Rep. Allen West Wednesday continued his criticism of the Obama campaign’s legal challenge to Ohio’s early voting law, accusing the president of denigrating military service people by suggesting they don’t deserve extra time to cast their ballots.
“We have a president and we have his campaign cronies that don't see the specialness of the service that these guardians of our liberty, and truly America's honor, are making out there for us,” West told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Wednesday. “I don't think they understand what it means to serve in this United States military.”
West was referring to an Ohio law pushed through by Republicans that cuts off early voting three days before Election Day but allows military residents of the state and their families to continue early voting right up to the election.
The Obama campaign has mounted a legal challenge to the law, arguing that the additional three-day voting period should be extended to all Ohio residents and not just those serving in the military.
The Florida Republican, a conservative backing Mitt Romney’s bid for the presidency, said the lawsuit suggesting the troops that have served in Afghanistan and Iraq are the “same as everyone else” is “not what should happen for our military.”
“You have to recognize that in 2008, you had many voting irregularities for our men and women in uniform,” West said. “There were many states that mailed out those ballots late and our military men and women were not able to return them back in time.”
To allow them three more days to vote before the election, he said, is not too much to ask.
“Don’t say that we need to have everyone [vote] just the same as the military because what you’re asking the military to do is above and beyond what everyone else is doing,” he said.
West added that he finds it “very interesting” that the Obama campaign chooses to bring the lawsuit up now, at a time when Obama is fighting off a stiff challenger from Romney in the key battleground state of Ohio, which the president won in 2008.
“This [early voting law] is not something that just recently happened in the state of Ohio, which leads me to believe there’s more of a sense of desperation in the Obama campaign than a lot of people are leading us to believe,” he said.
West also criticized the president for not doing more to head off billions in automatic defense cuts expected to take place early next year unless Congress reaches a budget agreement to stop it.
In addition to protecting their jobs by trying to head off the automatic cuts, West said: “We have also got to make sure that we protect the military to give them every possibility to participate in the [voting] process that they’re guaranteeing all of us to be able to take advantage of.”
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