Tim Tetz and Paul Rieckhoff on the value of hiring a veteran and how many veterans are coming home to an unemployment check.
Tetz: "The biggest, scariest number...is the fact of the 780,000 veterans who are currently out of a job, two-thirds of them are between the ages of 35 and 64. And they might not have the resources like the G.I. Bill and many of the other things that these younger veterans have to use."
Tim Tetz and Paul Rieckhoff on the military and VA backlog that is keeping soldiers in limbo, saying it is an 'atrocity'.
"The average veteran is waiting six months for a disability claim to go through. If you appeal, it resets to two years. So the system is broken," said Rieckhoff.
Tim Tetz and Paul Rieckhoff on efforts to court the military vote and what veterans are looking for in the 2012 election.
"Nobody has got this locked up, and especially this year where neither candidate is a military veteran themselves. So Mitt Romney and the president are both going to have to work hard and show how they've made an impact in the past, and how they're really going to get things like the backlog done," said Rieckhoff.
Fmr. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Chiarelli on the challenges remaining in treating traumatic brain injuries and PTSD.
"We're doing as best as we possibly can but the problem is we just do not have the really good diagnostic tools we need that in every case we can see who's being afflicted both with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury."
Rudy Giuliani, said he blames his ego for previous criticism of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
"Well, I mean, there's a certain amount of personal ego in that. At that point I was probably comparing his record to my record...That’s all part of campaigning."
Sen. Patty Murray (D) Chairwoman, Veterans' Affairs Committee talks about what is being done to protect veterans benefits in Congress.
"Sequestration is something that all of us have to be concerned about. We've got some real big decisions coming at us. We believe that veterans benefits are protected under that, as they should be, because we have asked these men and women to go to war. They should not be making the sacrifices."
Rudy Giuliani weighs in on the 2012 race and talks about what Mitt Romney can do to make a personal connection with voters.
"Every candidate is, you know, 60/40, 70/30, 80/20, there's no perfect candidate, and the reality is all of us have our strengths and weaknesses. I think it's no secret that Governor Romney's problem during the primary was that idea of making a personal connection. It shows in the polls. And I think he's doing a much better job at it. And, frankly, my advice to him would be, be yourself. I mean, if, in fact, you are a somewhat formal person, that's okay be a formal person."
DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Sunday that the 2012 race will be a "close one."
"This election was always going to be close and it will be close probably right down to the wire. President Obama has acknowledged that while we've made progress, he is not satisfied with the progress that we've made. We need to continue to push hard.
We want to hear from you.
We were struck by both the growing backlog at the V.A., as well as the stories of some service-members who have been deemed unfit for service due to an injury, but have to wait up to 400 days or more to be discharged.
If this is happening to you or someone you know; please send us an email and use "Lost in the System" in the subject line.
Good Sunday morning. The staff is working its way in and we're preparing for today's program. Prepare along with us – check out what we're reading this morning.
On our radar: Memorial Day and veterans issues - why aren't our country's bravest men and women getting the treatment they need and deserve? Also, politics, 2012 and the looming recall election in Wisconsin.
Check out what we're reading, and be sure to watch our exclusive interviews with Rudy Giuliani and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. We'll also be joined by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairwoman Patty Murray; Former Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, Gen. Peter Chiarelli (Ret.); the executive director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Paul Rieckhoff; and the legislative director for the American Legion, Tim Tetz.
State of the Union airs today at 9am/12pm ET. FULL POST