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Iraq war shapes voters’ opinions

In the last three days of an intense congressional race, the brunt of campaigning is being waged on the theme of the war in Iraq.

Both Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville, and Democratic challenger Charlie Brown have unleashed ads calling into question the other’s support for America’s military.

A CNN poll of more than 1,000 American adults showed the war was the top issue in this election, with 46 percent saying it was “extremely important.”



“War’s a big one,” said Chris Alaways of Nevada City.

“What’s important is for people to support the troops in Iraq,” said Grass Valley resident Ken Hansen. “That means we need to win, then bring our troops home.”




But for Shawn Flynn, also of Grass Valley, the war was less important than local issues, she said.

In California’s 4th District, Brown touts his military career and his son’s service in Iraq. However, many residents said they feel Doolittle is better on supporting the troops.

Local veterans asked about the issue Friday were divided on the issue of which candidate would best support American soldiers.

“I think John Doolittle needs to go,” said John Wood, a Banner Mountain veteran, saying Brown would better represent the veterans’ community.

“Charlie Brown, let’s face it, he’s a cut and run guy,” said Grass Valley veteran Walter Slater.

“Overall, Doolittle has always been there. I realize he hasn’t passed all those bills for vets,” said Christina Stacey of the Disabled Veterans Association.

Large local military population

Nevada County residents include 12,000 veterans, according to the Veterans’ Service office.

The 4th Congressional District, which stretches from the Sacramento suburbs to the Oregon and Nevada borders, has an estimated 100,000 veterans and 400,000 registered voters.

Brown, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force, favors a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Doolittle, an eight-term incumbent, said he will not set a date for troop departure and believes weapons of mass destruction will be found.

Brown’s Web site lists the Iraq war as an “issue,” saying the perceived occupation by the United States is fueling violence there.

According to a disputed report by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, “654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions,” mainly due to violence.

Doolittle’s Web site does not list the war as an “issue.” Doolittle spokesman Richard Robinson said the topic “National Security” addresses the war because having soldiers in Iraq “takes the fight to the terrorists.”

The war issue may have overshadowed charges of corruption levied against Doolittle, including taking hundreds of thousands of dollars inappropriately or illegally.

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To reach Staff Writer Josh Singer, e-mail joshs@theunion.com or call 477-4234.


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