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Posted on on October 10th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

From ReadersSupportedNews: combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief.”

Pressler was born in Humboldt, South Dakota. He was raised on his family’s farm. He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota, Oxford University (attending St. Edmund Hall as a Rhodes Scholar), the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and Harvard Law School. He became a lawyer, and then served in the Vietnam War in the United States Army from 1966 until 1968.

After serving for several years in the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer he was elected as a REpublican to the House of Representatives from 1975 to 1979. He was a Republican Senator from South Dakota from 1979 to 1997. Pressler held such notable positions as the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Science and Transportation Committee, Foreign Relations Committee and European and Asian Subcommittees. He briefly sought the Republican Presidential Nomination in 1980.

Pressler authored and won overwhelming congressional and presidential approval of a sweeping reform of telecommunications legislations through the Telecommunications Act of 1996. Pressler negotiated the compromises that gained the support of diverse industry groups in telecom, broadcasting, and cable TV, as well as of the Bill Clinton White House, state utility commissions, and public morality advocates. Ironically, though the law was touted as a ‘rare legislative achievement in terms of bipartisan reform’, it led to Pressler’s defeat in his re-election bid for a fourth Senate term, losing to Tim Johnson, a Democrat, in 1996. Johnson argued that instead of promoting the economy of his home state of South Dakota, Pressler was promoting out-of-state business and high-tech industries and was in turn supported by them. Pressler was the only incumbent Republican senator to lose reelection that year.

Senator Pressler has remained active in the political arena. In 2000, he was a member of Republican Presidential Candidate George W. Bush’s Information Technology Steering Committee, and also served on the Bush Presidential Transition Team in 2001.

In 1998, Mr. Pressler toyed with the idea to run as a Republican for Mayor of Washington DC on basis of school vouchers to improve the city’s schools. Could eventually a former Conservative Republican, originally from a rural area in South Dakota, help revive the missing honest part of the  party – the former Liberal Republican wing?

Since, Pressler taught Telecommunications and Internet Policy at Baruch College, City University of New York. and was awarded a Senior Fulbright lectureship at the University of Bologna Italy for spring semester 2009. He has been a frequent visitor to Vietnam and was a lecturer at Dalat University Business School. Additionally, he currently serves on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Education Center Advisory Council. He has worked on helping normalize the relations with Vietnam.

Former Senator Larry Pressler, Republican of South Dakota. (photo: Jim Luce)
Former Senator Larry Pressler, Republican of South Dakota. (photo: Jim Luce)

Why I, a Former GOP Senator, Will Vote for Obama

By Larry Pressler, Reader Supported News

09 October 12

s a combat veteran of two tours in Vietnam with twenty-two years of service as a Republican member of the U.S. House and Senate, I endorse President Barack Obama for a second term as our Commander-in-Chief. Candidates publicly praise our service members, veterans and their families, but President Obama supports them in word and deed, anywhere and every time.

As a Vietnam vet, one of the reasons I support President Obama is because he has consistently shown he understands that our commitment to our servicemen and women may begin when they put on their uniform, but that it must never end.

This decision is not easy for any lifelong Republican. In 2008 I voted for Barack Obama, the first time I ever voted for a Democrat, because the Republican Party was drifting toward a dangerous path that put extreme party ideology above national interest. Mitt Romney heads a party remaining on that dangerous path, proving the emptiness of their praise as they abandon our service members, veterans and military families along the way.

What really set me off was Romney’s reference to 47% of Americans to be written off – including any veteran collecting disability like myself, as a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) veteran.

Behind closed doors with his donors, Romney made clear he’d write off half of America – including service members and veterans – because, as he said “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility for their lives.” But there’s no greater personal responsibility than to wear your country’s uniform and defend the rights we all enjoy as Americans. We don’t sow division between “us” versus “them.” The Commander-in-Chief sets the bar for all to follow and fight for the entire country. Mitt Romney fails that test. As a veteran I feel written off.

Just as revealing is what Romney actually says publicly. As a former Foreign Service Officer, I find it offensive that Romney, Congressman Paul Ryan and their Republican Party are politicizing the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans who lost their lives in Libya. Being Commander-in-Chief requires a resolve and steadiness that’s immune to politics and fear mongering. Mitt Romney fails that test.

And along with high-profile Republican surrogates, Romney and Ryan are pandering to election-year politics rather than focusing on pending cuts to military spending. Strategy should drive our military priorities, not party purity.

