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Land, Ho? Try Landstuhl, No!

Well, it's taken about a week or so for enough details to emerge about Senator Obama's canceled visit to the hospital for American troops in Landstuhl, Germany, and it's a smidgen more complicated than originally presented -- and, as is eminently predictable, falls pretty well between the two sides who first started tussling about it.

As a bit of backdrop, it's become customary for government officials to visit troops who have been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush has made numerous trips to Walter Reed, and has met with families of those killed in action. He's also hosted quite a few wounded vets at the White House.

It's also become customary (backed up by military regulations) for these visits to be kept largely free of publicity and politics. The only time I can think of Bush's actions in this area getting much attention was when it came out that Cindy "Momma Moonbat" Sheehan, who was demanding a meeting with President Bush, had actually had one, and one time President Bush kept a promise he made during one visit and went for a jog with a soldier who had lost a leg in Afghanistan.

It isn't just Bush who does these visits. A lot of Senators and Representatives also make these calls, all quietly. Senators McCain and Obama have both been to Walter Reed hospital many times, and during his recent visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama visited with wounded soldiers.

So, what the hell happened in Germany?

It appears to be a case of the Obama camp's ineptitude more than anything else.

Obama's people contacted the Pentagon about the visit, and got the go-ahead. No problems there.

It wasn't until the two parties actually got ready to go that the Pentagon sent up a red flag. These visits are not for the politician's entire entourage, just the official and a couple of aides. And the Obama camp thought it would be good for them to bring along one guy who is a veteran, and advises Obama on military matters. On the surface, not a bad idea. Obama has no military experience of his own (even Bill Clinton, with his brief flirtation with ROTC, had more military experience than Obama), so having someone with him who "speaks military" would probably be helpful.

The problem is that this guy (whose name, I believe, has not been reported) was not a member of Obama's Senate staff, but his campaign staff. The presence of a campaign official on this trip ran the risk of making the visit look like a campaign exercise, and that is a major no-no.

At that point, the Obama camp had a choice to make: leave behind the campaign official, or blow off the trip entirely.

They chose poorly.

They chose to make the aide's presence the deal-breaker, and Obama spent the time slotted for the trip either shooting hoops or playing tourist.

Let's make one thing clear: it's now apparent that the presence of the press was never an issue. I suspect that this confusion began with the Pentagon citing the regulations governing such visits, and two big rules of them are that they are not to be used for political gain or publicity. That means no press or political operatives -- just the official and those who serve that official in an... er, official capacity. Senators? Fine. Senate staffers? Fine, but only a few. Political officials? Nope. Press? Nope.

The Obama camp didn't exactly help itself. They issued a fairly terse statement, stating that they had chosen to cancel the trip because the Pentagon excluded a campaign official, then said very little -- hoping it would go away.

So here we see this was not an example of Obama's disdain for the troops, or his demanding that the visit be properly publicized, or be used for political gain. Nor is it an example of the Pentagon "double-crossing" Obama, of Bush ordering that his visit be sabotaged to make him look bad.

In the end, it's yet another example of the Obama camp showing incredibly poor judgment (the characteristic that Obama touts as his greatest strength). No one in the Obama ever thought that having a guy who works for his presidential campaign accompany him on an official senatorial function trip would be seen as questionable. No one connected the dots betwen the Pentagon's long-standing rule of "no political operatives" and the fact that, apparently, the only veterans around Obama work for his campaign and not his Senate office. And when that blew up in their faces, they didn't say "OK, buddy, you stay on the plane while the Senator goes to the hospital" but instead said "fine, we can't bring the veteran - slash - political operative, we ain't going."

I happen to think that these kinds of visits are essential for our elected officials. They should look in the eyes of our wounded troops (or, in some tragic cases, hold the hands of those who have lost their eyes) and see the real cost of the decisions they make. They should know that real human beings carry out -- and pay the price -- for the policies they set. It is, I suspect, a very humbling and very somber experience, and no one who wants to be Commander in Chief should avoid it.

To their credit, both Senators McCain and Obama have done just that, on numerous occasions. Senator McCain has an advantage, having been in the place of these young men and women, but I have tremendous respect for both men for doing this -- and believe they will continue. And as I said, Obama did visit with wounded troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the skipping of the visit in Germany really isn't much of a thing.

Except he had promised to do so, and didn't.

He let a very minor, very trivial matter -- the presence or exclusion of a specific single aide -- become a deal breaker, and blew off meeting with those troops recuperating in Germany. And I am certain that some of them were looking forward to meeting him.

