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McCain draws tepid support from vets

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Likely Republican U.S. presidential nominee John McCain's poor record on veterans affairs earned him a tepid response in Las Vegas, advocates say.

Speaking before the Disabled American Veterans convention in Las Vegas Saturday, response the U.S. senator from Arizona was muted, partially because he had earned low marks from the group by opposing four bills that would have boosted spending on veterans, The Los Angeles Times reported.

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Noting the group had rated his likely Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., at 80 percent, David Autry, spokesman for the congressionally chartered nonprofit veterans' group, said McCain scored only 20 percent by supporting only one of five veterans' spending bills in the last Congress.

McCain said he opposed measures to increase funding for veterans' health benefits and eliminating enrollment fees and higher pharmacy co-payments because the bills were laden with unrelated "pork barrel" spending, the Times reported.

Only one of 14 veterans interviewed by the Las Vegas Sun after the appearance said they were voting for McCain. Some said they objected to McCain using the occasion to launch a harsh attack on Obama's Iraq troop withdrawal proposals.

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