Obama Defends His Patriotism

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press
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Barack Obama is striking back Monday at the critics who claim he's not particularly patriotic or ready to be commander-in-chief.

Obama told a crowd of several thousand in Charleston, West Virginia, that patriotism means more than just saluting flags and holding parades.

He criticized Republican John McCain for opposing a Democratic bill to expand education benefits for veterans.

Obama says the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan make up "the largest homecoming since the Second World War." And he said the "true test" of patriotism is whether Americans will serve "our returning heroes as well as they've served us."

McCain's campaign says the Republican backs an alternative that is better because it provides improved benefits for those who stay in the military longer.

Obama is expecting Hillary Rodham Clinton to win Tuesday's West Virginia primary. The state has large numbers of working-class whites, who usually back Clinton.

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