McCain Efforts to Win Over Armenian American Voters Falls Short

September 30, 2008
Washington, D.C. – Clearly concerned about the key role Armenian American voters are set to play in battleground states across the nation on November 4th, Republican nominee John McCain issued an open letter to the community yesterday in the hopes of garnering the support of this key constituency for his floundering presidential campaign.

In only his second attempt to reach out to Armenian-American voters in this more than 20-month election season, Senator McCain failed to coherently outline any solid policy proposals or commitments to the community.

While noting that a “horrific tragedy” befell the Armenian people, Senator McCain did not use the word ‘genocide' when describing the events of 1915, a stance that is not only morally tenuous but also offensive after 8 years of President Bush's refusal to honor his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

“I would rather Senator McCain re-suspend his campaign and try to learn more about the American economy than have him write superficial letters to the community,” stated Areen Ibranossian, Chair of Armenians for Obama.

“For his campaign to utilize the same tactics President Bush has used these past 8 years in reference to the Armenian Genocide is just another example of how Senator McCain will be a 3rd Bush term. It's unfortunate that after 26 years in the Senate, John McCain still abides by Turkey's gag rule on the Armenian Genocide and refuses to honor a historical reality,” added Ibranossian.

Senator McCain's letter comes in the wake of regular criticism by Armenians for Obama and other community members and organizations for John McCain's lack of engagement with Armenian-American voters and on issues important to the community.

His outreach stands in stark contrast with the efforts of Senator Barack Obama's campaign, which has distributed numerous statements along with directly engaging Armenian-American voters. To read Sen. Obama's statements and learn more about the stark differences between the two candidates visit:

“The past two presidential elections have been decided by less than 10,000 votes and in states where significant numbers of Armenian-Americans reside. It's not only disrespectful and shameful of the Senator to neglect the Armenian-American community, it's also a strategic error since Armenian-American voters may well prove to be the difference in this election,” concluded Ibranossian.

Armenians for Obama is a nationwide voter registration, education, and mobilization effort dedicated to electing Barack Obama President. Based in Los Angeles, and with chapters and affiliates across the nation, Armenians for Obama will harness the energy and enthusiasm for Barack Obama's candidacy to ensure record high Armenian American turnout in critical battleground states.

# # #

Text of September 29, 2008 McCain campaign open letter

To the Armenian-American Community of the United States

Dear Friends,

The Armenian-American community has contributed richly to the American fabric and has been instrumental in ensuring that a terrible tragedy is never forgotten.

It is fair to say that one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century, the brutal murder of as many as one and a half million Armenians under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, has also been one of the most neglected. The suffering endured by the Armenian people during that period represented the prologue to what has come to be known as humanity's bloodiest century. It is our responsibility to recognize those tragic events and to ensure that our world never experiences the impact of the bloody conflicts that so filled the 20th century.

In light of that history, the rise of the independent Republic of Armenia from such painful experiences is inspirational, as is the vibrancy of the Armenian diaspora. In particular, I deeply admire both Armenia's support of coalition operations in Iraq and NATO peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo. In my visits to Armenia, I have been deeply impressed by the resilient and hard working Armenian people who have made tremendous progress in very difficult circumstances.

Our country is greatly enriched by the descendents of the victims and survivors of the horrific tragedy that befell the Armenian people. Today Armenian-Americans represent that indestructible spirit of a people and embody the principles of freedom and democracy that all Americans prize above all else. I am grateful for all of the contributions that Armenian-Americans have made to our wonderful country and I greatly value the opportunity to stand with the Armenian-American community in my campaign and as the next President of the United States.



John McCain