ROMNEY: 18 Veteran and Military Suicides a Day an “Unspeakable and Unacceptable Tragedy”

For the first time, Mitt Romney publicly mentioned the suicide epidemic among veterans and service members during a speech on veterans issues at the American Legion annual convention in Indiana Aug. 29, 2012. Romney accused President Obama of failing veterans by allowing the VA benefits backlog to double to more than 900K cases. “The problems with the VA are serious, and must be fixed. We are in danger of another generation of veterans losing their faith in VA system. On my watch, that will not be allowed to happen,” Romney said. (Reuters))

Romney Makes Big Promises to Veterans Community, Speaks Publicly About Ongoing Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans and Service Members for First Time

Republican Nominee Wastes No Time Blaming President For Problematic VA Programs, Landing First Blow in Candidates’ Battle for Veteran and Military Votes; Vows to End VA Benefits Backlog, Strengthen Vet Education and Employment Opportunities, Eliminate Retirees’ Health Care Fee Increases

by Mitt Romney, Aug. 29, 2012

Commander Wong, thank you for that introduction. Adjutant Wheeler, President Nelson, it is good to see you both. I appreciate the invitation to join you on dry land this afternoon.

Our thoughts, of course, are with the people of the Gulf Coast states. Seven years ago today, they were bracing for Hurricane Katrina. This afternoon, they are enduring Isaac. We are grateful that it appears Isaac will spare them from the kind of damage we saw during Katrina. 

But for many in the Gulf Coast who just finished repairing their homes and are getting life back to normal, this must be a heavy burden. Today, our thoughts are with them, our prayers go out to them, and our country must do all we can to help them recover.

I’ll be heading back to Florida later today. And you may be wondering why I’m not down there right now, practicing and polishing the final draft of my speech. My answer is this: When our nation called, you served. And I consider any opportunity to address our nation’s veterans a privilege not to be missed. 

It is an honor to be with you today for the 94th Annual Convention of the American Legion.

Beyond the President’s failure to deliver an economic recovery, and beyond his reckless defense cuts, are the reproachable failures at the VA. 

The backlog for disability claims has doubled on his watch. There are now close to one million claims waiting to be processed. Veterans face unconscionable waits for mental health treatment. 

Every day, 18 servicemen and veterans take their own lives – an unspeakable and unacceptable tragedy.

Right now the VA has a shortage of mental health care professionals.  I will hire more – and any time a veteran is unable to receive timely health care from the VA system, he or she will be allowed to see a TRICARE provider at the VA’s expense.

— Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney during speech to veterans attending the American Legion national convention in Indiana Aug. 29, 2012

I am proud to have the support of many fine Legionnaires in this election, including nine of your former National Commanders and one past Executive Director.
To Robert Spanogle, John Comer, John Sommer, and all those gathered here who have offered support and advice over the last 14 months: I appreciate your help, your guidance, and your continued commitment to a free and strong America.

Anyone who knows about the American Legion understands this is much more than an organization of veterans. Every day, you seek and you find new ways to give back to the country you love. From American Legion Baseball to the Child Welfare Foundation, your achievements are many, significant, and deeply appreciated.

Here at the American Legion convention – and in Tampa at the Republican convention – we are talking about important issues that will determine our future as a nation and as a people. 

You’ve defended our country, and now we must decide what kind of country we want to live in. 

Later tonight I hope you will tune in and listen as my running mate, Paul Ryan, talks about our vision for a better future for all Americans.

As I have travelled across America, I’ve had the privilege of visiting with many veterans and heard their concerns. Overwhelmingly the number one concern I hear from young vets can be summed up in one word: Jobs.

Read the entire transcript from Romney’s speech:

Read related stories:

Indianapolis Star

Stars and Stripes

Washington Post


One Response

  1. Who can believe anything this draft dodger says about our military?

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