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Democratic candidate hopes Republican veterans win their races

She said lawmakers need to set aside the political “crap” when discussing military options, something veterans are particularly well-equipped to do.

“We will be paying to care for our nation's veterans and their families of these wars that we're in right now at least for another 80 to 100 years,” she said at a veterans' event hosted by the pro-Democratic Truman National Security Project. “So when we talk about going to war, it cannot be one that is based on 'I am more patriotic than you,' it has to be based on real honest discussions among legislators [about] is this really in America's best interest? And if it is, we'll be there.”

Duckworth is running against incumbent freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.). She's a rising star in the Democratic Party, a young – she was born in 1968 – veteran who lost both her legs when her Black Hawk helicopter was shot down over Iraq in 2004.

She's close to the Obama administration, having served as assistant secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2009 to 2011, and spoke at the 2008 Democratic convention and here in Charlotte on Tuesday evening.

Democrats are relying on her to help blunt Republican attacks on President Obama's national security credentials after he signed into law legislation that would cut defense spending if lawmakers can't figure out another way to cut the deficit.