Paralyzed veteran defends Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) in new ad

June 19, 2014

Sen. John Walsh (D-Mont.) released a new TV Thursday in which a retired soldier who served under Walsh's command in Iraq defends his military record against Republican attacks that note Walsh was reprimanded by the U.S. Army.

In the commercial shared with Post Politics, retired Staff Sgt. John Bennett, who was paralyzed from the waist down after taking sniper fire, vouches for Walsh, who he says "went to bat for us." 

Walsh is a former adjutant general of the Montana National Guard who led more than 700 soldiers in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. Bennett served under his command in Iraq. 

At issue is an Army Inspector General's report that led to Walsh being reprimanded by the Army. The report said Walsh improperly solicited other National Guard leaders to join an association in which he was running for vice chairman.

Rep. Steve Daines (R), who is running against Walsh, hit him over the matter in a recent ad.

Walsh said he was trying to help troops get necessary equipment and reinforcements. Bennett, who appeared in a Walsh ad earlier this year, is trying to help him make that case.

"The Pentagon treated us like second-class soldiers. Only a piece of plywood protected my Humvee. John Walsh went to bat for us. He ruffled feathers in Washington, making sure other Guard soldiers had the right equipment, so other Montanans don't have to spend the rest of their lives like this ever again," Bennett says in the new commercial.

The Walsh campaign said the new spot is part of a six-figure ad buy.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.
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