Was Mitt Romney a Vietnam Draft Dodger?
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks tough when it comes to foreign policy. He has slammed President Obama for bringing U.S. troops home and recently gave the greenlight to Israel if they wanted to launch a preemptive attack on Iran, under his presidency.
But what about Romney's own military service or lack of?
Romney supported the Vietnam War, but did not enlist. Instead, he got draft deferments and worked as a missionary ["minister of religion"] for 31 months, for the Mormon church, in France, one of those "European countries" that he often tries to tie President Obama to.
The Associated Press reports that after Romney completed his missionary service in 1969, but he asked for and got more deferments, a total of four, successfully staying out of the war that claimed over fifty thousand American lives.
However, when he got into politics, Romney gave dual recollections of those days.
According to the Maddow Blog:
Many years later, in 1994, Romney said, "It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft." That wasn't true -- he took several steps to remove himself from the eligibility pool.
By 2007, Romney, a presidential candidate, argued. "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam."
While some criticize Romney's lack of military service or even call it draft dodging, it's worth noting that President Bush did not serve in Vietnam either, but joined the texas National Guard, and he still defeated Vietnam veteran Sen. John Kerry in 2004.
Vice President Dick Cheney got five deferments to stay out of Vietnam and Republican advisor and SuperPac founder Karl Rove got three.