We are a nation at war – the longest war in our nation’s history – and we must remember the sacrifice that so many have given for the protection of our country and our values. That’s why it’s so surprising that Republican nominee Mitt Romney has given five speeches on foreign policy – and will be giving another one today – and has yet to outline any plan to end the war in Afghanistan or bring our troops home. That’s unacceptable for anyone running to be Commander-in-Chief.

President Obama ended one war, is ending another and meeting our national security needs with support of our military leaders. He’s laid out a clear plan that would reduce the deficit and prevent the mandatory military spending cuts that no one wants. But today’s Republican Party, including Ryan who voted for the deal that would trigger the cuts, is willing to bring our country’s defenses to the fiscal cliff – just so a multimillionaire doesn’t have to pay a single extra penny in taxes. And the real lack of leadership? Failing to own up to your role in racking up a record debt from two unpaid wars and two massive unpaid for tax cuts. Mitt Romney leads the party that fails this leadership test.

And as former member of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman of the then Commerce Committee, I came to know the federal budget in detail. I’m disappointed that just as our troops are returning home after a decade of war, Romney and Ryan might gut by up to 20 percent investments in the Department of Veterans Affairs – and even suggest privatizing the veterans’ health care. Again, they would short change our national security and the education, health care and employment benefits our veterans have earned and deserve just to cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

Let’s be clear, Romney and Ryan would be disastrous for America’s service members, veterans and military families. Public praise rings hollow when you fail to mention an ongoing war in accepting your party’s nomination to be president, or veterans in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, a so-called jobs plan or in a budget that should be a blue print of our nation’s values.

Meanwhile President Obama recognizes our sacred trust with those who serve starts when they take their oath and never ends. He’s enacted tax credits to spur businesses to hire unemployed veterans and wounded warriors. He implemented and improved the post-9/11 GI Bill, the largest investment in veterans education since the original GI Bill over sixty years ago. He’s proposing a Veterans Jobs Corps that would put returning service members to work as police officers, firefighters and first responders. As part of his achievable plan to keep moving our country forward, the President would use half the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to help pay down our debt and invest in nation building here at home, putting Americans back to work – including our veterans – fixing our roadways and runways, bridges and schools.

And something that hits close to home, President Obama also secured the largest increase in VA investments in decades so our veterans get the care and benefits they earned, like treatment for PTSD and traumatic brain injury. As someone with service-related PTSD, I meet with younger veterans weekly to help them through the treatment and transition to a productive civilian life. It makes a difference for them knowing their President has their back.

That’s the difference in this election. In word and deed anywhere and every time, President Obama never forgets that standing by those who serve is the heart, soul and core value of this country. As a life-long Republican, I stand by him as he stands by all of us, putting national allegiance ahead of party affiliation. I endorse President Obama for reelection in 2012.



-5 # Barkingcarpet 2012-10-09 20:02

Perhaps the best thing that could happen to America, short of awakening now and choosing to create and leave a livable planet, would be for Mittens to be elected, women’s rights be gutted, and Nature be further assaulted for $ profits.

Perhaps than Folks would wake up and put an end to the nonsense and our corrupt system of profiteering, endless wars, obfuscation of real facts or actual fairness/justice? The Legitimate Rape of our banking and agricultural systems is leaving us environmentally and economically bankrupt. Nuclear power and weapons are causing much misery and illness.

Perhaps if it gets bad enough, people will change?

The time is NOW to choose love, and to demand change for a sane future. The alternative is a race to the bottom and allowing thugs to govern.

+15 # George Kennedy 2012-10-09 20:23

Senator Pressley, Thank you for your service both in and out of uniform. Thank you for your integrity and the courage to express conviction without partisanship and blind ideological fealty.
+13 # doneasley 2012-10-09 21:07

Senator Pressler is right. The CHICKENHAWKS talk a good game while sending other people’s children off to war, but the proof is in the pudding: When veteran benefits are on the line, they QUIETLY vote against them every damn time. And what does Mitt Romney know about military duty? How to avoid it, that’s what! Even the grsndson’s of the Queen of England have to perform some military duty, but Mitt’s sons? Oh, they’ve probably watched “The Longest Day”, “Pearl Harbor”, or “Midway” on TV. But that’s as close as they’ll get to any military action – true chips off the old block.
+6 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-09 21:07

