Vietnamese immigrants support McCain

Houston Chronicle:

Alvin Dieu Van Nguyen escaped Vietnam on a U.S. Navy ship the day before Saigon fell in 1975. He was 16 years old.

Thirty-three years later, tears welled in his eyes as he watched a CNN documentary about former Navy fighter pilot John McCain's five-year imprisonment and torture by the North Vietnamese in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."

"That broke my heart," said Nguyen, now a 49-year-old dentist living in Missouri City.

He pledged his vote to the Arizona senator on the spot.

"John McCain is our hero," Nguyen explained. "We feel we owe him a lot for his sacrifice in our country, and we have to pay it back to him, you know?"

With just a handful of days left before Election Day, polls show Democrat Sen. Barack Obama leading Republican Sen. McCain nationally and in many battleground states. But the Illinois senator trails his GOP rival in one demographic with strong personal ties to McCain: Vietnamese-Americans.

Though an overwhelming majority of Asian-Americans support Obama for president, Vietnamese-Americans like Nguyen are much more likely to vote for McCain, 51 percent to 24 percent, according to a recent national survey by university researchers. About a quarter of respondents were undecided.

The Houston area — home to the nation's second-largest Vietnamese community after Southern California — is no exception to feeling a bond with McCain.

Last Friday, more than 600 Vietnamese gathered at Ocean Palace Restaurant on the southwest side to honor Vietnam War veterans and rally for McCain. The event raised $13,501 in campaign donations.

"I always feel a Vietnam veteran deserves our love, our support and our honor from the bottom of our hearts," said Nguyen's wife, Dieuthao. "They fought for us, they sacrificed their lives for us, they were prisoners of war for us, so we support them no matter what party, because they have given us a lot already."

...

I am pretty sure they did not have the same respect and love for John Kerry. Kerry, of course wanted to abandon Vietnam the way Obama wanted to abandon Iraq. The fact is that Democrats can not be trusted on national security issues and Vietnamese know that by an awful experience. I know I have never forgiven the Democrats for their disastrous policies on Vietnam. I was one of those people who fought there. I still resent John Kerry's slanders and the congressional Democrats' craven retreat.

When these Vietnamese recognize the sacrifice of McCain they honor the efforts of other veterans. They also recognize the pain and suffering that a brutal enemy imposed on the people of Vietnam.

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