BATON ROUGE, Louisiana—Senators John McCain (R., Ariz.), David Vitter (R., La.) and dozens of veterans rallied for Republican senate candidate Bill Cassidy at the USS Kidd and Veterans Memorial in Baton Rogue on Monday, arguing that Cassidy is the best candidate to meet the needs of veterans.
The group said Cassidy’s medical background studying traumatic brain injuries makes him uniquely qualified to address problems within the scandal-plagued Veterans Administration (VA).
"There is a very clear choice in this election," said Vitter. "Bill is not just voting the right way on behalf of our veterans, he’s been a leader. He’s leading on traumatic brain injury, doing something about that horrible phenomenon that’s been particularly serious due to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
"I’m here because I believe in Bill Cassidy," said McCain. "I believe that among other things, especially here, is that it is literally a national disgrace that we haven’t cared for our veterans."
McCain said there are "systemic problems" in the VA health system.
"And what does Bill Cassidy bring? He brings a knowledge, expertise, and background that will make him an instant leader in the U.S. Senate and how we have to act to care for our veterans," he said.
The Arizona senator and former prisoner of war said Cassidy is needed in the Senate during the age of improvised explosive devices [IEDs].
"This is the expert on traumatic brain injury," McCain said. "He has already sponsored legislation [that] passed. I guarantee you, we’re in the majority and he’s not the 51st vote, he’s the 57th vote, then Mitch McConnell is committed to naming him to be one of the leaders in addressing health care needs of our veterans."
Cassidy touted a three-year extension he secured of a traumatic brain injury pilot program that provides treatment to veterans, and his two-decade career providing care as an associate professor of medicine at Louisiana State University at Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge.
"As a doctor in the public hospital system I found that if the patient has the power, the system lines up to serve the patient," Cassidy said. "If the bureaucrat has the power, then it lines up to serve the bureaucrat."
"What Sen. McCain did not say regarding that Phoenix VA, where allegedly 50 veterans died because of lack of service, is that the books were cooked so the administrators would still get their bonus even though the veterans did not receive their care," he said. "If the patient has the power, the system serves the patient."
Cassidy, who is in a tight race with Sen. Mary Landrieu, also staked out his position against Obamacare, citing a constituent who has had their premiums increase 250 percent. The family is forced to pay for maternity and pediatric dentistry care, even though they are unable to have children.
"What kind of health policy is this?" Cassidy asked.
"Sen. Landrieu thinks that bureaucrat and politician should control our health care, whether the veteran or one of us," he said. "We think you should."
Towards the end of Cassidy’s remarks a small group of Landrieu supporters began to chant in support of the Democrat in an effort to drown out his remarks. The Landrieu supporters have been following the Cassidy campaign on Monday during series of events to honor veterans throughout the state.
"No class," a group of veterans mumbled as they left the memorial.
Published under: 2014 Election , Bill Cassidy , David Vitter , John McCain , Mary Landrieu