Jason Kander: As a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, keeping our country safe is my top priority. ISIS is the greatest threat facing our country and the U.S. can't tolerate cowardly acts of terrorism. Congress needs to come together to develop a targeted, comprehensive plan to destroy ISIS and work together with our allies so our brave soldiers have a coherent strategy.
A: Military strength is important to˙deterring˙foreign conflict and domestic attack. ˙As a supporter of our veterans and current service men and women, we need to ensure the highest quality training, equipment, and advantages for our armed forces.˙ The USA needs to cease the supply of military weapons to foreign countries and militant groups.˙ This political practice has fueled countless wars, loss of life, and billions of dollars.
"This is a reckless plan that will put Americans in danger. President Obama apparently is more concerned about America's perception in the world than he is about American security. The Guantanamo detainees are not typical criminals. They are ideologically committed killers--terrorists in the truest sense. These hardened terrorists now are guarded by the U.S. military, and any domestic prison facility would be far more vulnerable to attack. It is telling that so many nations are happy to complain about human rights and Guantanamo but are unwilling to offer relocation. U.S. national security concerns must take precedence. I stand against this irresponsible plan. The President's first responsibility is to protect American life and liberty. Closing Guantanamo ensures the opposite effect."
Blunt said he had not hidden the deferments. "Anytime anybody ever asked me about that, I would have said I had student deferments," he said. But Blunt's office did not disclose the deferments in 2015, when The Star directly asked if he had ever received one.
"Senator Blunt was 1A status in 1969, the year of the first draft lottery," the office had replied. "His number was in the low 300s and was never called."
Federal draft records show Blunt's draft status in 1969 wasn't 1-A, or eligible for service. Instead, he was classified as 2-S, which is a student deferment. That deferment, not a high lottery number, protected Blunt from the draft in 1969.
Blunt's staff said this week that poor memories and difficult-to-obtain draft records may have contributed to the confusion.
One year ago, I announced the "Show-Me Heroes" job initiative to help our veterans quickly regain their footing in civilian life. More than 1,000 Missouri employers stepped up to take the Show-Me Heroes pledge to give veterans first crack at a job interview. I'd like to thank each and every employer who took the Show-Me Heroes pledge and hired a veteran, and I urge every employer in our state to do the same. [Companies can also take] advantage of our Work Ready Missouri program, which retrains unemployed workers to compete in today's economy.
Blunt countered that the $355 billion defense bill in question passed overwhelmingly. Even former Sen. Jean Carnahan, Robin Carnahan's mother, voted for it, he said. "Don't act like this is something that made a difference, that somebody makes a $1,000 contribution and that makes a difference to me," Blunt said. "Give me a break."
Carnahan's campaign said afterwards that executives from the company, Perfectwave, had given Blunt's leadership committee about $20,000 in donations. As Blunt was speaking, Carnahan cut him off and demanded to know if he had ridden the corporation's jet. Blunt said he had ridden it once and reimbursed the company.
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