Stephanopoulos: Obama Considered Joining the Military

Sep 7, 2008 11:35am

ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos reports: In an exclusive "This Week" interview, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said he considered joining the military after finishing high school.

"I had to sign up for selective service when I graduated from High School," Obama said. "I actually always thought of the military as an ennobling and you know, honorable option."

Obama suggested his decision not to enlist was an issue of timing, not service. "I graduated in 1979.  The Vietnam War had come to an end.  We weren’t engaged in an active military conflict at that point.  And so, it’s not an option that I ever decided to pursue," he said.

In his first Sunday morning show appearance since accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama used the question as an opportunity to criticize Republican presidential candidate John McCain on veteran’s benefits.

"One of the things that I want to make sure of," Obama said, "is that, for those young men and women who decided to pursue a military career, that they are treated with the honor and dignity they deserve during service and when they get home."

"And this is actually an area where John McCain and I have had some disagreements in terms of funding veteran services and disability payments, and dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder — things that I prioritize," Obama said. 

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