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In VFW Speech, More Health Reform Debunking From Obama

In a somewhat subdued speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix today, President Obama reiterated his administration's commitment to support those who've worn the uniform, and his goal to end the war in Iraq this year. As expected, he also did a bit of stumping for his effort to reform the health care system, pledging that veterans would see no change in the benefits they're entitled to.

"There's been so much misinformation out there," the president said as he made the aside to defend his plan. "One thing that reform won't change is veterans health care. No one is going to take away your benefits. That is the plain and simple truth."

He said that even in tough budget times, his administration is actually "dramatically increasing funding for veterans health care." Several administration officials are also launching an effort to solicit ideas from employees of the VA system to further improve the system.

Earlier in his remarks, Obama summarized the shift in military strategy his administration has been executing in his first year as commander in chief. He specifically addressed the war in Iraq, but had less to say about potential changes in Afghanistan that have been called for recently by his new top general there.

"As we move forward, the Iraqi people must know that the United States will keep its commitments. And the American people must know that we will move forward with our strategy," he said. "We will begin removing our combat brigades from Iraq later this year. We will remove all our combat brigades by the end of next August. And we will remove all our troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. And for America, the Iraq war will end."

In the home state of Sen. John McCain, he highlighted his work with his former adversary when it comes to reforming the defense contracting system.

"We can't build the 21st century military we need -- and maintain the fiscal responsibility that Americans demand -- unless we fundamentally reform the way our defense establishment does business," he said. "Every dollar wasted in our defense budget is a dollar we can't spend to care for our troops, protect America or prepare for the future."