Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, a decorated combat veteran of the Vietnam era, is focusing on Iowa’s veterans as a base of support. Kerry met yesterday with about 20 veterans at the Vietnam War Memorial on the statehouse grounds in Des Moines to highlight his call for changes in veterans’ benefits. One of the vets, who’d served in the Air Force for 20 years, told Kerry he lost his hearing because of his service, but the military deducts his disability benefit from the amount of military pension he earned. Kerry says that’s one money-saving measure the military uses that’d he’d toss.Kerry proposes changes in the VA health care system to help veterans qualify more quickly for prescription drug benefits and other perks they were promised. Kerry’s focus on veterans’ issues coincides with a push to get a veteran in each of Iowa’s 99 counties to enlist more supporters for Kerry’s candidacy. Aides from the rival campaign of Howard Dean point out Kerry recently told the Des Moines Register that he’s “tired of talking” about the details of his time in Vietnam.
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