McCain Cheapens the POW Card

Sets up dangerous land mines for campaign
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 24, 2008 8:20 AM CDT
In the Capitol Hill office of Sen. John McCain hangs a three-page telegram from 1968 that recounts McCain's refusal to accept early release from detention as a Vietnam prisoner of war.    (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – John McCain’s campaign refers to his prisoner-of-war past so much that it’s becoming a “punch line,” writes Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. “By flashing the POW card to rebut any criticism, no matter how unrelated,” McCain “is cheapening his greatest strength," she adds. His apparent obsession is also dangerous because it opens troubling questions about his attitudes toward military conflict.

When Barack Obama went after McCain for his property holdings, a rep reminded the public that McCain had “lived in one house for five and a half years—in prison.” If the line keeps getting used, Obama may question if McCain so failed to "absorb the lessons of Vietnam" that he'll alway seek to refight it—or if his imprisonment created “a search-and-destroy, shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality," Dowd notes.