That was the wrong decision, and it was one that he didn't need to make. It was, in a sports metaphor, an "unforced error," and it showed yet again that the guy just isn't ready for prime time.

No matter how much some Europeans seem to love him.


Comments (38)

I also agree that this was ... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:

I also agree that this was a poor campaign decision and not indicative of Obama's overall opinion of veterans - which I have every reason to believe is a good one.

His campaign simply "overanalyzed" the decision and ended up making a foolish and unnecessary tactical error.

JT, good back story. Howeve... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

JT, good back story. However, Obama not only showed bad judgement, but how poorly he makes decisions. Even is his handlers said he couldn't take in an aide, he should have just said "Oh well, I'll be right back, I'm going in." That would be an Obama with backbone. He and his staff did not get their way, so they left. ww

This is pretty much the con... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

This is pretty much the conclusion I've come to. But I gotta tell you, it took a lot of reading, getting past all the vitriol and crazy assumptions by both sides and weirdly enough, an attack on Cindy McCain for not visiting the troops in Landstuhl to find out what happened.

What made me think the visit was a last minute decision is the fact that he chose not to go because his adviser was not permitted to be part of the visit. Now this is just a guess but I would imagine that if he had planned it ahead of time he would have had to submit the names of the people he intended to bring with him and would have known that his adviser did not meet requirements.

There's a rule in many hospitals that only immediate family are permitted to visit a critical patient. In this case my neighbor would not be permitted to bring me to visit her mother in ICU. I wouldn't even consider an argument even if I'd known her mother for forty years. I'd back off and say, "Visit your mother and I'll wait and meet up with you later." Didn't Obama's adviser offer that option knowing he couldn't be part of the group? I don't know.

My example is not the same as visiting wounded troops. None of these guys are family members. It's only to demonstrate an observance of rules and what would have been the right thing to do.

Gibbs led the press to believe that the Pentagon actually discouraged Obama from making the trip and is utter bull****. Gibbs is a senior campaign strategist for Obama. So much for strategy. And so much for his campaign staff's "advising".

Now before someone trots out the "he would have been criticized for going or not going" remark, I would only ask, "Which would you rather be criticized for; doing the right thing or the wrong thing?"

And this is why I read wizb... (Below threshold)

And this is why I read wizbang. Thanks Jay.

Any chance there is a left-leaning blog/new source ANYWHERE that has approached this story with a similair amount of objectivity? Yeah, right, who am I kidding?

The information about the m... (Below threshold)
epador:

The information about the military veteran campaign fellow has been out there from the second day, but there has been so much static surrounding it, that it has indeed taken a while for it to be more visible. However, I'm suspicious that there is still more to the story - for and against Obama -than has been outlined here. Some may never see the light of day.

Why was this chosen as his FIRST visit to a military hospital? I do believe that besides DC, he's been near San Antonio, San DIego, Seattle, (maybe not Hawaii, though you'd think he'd go "home" for nostalgia sake somewhere on the campaign trail) all other important medical hubs for the military wounded)? I say first, not because I've checked, but the issue should have come up before if he had.

The campaign aide HAD to have known he'd be excluded if he had any credible length of military service in an administrative position. So just what IS his background (all the reports I've seen refer to a guy, no name I've seen, though there is no reason a veteran has to be male)?

If Obama has NO military advisors in his regular staff, how does he come off having such clear plans for what we should be doing militarily (before his Presidential campaign, especially)?

Was Obama "set up" for a fall? Really, I can't imagine anyone guessing he'd balk over a campaign aide, but maybe there is a really psychic person in Landstuhl who saw it all laid out and delayed raising the red flag on this guy until the last minute. If there is, I think they either deserve a ribbon or a promotion, with a transfer to NSA.

Actually, there's still mor... (Below threshold)

Actually, there's still more to this. For example, Obama's spokesman had this to say about why he didn't go alone: "Even him going alone would likely be characterized by some as a political event," Gibbs said in an interview on Monday, adding, "He decided not to put the troops in that position." Yet Obama had just visited wounded troops in Afghanistan - so this explanation clearly rings hollow. This whole deal still isn't out, no one is being completely honest, and the military, being the military, will not be likely to volunteer any extra information, if they have any. More:

"That ad is a dishonest and disreputable and dishonorable ad -- it's not worthy of Senator McCain," Craig said. "If we had gone and seen the troops, he would have criticized us for politicizing and exploiting the troops for political advantage. We decided that was something we did not want to be criticized for." This is untrue - McCain didn't cricize Obama for visiting the troops in Afghanistan, did he? And this hasn't helped: The Obama campaign has given shifting explanations for canceling the visit.

