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FILE - In this May 1969 file photo, a wounded U.S. paratrooper of the 101st Airborne Division is helped through a blinding rainstorm by two medics after being evacuated from Dong Ap Bia during the 10-day battle for Hamburger Hill. America has a new generation of veterans. More than 1.6 million troops are back from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new veterans join more than 20 million others from previous wars. There also are 34 million spouses and dependent children of living veterans and survivors of dead veterans, and many of them get benefits, too. Collectively, they comprise a whopping 18 percent of the U.S. population. (By comparison, Medicare beneficiaries make up 15 percent). (AP Photo/Hugh Van Es) / Hugh Van Es
It's too long, the election season that is. With the country's first caucuses and primaries not quite a year away, it's too much.
Already there is a language dissection. Hillary Clinton has been busy on the stump explaining her vote to authorize the war in Iraq, but how she's saying it apparently is not good enough for some. My eyes are already beginning to glaze over with the degree to which a phrase or two can be parsed and pilloried.
Barack Obama did a nice job of kicking off his campaign: big crowds, great locations, invoking the sprit of Abe Lincoln. Smart, but this party will end soon too. Obama's made clear how much he wants to move on to a politics that is less divisive.
People on the stump will soon want to learn what that means exactly. And every statement past and future will go into a grinder of credibility.
A gaffe, a slip, will become a headline. And the candidate who talks or charms his way out of the mess is the one we often reward.
The election is only six hundred and some days away.
Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith