Ron Johnson On Homeless Vets: This Election Isn’t About Details [VIDEO]

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Wisconsin’s Republican Senate hopeful Ron Johnson got tripped up on a point of policy during a recent interview: Asked what the Department of Veteran’s Affairs’ responsibility is to homeless veterans, Johnson declared that his election fight against Sen. Russ Feingold is not “about details.”

“Certainly the people that step up to the plate to answer that call — they are a top priority in terms of spending. So we do need a strong VA system. We need to support those folks as long as they need support,” Johnson said.

The moderator pressed Johnson — a government skeptic — to explain exactly how the government should respond to the issue of homeless vets. “Are there specific things that you think need to happen within that galaxy of services, perhaps, that the VA has some responsibility for or other organizations that would help homeless veterans?”

Johnson responded, flummoxed.“Specifically I can’t really — I haven’t been there, I don’t have all the details. One thing I will point out: I don’t believe this election really is about details. It just isn’t. I mean as I’ve gone through the state of Wisconsin I’ve viewed this pretty much as a job interview…. I’ll have to get there. I’ll have to start performing the job.”

Johnson recently failed to win the endorsement of the Green Bay Press Gazette for coming up short when asked to explain his plan for helping the middle class.

Watch a snippet of the exchange below.

The entire interview is available here (WMV) with the key moment coming about 23 minutes in.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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