Yes, I'm picking on the Obama side of the story here, because Jay Tea has already done a good job pecking away at the McCain side. I suspect this will fade away since nobody is in the right on this - not the candidates and not the media. Apparently the McCain didn't run the ad much. Also, having the media 'fact check' campaign ads is hilarious. McCain ads are picked apart as if they're programming code - Ooops, he had a semicolon wrong there - FAIL! Witness their attack on the ad saying that he chose to go to the gym, etc instead of visiting the troops. These were publicized things that Obama DID do, maybe not in the EXACT time slot where the visit was supposed to be, but, c'mon, is no artistic license permitted? To be completely fair the ad would have said "Obama chose to do an interview with CNN, instead." Would they prefer that? That actually would have better fit the Obama/media love thing that also dogs the New Age Messiah. And we all know how heavily Obama and his campaign are scrutinized by the press (stop laughing!). I'd be content with the picking of McCain's nits as long as they go after the ones on Obama, as well.

even Bill Clinton, with ... (Below threshold)

even Bill Clinton, with his brief flirtation with ROTC, had more military experience than Obama

And don't forget as governor of Arkansas, Clinton was commander of the Arkansas National Guard. I remember that being brought up by his supporters during his presidential campaign.

I would say this is a whole... (Below threshold)
JFO:

I would say this is a whole lot of kerfuffle about nothing. Some on the right would like to use it as a measure of Obama's judgment and decision making ability. Some on the left view it as an opportunity for those on the right to attack Obama. I think both sides are wrong.

II, for one, would much rather discuss Obama's and McCain's judgments about things like the economy, the military, Iraq, the Middle East the trade deficit, foreign relations et al.

This is the negative of the 24 hour news cycle - big deals made about pointless and trivial issues that have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not our future president is going to be capable of leading this country.

I just wish we (everyone) could get into the substance of these candidates and leave this kind of bullshit behind.

I just wish we (everyone... (Below threshold)

I just wish we (everyone) could get into the substance of these candidates and leave this kind of bullshit behind.

So, you think that although he clearly lacks the judgement to make clear simple, seemingly small decisions properly, he somehow posses the ability to make judgments about things like the economy, the military, Iraq, the Middle East the trade deficit, foreign relations et al. ?

Really?

Falze, you might think the ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Falze, you might think the media is just dissecting McCain's ads--and rightly so, as they're awfully misleading and dishonest--but in so doing, they are airing the ads for free. At no expense to the GOP or to McCain's campaign.

That's something to pout about?

Well you see Clancy it's yo... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Well you see Clancy it's your opinion he made an incorrect judgment. That's all it is, your opinion. And if you get all wound up about a campaign visit decision I see you as one of those who just doesn't want to debate issues.

Always funny when the liber... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Always funny when the liberals, who always attack, diminish and label people they disagree with as incompetent fools, try to chastise us by not focusing on the substance now that it is their guy being gored. Toughen up guys, it is going to get very rough. If you can't take it, go to Wizbangblue. ww

As usual, you missed the po... (Below threshold)

As usual, you missed the point of a comment. Whatever happened to those RIF ads on TV?

The whole incident reflects... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

The whole incident reflects the attitude of the Chosen One and his people. 'You do it my way, or it doesn't get done'.

So, then, JFO, what's YOUR ... (Below threshold)

So, then, JFO, what's YOUR opinion? Based on the facts that have emerged, do you think he made the right judgment? And if so, why?

Come on, JFO, stick your neck out a little.

J.

Assuming your facts are cor... (Below threshold)
JFO:

Assuming your facts are correct - and there are those disagree with your version of the facts - then it was an error in judgment.

But tell me what that has to do with his qualification to be president. These guys, and I include McCain, are not perfect. People make mistakes - some egregious, others minimal. The right and the news media get all worked up over a toilet in the wrong place in Portland and then this kerfuffle as if these things have anything whatsoever to do with ability to lead.

For god's sakes people on the left and the media get all bent out of shape when McCain misspeaks as if these guys are supposed to be perfect in every way. All I'm saying is lets judge these 2 men on their positions and, yes, their judgements on issues that mean something.

My understanding is that th... (Below threshold)

My understanding is that the campaign official was MG(Ret.) Jake Gration, who at one time served as executive officer to Merrill (v-neck) McPeak.

