national security level. We applaud it, we recognize it and we wish that others would continue to serve or choose to serve.
But the fact of the matter is that these are two different sets of criterion that are at play here. And the experienced veteran in the wars on Capitol Hill is Sherrod Brown.
Ohio Capital Blog‘s Marc Kovac provides the video. Watch:
Unreal. The Brown campaign’s position seems to be “Yeah, Josh Mandel is a veteran but that doesn’t really count. Since Sherrod Brown is in the Senate, he is the real “experienced veteran” in this race.”
Sherrod Brown has never served in the U.S. Military in any fashion.
To the thousands of Ohioans who wear or have worn the uniform, this has to be an insulting slap in the face. They are saying that Josh’s service as an armed Marine patrolling the streets of Iraq is just “tactical”, that he was just a grunt and that experience isn’t good enough.
When you think of who is the “experienced veteran” is in this race, they want you to forget about the man who put his life on the line in a warzone and daily faced the dangers of being shot or killed by a roadside bomb. No, they want you to think of Sherrod Brown, because he’s a veteran of the “war on Capitol Hill”.
Harry Prestanski, Executive Director Ohio Veteran’s United, responded to Brown’s insulting dismissal of Mandel’s service:
The notion that Senator Brown has more experience in the military than Josh, a war veteran, or anyone who is still fighting overseas at a tactical level is wrong. Who is Sherrod Brown, who never wore the uniform, to attack Josh Mandel’s military service? Josh understands the greatest challenge facing America’s veterans is unemployment and will not allow anyone in Washington to stand in his way when it comes to helping them.
Sherrod Brown, who once compared Republican governors to Hitler and later denied it, has shown that he will say anything to stay in the Senate. He even stooped to talking about accents recently. But by attacking Mandel’s service and calling himself the “real veteran”, when he has never served in the military, Sherrod Brown has now set a new low for himself.