Obama Defends Patriotism; Honors McCain

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CBNNews.com -- As the nation prepares to celebrate July 4th with their families and friends, Sen. Barack Obama defending his patriotism Monday in a town appropriately named Independence, Mo.

During his speech, Obama also made it clear that Sen. John McCain's military service to America was worthy of honor.

Click play to watch a portion of Sen. Obama's remarks on patriotism.

"No one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign," and that goes for supporters on both sides," Obama said.

He also noted, "We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period."

Obama hoped to squelch growing controversy over Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark's comments questioning McCain's military service. During the weekend, Clark, who is an Obama support, said McCain's service in Vietnam did not give him the necessary skills needed to be President.

"For those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country - no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary," Obama said in rejecting Clark's statements.

Obama's campaign spokesman Bill Burton released the following statement to reporters.

"As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark."

Patriotism Questioned

The speech comes after an intense battle for the Democratic nomination - when some had questioned Obama's love for country.

"I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign," he said. "And I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine."

Obama said he chose to address the issue now because of those concerns from others.

"Throughout my life, I have always taken my deep and abiding love for this country as a given," he said. "It was how I was raised; it is what propelled me into public service; it is why I am running for President."

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