To reiterate--there was ... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

To reiterate--there was NO reason Obama couldn't have visited those troops at Landstuhl.

Simply put, his patriotism wasn't strong enough to overcome the lack of a photo-op.

It's absurd to make a state... (Below threshold)
JFO:

It's absurd to make a statement that he didn't want to visit the troops in the hospital as he has done so in the past. The ridiculous ad by McCain complained about him playing basketball as they showed him playing basketball with troops. Duh.

Again, the entire kerfuffle is absurd - let them debate the issues so that the country can make a reasoned choice. The patriotism card isn't going to play with anyone but the fringe.

Hussein O has visited Walte... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

Hussein O has visited Walter Reid many times? When? He admits to and hypes one secret visit, can you document more? Hussein O respects the veterans, when? When he needs their vote for the first time in his racist political career.

Hussein O does't look like the other presidents on our currency, his statement. That will change if he's elected POTUS, his picture will be on every bill of every denomination. His type leaders always do that.

The fact is Hussein O could... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

The fact is Hussein O could have visited the troops in the hospital, he just couldn't take his campaign staff of CBS,ABC, and NBC reporters with him. Photo's would have been provided by Official military photo's. He could have taken some of his Senate Staff with him, but they stated none were on the 'campaign' tour. That makes Hussein O responsible for the entire cost of his campaign tour (guess the reimbursement check for all expenses the military incurred is in the mail), not. If his campaign does not pay the entire cost of the trip they're rip off of taxpayer money makes Cold Cash Jefferson (unnamed party) and Stevens (R) Alaska, look like children stealing candy.

let them debate the issu... (Below threshold)

let them debate the issues so that the country can make a reasoned choice.

except of course Obama doesn't want to debate McCain, at least not in environments that aren't hyper-controlled

People like or dislike Obam... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

People like or dislike Obama, but nobody likes McCain. He's unlikeable. His campaign is completely incoherent. Barack is a celebrity--so what? Popularity is a bad thing? Jack Cafferty said there were probably more people in Berlin listening to Barack speak than there have been in total at every one of McCain's rallies.

Seriously, is Rick Davis the worst campaigner in history?

Scrapiron, just curious, what do you mean by this?: His type leaders always do that. Do you mean black leaders, or educated leaders? Ignorant son of a bitch.

hyperbolistWhat do... (Below threshold)
JFO:

hyperbolist

What do you expect from these people? Here's a statement I made in a post which got 11 NEGATIVE votes from these folks:


"I just wish we (everyone) could get into the substance of these candidates and leave this kind of bullshit behind."

Obviously most of these people are interested in bullshit games about the candidates than the substantive issues involving the candidates. Could it be because this is the residence of the 20%(ers)?

Jay, your post suffers from... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Jay, your post suffers from a lack of basic facts, and from an invention of facts where they are not known.

First of all, the man you derisively describe as "one guy who is a veteran... this guy (whose name, I believe, has not been reported)" was in fact reported, and is Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration. But he's just some guy.

They chose to make the aide's presence the deal-breaker

Really? So you know that Obama said "if Gration can't go them I'm not going"? Or is that one of the things you're making up? Because the Obama camp says that Gration's rejection made them worry about the appearances of whether the trip would be seen as political, and the decision was based on that concern.

You may consider that a poor decision, but nowhere is it suggested that the inability to bring Gration was a "deal-breaker".

Obama spent the time slotted for the trip either shooting hoops or playing tourist.

Are you basing this claim on anything? Because the "shooting hoops" shown in McCain's ad turns out to have been from Obama's earlier visit to Kuwait, not from Germany. (Never mind the fact that it was a single shot SURROUNDED BY TROOPS after giving a speech there.)

then said very little -- hoping it would go away

Hoping it would go away? How about "not expecting that anyone would make it into such a big deal and run TV ads containing lies about it"?

And that's really your biggest blunder here. A whole post acknowledging how McCain got everything wrong, and not a single admonition towards him for it. You go after not the people who made the false allegations, but those who failed to competently rebut them. I can see why, though, since you repeat some of the false ones yourself.

Although curiously, the biggest falsehood levied against Obama, that he canceled because of no press being allowed, is the one you prominently acknowledge to be false, you offer no argument to suggest the appearance of its truth came from the Obama camp, and yet you still say nothing about McCain charging him falsely with this, with malicious intent. (Hmm, I believe you even had a name for that kind of thing at one point in time.)

