This evening, President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney will take to the stage for their third presidential debate, this time at Lynn University in sunny Boca Raton, Fla.
On the agenda for this final meeting: foreign policy. So we can predict some of the key issues that will come to the fore: instability in Libya, Iranian nukes, China’s economic might, the way forward in Afghanistan and the war in Syria.
But here are two other issues that need to be in the mix—government spending and the national debt. Why? Because our nation’s runaway spending and towering debt (more than $16 trillion and growing) are undermining our nation’s security and stature in the world. The candidates need to be held to account for how they intend to change that dynamic.
Veterans and military personnel certainly understand how high debt and a weak economy are a threat to our nation’s strength and well-being. In the most recent Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) poll, 71 percent of respondents say the economy and the debt are the top threats to national security.
Respondents also cited the high rate of unemployment among veterans as a top concern, with a sizable majority expressing their belief that the U.S. is headed “in the wrong direction.” Here’s Politico’s report on our poll:
As GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama prepare for Monday’s foreign policy debate, a new poll shows that members of the armed forces view veterans’ unemployment as their top concern, and a majority think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Eighty-eight percent of military members think Iraq and Afghanistan war vet joblessness is a problem, according to the poll from non-partisan advocacy group Concerned Veterans for America and obtained by POLITICO.
Here’s hoping tonight’s debate recognizes the tight connection between spending, debt and national security—and the candidates are required to address how they’ll address that connection. Getting the United States back on the road to a healthy economy has to be job one for the next administration.
Sadly, it’s now clear that two issues at the top of CVA’s agenda—the scandalously low rate of military voting and dysfunction at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs—won’t be receiving debate-level attention from the candidates in this election. That’s a shame, because veterans and military personnel are deeply concerned by these issues, and they deserve to hear what the candidates will do to address them. Regardless of who wins the election, CVA will continue beating the drum on these critical issues.
If you’re watching the debate tonight, keep an eye on the CVA Twitter feed, where we’ll offer running commentary and instant reaction to this final meeting between the two candidates.