Thank you Larry for this call for government & leadership responsibility. However we must go further when our NATO governments are through CIA, CSIS & other supposed ‘intelligence’ agencies; pushing arms, munitions & assassination budgets to dissidents in order to destabilize the governments of 80 countries worldwide. NATO governments do not deliberate publicly or formally declare war anymore & all wars fought in the past 60 years have been illegal wars of aggression against foreign shores. Worse is the media-military-industrial-complex making a killing off of war & death as our NATO nation’s # 1 business. Wars are for fearful, inarticulate cowards afraid to stand up with their perceived opponents in equal-time recorded, published & distributed dialogues for the court of public opinion & a world of resource to respond to. ‘Dialectics’ (‘both-sided’) rights to ‘debate’ (French ‘de’ = ‘undo’ + ‘bate’ = ‘the fight’) are denied by cowards as are human rights to safety & security wherever we live. The cowards are not only ‘chicken-hawk’ politicians, but as well citizen-consumers who finance these wars & the universal soldiers who fight them.  
+12 # KrazyFromPolitics 2012-10-09 21:22

A former Republican congressman and senator voting for Obama for the second time. I long for the days when party opposites barked at each other, but essentially got down to the business of governing, however imperfect. I wonder what the probability of this story making it into the mainstream corporate news is.
+9 # tahoevalleylines 2012-10-09 21:53

It is apparent even by casual observation Mr. Romney is a living breathing example of the “Peter Principle”. Comments about adding unsolicited large capital ships/submarines seem to be for show rather than result of any sort of study or rational strategy.

If Romney is thinking about going toe-to-toe for resource hegemony with China, another gaping hole then must be his lack of knowledge about needed domestic infrastructure and transport policy innovations allowing for less call on imported resources…

Instead of Naval Tonnage, why does Romney not verbalize water resource engineering to recharge aquifers as described in the massive NAWAPA projects?

Facing Peak Oil and upward oil price trajectory, transport shortcomings in the United States stem from overzealous removal of railway connections and branch feeder lines. These rail closures were hurriedly effected as the US Freeway system came into service through the Nixon and Reagan administrations , Alaskan oil helping justify the process of railway line extinction.

Please Mssrs. Obama & Romney, be sure to include generic railway savvy people in your circle as you formulate ways and means of assuring ability to step back from Muslim oil and being hostage to the World oil market price/supply squeeze.

+10 # ghostperson 2012-10-09 22:07

I simply do not understand how Romney has the audacity to speak to war issues and propose actions that will adversely affect those who fight for their country when he preferred to a vacation in France while his peers were being killed in Viet Nam–a war he protested for.

Romney was on a religious mission? Is that what one calls draft dodging if one’s cult is big enough? What was 5-deferrment Cheney’s excuse?

We are in a perpetual state of war because neocon’s, too good to fight to their country, see lowering taxes while bleeding off money for wars in order to run up huge budget deficits as a way to to downsize a government they hate.

We always have money to throw at greedy wastrels and for foreign wars but never enought to spend on those who pay the freight and those maimed in the service of their country. It is difficult to accept that half the population is swayed by policies that have ruined us and will continue to do so while vulture capitalists destroy education, offshore jobs, conceal tax returns, hide profits in the Cayman Islands and let our vaunted infrastructure crumble.

Since when did economic treason and tyranny become the American way simply because greedy swine wrap themselves in a flag they are too good to fight for?

+6 # JSRaleigh 2012-10-10 04:10


Since when did economic treason and tyranny become the American way simply because greedy swine wrap themselves in a flag they are too good to fight for?

Seems to have started around 1981, but really got rolling in 2001.

+8 # Jorge 2012-10-09 22:21

Mr. Pressler, thank you for expressing your thoughts about the veterans and these endless wars. Romney is unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. (perhaps the Cayman Islands instead).
Now we need you to make these same statements all over the Corporate-Controlled Media and show up at campaigns for Progressives (have some real impact, do something).
+10 # Majikman 2012-10-09 22:37

Now there’s a relic from the past… a Republican with integrity.
+10 # MindDoc 2012-10-09 23:09

Hard to disagree with the Senator! Well stated and brave:


Let’s be clear, Romney and Ryan would be disastrous for America’s service members, veterans and military families.

…Not to mention the non-military, non-millionaire citizenry who would also be edged into non-existence via the promised cuts, de-funding, and deregulation central to the Ryan-Romeny-Rove-Rand (4R) party , should it win the auction and acquire the U.S.

