Veterans took to social media in the wake of Wednesday's Republican presidential debate to complain that the three-hour-plus event included no questions from CNN about their issues.
Veterans were mentioned by only two candidates during the broadcast, neither time in response to a direct question: Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina several times mentioned health care delay problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and business mogul Donald Trump offered a broad promise to improve care for vets.
In the first Republican debate a month earlier, veterans were mentioned only once, in the waning minutes of the event. Many veterans saw that as a slight.
Before the event, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America offered a list of seven veterans-themed questions they hoped to hear at the debate, including "would you privatize the VA" and "how would you provide better care to women veterans."
IAVA officials were dismayed by the silence on the issue in the debate.
Thursday night, at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire, Trump fielded several questions from audience members about the lack of discussion about veterans issues at the debate and on the campaign trail, giving him a chance to offer his own rebuke.
"I asked (CNN) about that," he told the crowd. "Not one question related to veterans health care. And not much related to the military. Believe me, those days are over."
He also promised "more to come" on the issue.
CNN will host the first Democratic candidates debate in Nevada on Oct. 13. About 23 million people watched the network's coverage of the second Republican debate this week.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.