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Speaking to Disabled Vets, McCain Criticizes Obama on Iraq

From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro

(LAS VEGAS) - John McCain told veterans today that Barack Obama stubbornly refuses to agree that the troop surge in Iraq has worked and took legislative steps to divert funding for the effort in order to prevent progress in the Iraq war.

Speaking at the Disabled American Veterans conference in Las Vegas, McCain said Obama "tried to legislate failure," adding that "I would rather lose an election than lose a war."

"Thanks to the courage and sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines and to brave Iraqi fighters the surge has succeeded," said McCain.

"And yet Senator Obama still can't quite bring himself to admit his own failure in judgment. Instead, he commits the greater error of insisting that even in hindsight, he would oppose the surge."

Obama told CBS News last month that he acknowledges the lessening of violence since the surge began, but added "it does not solve the broader strategic question that we have been dealing with over the last five, six, seven years."

McCain also spoke out against "hasty withdrawal and arbitrary timelines" that he accuses Obama of wanting to set, although McCain told the Des Moines Register yesterday that he thought an agreement between Iraq and the U.S. for a pullout of all troops by 2010 would be permissible if the U.S. was "winning" at the time.

Aside from attacks on his opponent, who is vacationing this week in Hawaii, McCain focused his speech on care for veterans and promised to create an access card that would help those coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan to get faster access to care and better assist the rising number of female veterans.

He also promised that as president he would veto any veterans bill Congress sent to his desk that had pork-barrel spending projects included in the legislation. To the thousands of veterans that attended the conference, McCain promised that he would work to increase death gratuity payments and benefits to the families of those killed in the line of duty.

Tomorrow, McCain travels to Pennsylvania for a closed dinner at a private residence.