McCain Calls For Better Care For Veterans

Monday, March 19th 2007, 11:06 am
By: News On 6

NASHUA, N.H. (AP) _ Republican presidential hopeful John McCain praised a new apartment building for homeless veterans as a welcome contrast to the shoddy conditions recently revealed at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington.

``This comes at a very important time. This Walter Reed scandal is one which has saddened all of us _ saddened, frustrated and angered all of us, because those of us in positions of authority should never have let it happen,'' he said Monday.

``What we're seeing today is the other of side of that. What we're seeing today is what Americans who are dedicated and want to help can do for the men and women who have served our country,'' he said.

McCain, a Vietnam war veteran who endured years of torture as a prisoner of war, spoke at the dedication of Buckingham Place, a 20-unit apartment building that will open next month. Though the city already has a similar facility for single, male veterans, the new building is believed to be one of the first transitional housing facilities in the country for both male and female veterans and their families.

Residents will be allowed to stay for up to two years while they receive job training and any needed mental health and substance abuse services. More than 200 veterans already have applied for spots, said Peter Kelleher, president of Harbor Homes, which developed the project.

Most of them served in Vietnam, he told McCain during a tour of the apartments, though one veteran of the Iraq war has applied.

Just days before the dedication ceremony, Buckingham Place and a shelter for homeless veterans in Manchester, N.H., learned they would not be getting $400,000 federal grants they had expected.


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A former top aide to George Pataki has signed on with Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, another sign that a White House bid by the one-time New York governor is unlikely.

Michael McKeon, a former chief spokesman for Pataki, and Jim Dyke, who served as chief spokesman for the Republican National Committee, have been hired as senior communications advisers to Giuliani.

While Pataki has been considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, he has not mounted any solid effort and told supporters in New Hampshire earlier this year they should feel free to back other candidates.

Also, a longtime political adviser to Pataki, Kieran Mahoney, has become an adviser to the GOP presidential campaign of former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore.

Mahoney and McKeon are both partners at Mercury Public Affairs, a New York City-based public relations-consulting firm that also has ties to the GOP presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain of Arizona.

McKeon said he spoke to Pataki about the Giuliani job before taking it and said his former boss was supportive. McKeon refused to say whether he thought Pataki would enter the race.

``He told me he was going to continue to concentrate on policy over politics and go from there,'' McKeon said.

Pataki served as governor from 1995 to 2006.