Does Wartime Service Matter in Presidential Elections?

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An interesting point to consider as you digest McCain’s hero-heavy entrée into the world of general election advertising, from Matt Stoller, via The Plank:

1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004 all saw the candidate without military service elected over the candidate who had served, in several cases heroically.

One could argue that Vietnam is a bigger part of John McCain’s persona and appeal than it was of Al Gore’s when he ran for president. And while John Kerry made a big deal of his wartime service, it essentially got dismantled by the Swiftboat folks. I’m not denying the trend; just saying we should be on the lookout for a possible exception this time around.

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