We could wake up with Mitt the Flip ‘severely’ in charge, playing President – learning RL on the job. (Repealing Obama Care on Day 1?) Maybe he’d remind England that they don’t know how to organize an Olympics, hold a press conference from a “clean coal” mine, praise farmers & Monsanto corn and then call his friend Netanyahu to say the deal is on: “I like firing at people”. Back to Poland to remind Lech Walesa that unions are the root of all evil, then home to Caymans to feed the dog and rotate the cars & cash. Then a UN appearance to explain things.

Can we interrupt this nightmare and throw some cold water on the face of those who have not paid attention long enough to notice the nonstop lies & self-contradictions of the Mittster? Hypocrite-in-chief. Positions by etch-a-sketch, uninformed by any notions of public service to THE PEOPLE. He knows the profit$ of war- but will cut support for veterans. “Severely”

+9 # X Dane 2012-10-10 00:02

How refreshing to see a republican, who values another person for his integrity and caring…..and not for the party he belongs to.
What totally disgusted me about Bush, was how he always used the military as a backdrop, when he was making speeches to the nation, and while mouthing that he appreciated their service…he was cutting funding, for their care when they returned from war damaged in body and soul.

When they could no longer serve, they were dispensable, and an inconvenience.

Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden are working hard to help Military families. Obama is doing much to improve their conditions. Frankly I think he would like to end the Afghan nightmare now, but you KNOW that the republicans would scream bloody murder, if he did.

I hate war, but IF you wage war, you MUST care for the men and women you send to fight it

+4 # seeuingoa 2012-10-10 00:34

OK, Mister Pressler.

There is no difference between the two
candidates as regards

Kill list/drones
Tar Sand pipeline
Indefinite detention
Arctic drilling
violation of 1st Amendment
licking the asses of big corporations

Make this election an election about
moral and ethical issues and vote
Jill Stein/Green Party and look
your grandchildren in the eyes.

+9 # Ralph Averill 2012-10-10 01:50

Good job, Congressman/Senator/Soldier. One hopes John Boehner and Mitch McConnell read copies of this statement.
+6 # cordleycoit 2012-10-10 02:03

Romney commitied suppku with me blaming me for the failure of the banking system. Not the Russian Mafia that sank the Bank of New York not the stupid greed is good push by the press barons who were bankrupting their industry. I the individual is guilty of allowing the contradiction of capitalism to occur. This while Bain was dabbling in laundering billions for the cartels an on going trait.

Why instead of running for the highest office in the land is Romney not running from the Justice Department? I will say he and his accomplices have certainly not returned the money they stole.Our vets watched as Romney’s party lied and have killed off thousands of Americans so Iraq can have a civil war and the Afghan can kill off as many as they can creep up on.Senator help end the war.

+7 # corallady 2012-10-10 02:50

With more clear-thinking Republicans like Larry Pressler, who puts the country above an ideology that can only hurt the country, the Republicans might be able to get back to being a respectable party instead of a group of increasingly right-wing extremists acting like petulant schoolchildren who only want their way regardless of how it would hurt the rest of us. It’s time for them to say “To hell with Grover Norquist and his oath never to raise taxes; our oath is to the Constitution and our duty is to ‘form a more perfect union’ and ‘promote the general welfare.'” We need some adults in Congress who will look with clear eyes at both sides of the equation that will bring us out of the mess created by Bush and Company–it will take spending control but also more revenue. Both sides have to give. Compromise is not a dirty word; it is the way things get done in the political world. President Obama has accomplished an incredible amount while being blocked constantly by the ideologues of the Right; we are moving in the correct direction; think what we could do with some cooperation and a genuine desire to “promote the general welfare” of all of us.
+8 # colpow 2012-10-10 02:52

Yesssss!!!! Well said, Senator Pressler.
+6 # Gamagaeru 2012-10-10 03:00

Well said! Obama understands and is aiming to help the people. Romney is not bad, but his world is the top 10%.
+8 # HooverBush 2012-10-10 03:19

I’ll be dog-gone!!!

There really is ONE intelligent Republican!!!!

+8 # dick 2012-10-10 03:28

Courageous. Honorable. Truly patriotic. Thank you so very much.
+6 # JSRaleigh 2012-10-10 04:09

What really angers me the most about the whole “47%” controversy is how quickly Democrats accepted the lie that those who receive government pensions, Veterans benefits or Social Security don’t pay taxes. Instead of confronting the liar and challenging the lie, they just started making excuses.
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