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Obama calls for better mental care for service members

Published May 28, 2007


CONWAY, N.H. - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Sunday the country is not providing enough mental health services for active duty troops and veterans. He proposed spending hundreds of millions of dollars more each year for better care.

"We're falling far short in addressing the mental health care needs of these heroes, and that's inexcusable, " he said in remarks prepared for a town hall-style meeting in the afternoon.

Traveling over the Memorial Day weekend with his family in this early nominating state, the Illinois senator urged the Pentagon to recruit more mental health professions to help identify and treat problems. He said improvements are needed at every stage of military service: recruitment, deployment and re-entry into civilian life.

"I believe strongly that there is a sacred trust between this country and those who serve it, " according to an advance text of his remarks provided to the Associated Press. "That trust begins the moment a service member signs on and lasts the duration of his or her life."

Other campaigning

Republican Mike Huckabee says the federal income tax should be replaced with a 23 percent national sales tax. Doing so would make April 15 - the income tax filing deadline - "just another beautiful spring day."

"The best part is that if you don't consume a whole lot, if you, for example, want to save money, you're not penalized for saving money like our current system, " he said on Fox News Sunday. "But the best thing about it is that when you get your paycheck, you get the whole thing. You get the entire paycheck. The government doesn't take it out."

Democrat Bill Richardson said Sunday he will stop using the name of a Marine from New Mexico who was killed in Iraq and whose story the governor has recounted while campaigning.

Richardson has told how he attended a memorial service three years ago for Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin, 21, who was killed in April 2004. The governor said Austin's mother, De'on Miller, thanked him for the federal death benefits she had received. Miller says the conversation about money never took place.

[Last modified May 28, 2007, 07:02:43]

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