SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — Democrat Barack Obama on Monday promised Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans help with their grievances — save one.

"I know it drives you nuts. But I'm not going to lower the drinking age," the presidential candidate said.

Army veteran Ernest Johnson, 23, of Connecticut, said one of the things that peeved him before he turned 21 was that he couldn't come home and drink a beer — even though he was old enough to serve in the armed services and die for his country.

Obama told Johnson he sympathized, but that setting the legal drinking age at 21 had helped reduce drunken-driving incidents and should remain.

The Illinois senator was taping a round-table discussion with eight veterans that is to be broadcast by MTV on the fifth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war.