PRESS RELEASE from 2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Carissa Picard, Managing Director, 2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium, 254.554.1513, e-mail to Hood Townhall.


Military and Veteran Advocates Invite Senators McCain and Obama to Fort Hood Texas

Presidential Town Hall to Focus on Military and Veterans

2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall
Monday August 11, 2008, 9:00 pm (EST)
Bell County Expo Center
301 West Loop 121
Belton, Texas 76513

Hosted by the 2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium
To be carried live on the CBS Television Network.

A diverse group of non-profit organizations dedicated to serving active military, veterans, their families and their survivors has come together to invite the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates to Fort Hood, Texas, for an in-depth discussion of the increasingly complex issues facing America's military and veteran community. The CBS television network has agreed to produce and broadcast the town hall meeting in prime time that evening.

Fort Hood is the largest U.S. military installation in the world and deploys the most soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan as part of our continuing Global War on Terror. Consequently, the Consortium cannot imagine a more appropriate audience—or a more compelling location—for this event.

This Consortium represents organizations that provide services and support to our service members, veterans, wounded warriors, and their families. "We believe if there is one more debate or town hall before the general election, it should be before an audience comprised of the men and women whose service and sacrifice ensure that these events continue through their defense of our country and of our Constitution," said Carissa Picard, lead organizer and military spouse.

"This forum is NOT about being for the war in Iraq or against the war in Iraq. This is about the fact that there is a war in Iraq, as well as Afghanistan, and there are consequences to that war—consequences for our service members, for their families, for our country. These candidates are asking to be elected the next Commander-in-Chief and we believe that our audience, as well as the American public, will be extremely interested in knowing what they have to say about these issues."

In November 2004, the President was elected by a majority of 126 million votes. Today, approximately 27 million American adults are veterans. If we assume half are married, then there are approximately 40 million voters intimately aware of the issues affecting veterans and their families. Meanwhile, there are approximately 2.6 million Americans currently serving in our Armed Forces, either full or part-time. If you include their spouses, then we will have an additional 4 million voters sensitive to the needs of our veterans, wounded warriors, and military families.

In all, the veteran and military communities total approximately 44 million Americans—almost a quarter of the overall voting population and more than one- third of the total voting participation in 2004.

"The sacrifices these families endure are not abstract; they are borne out in illness, injury, post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, economic hardship, the daily agony of separation from family and friends; and finally, the ultimate sacrifice of our Gold Star families. Furthermore, those citizens who are not themselves members of the military and veteran community are eager to see that those who shoulder the enormous strain of wartime service are afforded the meaningful thanks of a grateful nation." adds Amy Fairweather, director of the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, a group of organizations dedicated to improving services for military, veterans, families and survivors, many of whom have joined to invite the candidates to this historic forum.

The Consortium includes a diverse group of veteran and military service organizations including Disabled Veterans of America, the Brain Injury Association of America, and Sentinels of Freedom. These groups are working in partnership with the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs, state and local governments, and faith and community based organizations to deliver services and support to our military, veterans and families.

Picard adds that, "We sincerely hope the candidates will accept our invitation. We hope this event will remind American voters in November that his or her choice will have a significant impact on the lives and well-being of millions of service members, veterans, wounded warriors, and military families—including children."

Consortium Members

American Veterans (AMVETS)
Jim King, Executive Director

Brain Injury Association of America
Laura A. Schiebelhut, Director of Government Affairs

Disabled Veterans of America (DAV)
David W. Gorman, Executive Director

Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
MSG (Ret.) Michael P. Cline
Executive Director

Fleet Reserve Association
Joseph L. Barnes, CAE, ABC
National Executive Director

Military Officers Assn. of America
VADM Norb Ryan, Jr. (USN-Ret.), President

Military Order of the Purple Heart
Hershel Gober, National Legislative Director

Military Spouse Corporate Career Network
Deborah Kloeppel, CEO

National Spinal Cord Injury Assn (NSCIA)
Marcie Roth, President/CEO

The Sanctuary International
Jon Norsworthy, Director

Veterans for Common Sense
Paul Sullivan, Executive Director

Veterans United for Truth
Bob Handy, HMC USN Ret, Chair

Vietnam Veterans of America
Texas State Council
Luther "Buster" Newberry, President

Veterans Village
Nadia McCaffrey, President/Founder

WELLsville Veterans Project
Kristin Van Huysen, President/Founder

Members of the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

Air Compassion for Veterans
Richard Love, Chairman

American Pain Foundation
Tamara Sloan Anderson, Program Development Director

Armed Services YMCA
S. Frank Gallo, National Executive Director

Brave New Foundation
Jim Miller, Executive Director

CA National Guard
Jon Wilson, Financial Assistance Programs Manager

Barbara Lau, Executive Director

Coming Home Project
Dr. Joe Bobrow, Executive Director

Dallas Foundation
Laura Smith, Director, Community Philanthropy

Homes for Our Troops
John Gonsalves, President

Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund
Karen Guenther, Executive Director

