Earlier today, Veterans for John McCain held a press conference at the World War II memorial to announce the endorsement of Col. Leo Thorsness (USAF, retired). Col. Thorsness is, I believe, Minnesota’s only living Medal of Honor recipient, having received it for tremendous heroism in an incident eleven days before he himself was shot down in Vietnam. He spent six years in Hanoi POW camps, along with McCain. His captors may have beaten and tortured him, but Thorsness still has a delicious sense of humor, as this clip shows:
Thorsness had quite a bit to say about McCain’s performance as a POW. In his friendly but firm way, he debunked the smears that certain people have tried spreading about his supposedly preferential treatment in Hanoi. Thorsness says that he and his colleagues can personally account for every day of McCain’s detention, and he testifies to McCain’s dedication to honor and service. He also explains what that says about the current choice in a typical Minnesota Nice fashion.The event had an impressive number of veterans in attendance, and I tried to get them all in the shot a few times. Their service came from World War II all the way to the present conflicts. The man holding the American flag in place, just to its left in the shot, is my friend Lt. Col. Joe Repya, who returned to service in his 50s to serve in Iraq in the 101st Airborne. Joe has his own new blog, Eagles Nest.
Afterwards, I got a brief moment alone with Col. Thorsness — who was very popular with the local press — and asked him to elaborate on the difference between McCain and Obama. For Thorsness, it comes down to character:
I’ll have a little more from this event later as I get the video uploaded to Eyeblast.