From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger and Carrie Dann
BETHLEHEM, Penn. – Cindy McCain and Sarah Palin went after Barack Obama's lack of military service Wednesday, with both women making personal appeals as mothers of sons serving overseas.
"The day that Sen. Obama decided to cast a vote to not fund my son when he was serving sent a cold chill through my body," Cindy McCain said at a joint McCain-Palin rally at Lehigh University. "I would suggest that Sen. Obama change shoes with me for just one day. And see what it means, and see what it means to have a loved one serving in the Armed Forces, and more importantly serving in harm's way."
Both McCain and Obama have opposed Senate measures with troop funding attached. Obama voted against a troop-funding bill in May 2007 because it did not contain language calling for a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. McCain opposed, but did not vote, on a troop-funding measure earlier that year that did call for a withdrawal timeline, a position with which he vigorously disagrees.
Palin later suggested Obama did not understand the cost of war.
"Last night, in the debate, we heard again Barack Obama lecturing John McCain on the stakes involved whenever America goes to war," the Republican vice presidential candidate said. "But wait a minute, may I remind Sen. Obama that Sen. McCain served our nation in uniform for 22 years."
She said McCain understood the cost of war and noted her own son serving overseas in an oft-repeated line.
"God bless him, he spent five and a half years as a POW, and he knows the cost of war because he paid those costs himself," she said of McCain. "And as a mother of one of those troops, yup, that's exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief."
In her introduction of McCain, Palin also went after Obama and Biden for changing their positions on offshore oil drilling at Tuesday night's debate.
"What that told me is that he's not willing to drill for energy, but he's sure willing to drill for votes," she said of Obama.
She also said Obama's main strategy was linking McCain to President Bush.
"So last night, Senator McCain talked about real and pragmatic solutions. Barack Obama talked about why he'd rather run against George Bush," she said. "That strategy is starting to wear pretty darn thin."
*** UPDATE *** Per an amended entry from Factcheck.org: On April 26, 2007, McCain did, in fact, not vote on the final version of a troop-funding bill after it emerged from a House-Senate conference committee. But he DID vote "nay" on an earlier version of the bill when it first moved through the Senate, before the final version was agreed to by a House and Senate compromise.