New Directions
Toni Reinis, Executive Director

One Freedom
Elizabeth Hawkins, Executive Director

Pathway Home
Fred Gusman, Executive Director

Project: Return 2 Work
Rob Brazell, President

Salvation Army Liberty Program
David K. Leonard, Coordinator

Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation
Mike Conklin, President

Swords to Plowshare
Michael Blecker, Executive Director

Bonnie Carroll, Founder

TIRR Foundation Project Victory
Cynthia Atkins, Executive Director

Vets 4 Vets
Jim Driscoll, Coordinator

Babette Maxwell, co-founder and Executive Editor of Military Spouse Magazine, is graciously donating her time and talent as the Town Hall's Military Family advisor


Carissa Picard, Esq.
2008 Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium
Managing Director
Hood Townhall

PRESS RELEASE from Nader for President 2008

News Release

Contact: Chris Driscoll, 202-360-3273,


WASHINGTON, Aug. 15, 2008---Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader today released the following statement on the Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall calling on Sen. Barack Obama to listen to veterans and military groups and participate:

Over 4,600 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined and hundreds of thousands more have been severely injured. Thousands of our soldiers have been ripped off by pay-day loan rackets and auto dealer scams that operate on military bases, poisoned by dirty drinking water provided by Halliburton subsidiaries, and killed or injured due to inadequate body armor for years. Many of our wounded soldiers, especially those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome and brain trauma as a result of the high incidence of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), have been neglected or saddled with a morass of paper work, bureaucracy and neglect on their return. This moral travesty goes on with no end in sight, while the Halliburtons, KBRs and Blackwaters waste billions of dollars.

This past Monday, the major Presidential Candidates were supposed to discuss the well-being of our soldiers and veterans as part of a forum hosted by the Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall Consortium, composed of dozens of military and veterans' groups across the country.

It is my understanding that Senator McCain confirmed his willingness to participate. CBS News confirmed and agreed to cover the forum live from Fort Hood on national TV from 9-11 p.m. EDT. But, as reported by the New York Times, Senator Obama declined to participate on this date, or to offer any alternative date.

Senator Obama's brand marketing campaign is so tightly scripted that he is reluctant to come out in the open to give the American people the chance to hear his views in an open forum.

Senator Obama's explanation that there is not enough time to fit this or any other presidential forum outside the three narrowly scripted debates organized by the Commission on Presidential Debates is just not credible. Between January 5, 2008 and February 26, 2008, Senator Obama participated in seven Democratic Party Presidential Primary debates over a 50-day period. Now, he says he will likely only have time to do three debates over the next 75 days. Both Senator McCain and a major network have stepped forward to join this bold initiative organized by some of the nation's most respected veterans groups. What is Senator Obama afraid of?

I challenge Senator Obama to reconsider and take the Fort Hood Presidential Town Hall up on their invitation to host a forum anytime before November to discuss the increasingly complex issues facing America's military and veteran communities.


About Ralph Nader
Attorney, author, and consumer advocate Ralph Nader has been named by Time Magazine one of the "100 Most Influential Americans in the 20th Century." For more than four decades he has exposed problems and organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups advocating solutions. He led the movement to establish the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and was instrumental in enacting the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and countless other pieces of important consumer legislation. Because of Ralph Nader we drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments. Nader graduated from Princeton University and received an LL.B from Harvard Law School.

About Matt Gonzalez
Matt Gonzalez was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2000 representing San Francisco's fifth council district. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Board of Supervisors President. A former public defender, Gonzalez is managing partner of Gonzalez & Leigh, a 7-attorney practice in San Francisco that represents individuals and organizations in mediation, arbitration, and administrative proceedings before state and federal regulatory bodies. Gonzalez graduated from Columbia University and received a JD from Stanford Law School.

About the Nader/Gonzalez Campaign
According to a CNN-Opinion Research Corp. poll conducted from July 27-29, Ralph Nader is at 6 percent nationally (equivalent to about 10 million eligible voters), higher than his highest major poll numbers during the same time period in 2000 and approaching the 10 percent threshold required for eligibility to participate in "America's Presidential Debate in New Orleans," a Google-sponsored event scheduled for September 18. In the key swing state of Michigan -- whose Democratic voters were partially disenfranchised by the Democratic National Committee -- an EPIC-MRA poll found Nader at 8-10 percent.

For more information on the Nader/Gonzalez campaign, visit: