Vice President Joe Biden told a White House dinner designed to thank veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan that no commander in chief has ever cared as much about the troops as President Obama.
Dozens of service members representing all armed forces branches and various ranks and backgrounds were feted in the East Room on Wednesday night with a dinner of aged ribeye and chocolate creme brulee.
Obama, Biden, first lady Michelle Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey all attended.
“There’s no one I’ve encountered — and I’ve been here for eight Presidents — who cares more about you, and all of you who continue to serve, than this man,” Biden said in introducing Obama.
Biden became a senator in 1973, during Richard Nixon’s term.
Obama thanked the troops for their service and dedication.
“I’ll leave you with a picture that captures this spirit,” he said. “It’s from that day in December, when the last convoy rolled out — five American soldiers standing beside their vehicle, marked with the words, ‘Last vehicle out of Iraq.’”
“They’re young, men and women, shoulder to shoulder, proud, heads held high, finally going home. And they were asked what it was like to be, literally, the last troops out of Iraq,” Obama continued. “And one of them gave a simple reply: ‘We completed the mission.’ We completed the mission. We did our jobs.”
There was no mention of the president’s proposed budget that calls for military families and retirees to pay more for healthcare as part of the Pentagon’s $487 billion in spending cuts.