WASHINGTON – Republican White House hopeful John McCain tried to use a bracelet of a fallen U.S. soldier given on the campaign trail to drive home his point that he would not withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timeline.

rtx8yrl.jpgThe mother of a soldier gave him a bracelet andĀ asked him to promise “that you will do everything in your power to make sure my son’s death was not in vain,” McCain said in the first presidential debate, contrasting his views with Democratic rival Barack Obama, who has said he would withdraw forces within 16 months.

Obama shot back that he too had a bracelet from the mother of a soldier who asked that no other mother endure the loss she was experiencing.

“She asked me ‘can you please make sure that another mother is not going through what I’m going through,’” Obama said. “No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain because they are carrying out the missions of their commander in chief.”

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- Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg (McCain and Obama gesture during presidential debate)