July 24, 2008

The right wingers have been trying to find something to attack Obama with since his trip has been so successful. Once again they look foolish.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama dropped a plan to visit wounded U.S. troops in Germany on Friday amid concerns the stop would be viewed as a political event.

Planning for a stop at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center had been in the works for three weeks. But an Obama adviser said he was told in recent days by the Pentagon that the military would consider it a campaign event.

"Senator Obama had hoped to and had every intention of visiting our troops to express his appreciation and gratitude for their service to our country," said retired Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, who advises Obama on national security matters.

"Senator Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perceived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go," Gration said.

The Pentagon, in a statement, cited longstanding Defense Department policy that prohibits military personnel or facilities from association with partisan political campaigns and elections.

Any candidate would go out of his way to make a trip like this. Hey, guess what? The same thing happened to McCain:

From CNN:

With Department of Defense rules prohibiting political campaigning on military bases, it was determined that in some cases McCain could visit the installations as a senator but could not engage in any political activity or have news media present. McCain campaign officials said Thursday they intentionally did not campaign on military property.

"We follow the rules," said senior McCain adviser Steve Schmidt.

Red State's Erick Erickson looks really foolish with his graphic contest, but it's Red State. RedState Graphic Design Contest 3: Obama Ditches Wounded Troops For Shopping in Berlin.

There was also another smear against Obama that has been debunked too.

Army officials refute claim of Barack Obama snub in Afghanistan.

My good pal Ed really can't back this overwrought statement up over at Hot Air.

This makes the decision track very clear. Obama and his team set up the visits to military installations before going overseas. After seeing how the media got excluded in Iraq and Afghanistan, they decided it wasn't worth traveling to Ramstein and Landstuhl to visit the severely wounded troops because they couldn't bring the campaign and get the photo ops they wanted. Instead, Obama went shopping in Berlin.

I do admit that he would know a lot about photo ops being a Bush supporter and all. Greg Sargent confirmed with the Pentagon that: Pentagon Confirms That It Told Obama He Couldn't Visit Army Base With Campaign Staff

I've just gotten clarification from the Pentagon on what really happened with regard to Barack Obama's canceled visit to an Army base in Germany, something the McCain campaign has been using to hit Obama since yesterday.

A Pentagon spokesperson confirms to me that because of longstanding Department of Defense regulations, Pentagon officials told Obama aides that he couldn't visit the base with campaign staff. This left Obama with little choice but to cancel the trip, since the plan to visit with campaign aides had been in the works for weeks.

Late Update: In fairness, the Obama campaign's first statement should have been clearer about what happened, but the larger point is that the McCain campaign criticism appears unfounded.

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