"I am running for the office of commander in chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities. And this is why I am committed to our bill, despite the support Senator Webb's bill has received," McCain, a Navy veteran and Vietnam prisoner of war, said at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial. "It would be easier, much easier politically for me to have joined Senator Webb in offering his legislation."
"More importantly, I feel just as he does, that we owe veterans the respect and generosity of a great nation because no matter how generously we show our gratitude it will never compensate them fully for all the sacrifices they have borne on our behalf," the Arizona senator said.
However, McCain said he opposed Webb's measure because it would give the same benefit to everyone regardless of how many times he or she has enlisted. He said he feared that would depress reenlistments by those wanting to attend college after only a few years in uniform. Rather, McCain said the bill he favored would have increased scholarships based on length of service.