Assuming your facts are ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Assuming your facts are correct - and there are those disagree with your version of the facts - then it was an error in judgment.

But tell me what that has to do with his qualification to be president. -JFO

JFO, since Obama has a pretty short resume and zero executive experience, his judgment and character are the center of his qualifications. What other predictors do we have of what he would do in future situations?

Is one poor choice enough disqualify him? Certainly not this one. However, the totality of poor choices does tend to stack up.

JFO,You 11 negative ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

JFO,
You 11 negative votes may have been based on 2 things, in conjunction
1) Reflex. You've just got that reputation
2) Maybe people, like the very next commenter, disagree with your notion that you can be wrong about the small foundational decisions and still be expected to make the right calls when things get complicated and the stakes are higher.

hyperbolistWh... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
hyperbolist

What do you expect from these people? Here's a statement I made in a post which got 11 NEGATIVE votes from these folks:


"I just wish we (everyone) could get into the substance of these candidates and leave this kind of bullshit behind."

Obviously most of these people are interested in bullshit games about the candidates than the substantive issues involving the candidates. Could it be because this is the residence of the 20%(ers)?

JFO,

Congratulations on destroying your own argument.

I happen to agree with you that most of what we hear about and from both candidates is BS. At worst I would categorize Obama's failure to visit the troops as poor decision-making.

As Oyster said earlier:

Now before someone trots out the "he would have been criticized for going or not going" remark, I would only ask, "Which would you rather be criticized for; doing the right thing or the wrong thing?"

So I DON'T think it is the sign that we should not vote for him.

The only SILLIER thing than judging Obama on that one incident would be to Judge "most of these people" based on - of all things - a negative rating on a post.

Who the hell cares how a post is rated?

If you honestly believe the BS should be left out this discussion, then LEAVE the the BS out this discussion.


If JFO had, at some point, ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

If JFO had, at some point, since I don't know when, treated people here with some modicum of respect they might not be inclined to vote his comments down at the mere sight of his name. I don't think I have to go back and dredge up all his vitriol to prove the point and post links. This comment would be longer than one of Paul Hooson's. Hell, I'm inclined to go vote all his comments down myself now. Just for giggles.

This was always a "no win" ... (Below threshold)

This was always a "no win" situation for Obama. If he was seen campaigning at a hospital for wounded servicemen, then he would be seen as exploiting them for campaign purposes. If he didn't go, then right wing cranks would make an issue over it.

Hey maybe Mr. McCain should campaign next to coffins of American servicemen just to outdo Obama. You think? There's such a thing as good taste you know, and Obama chose not to exploit the wounded during a trip that was sponsored and paid for by his campaign.

a little quick to pull out ... (Below threshold)
ke_future:

a little quick to pull out the racist card aren't we, hyperasshole.

when i read that comment, my initial thought was that scrapiron was talking about personality cult leaders. which obama is.

to be honest, i rarely think about obama's race. except when you turds on the left just have to point out that he's (half) black and so any criticsm of him is of course racist.

Scrapiron has never demonst... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Scrapiron has never demonstrated the requisite intellect to discuss "personality cult leaders". Stop sticking up for stupid people, it makes you look stupid.

This was always a ... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
This was always a "no win" situation for Obama. If he was seen campaigning at a hospital for wounded servicemen, then he would be seen as exploiting them for campaign purposes. If he didn't go, then right wing cranks would make an issue over it.

You still don't get it, do you?

The issue is why does Obama need to be seen visiting the troops at all?

Why couldn't Obama just visit the troops?

It's not the hard of a concept to understand.

Perhaps, if you had actually done something to support the troops, you would understand that Obama could have visited the troops at any time he chose. He could have told people he had done so or he could have declined to tell people anything about the visit whatsoever.

The troops he visited, however, would have known that he visitited them.

Again, if you had spent anytime listening to the troops or reading the Miliblogs, you would know that information about those visits is circulated among the troops and their families. (Could it be that you have such a poor opinion of our military personnel you assume they wouldn't be honest about it.)

Robin Williams, for one, is not a supporter of the war, but, nonetheless has made multiple extended visits to the troops and in situations where he could be in actual harm. He gets it. You can support the troops while disagreeing with the war. HE doesn't publicize what he does - those who appreciate his efforts get the word out.

If you are doing the "right" thing, who cares if you get "points" for it.

Had Obama just gone to the base, it would have taken a few hours out of his day. Instead, he and/or his campaign "overmanaged" the decision trying to make some elusive "point" about the situation and has subsequently had to spend far more time in response to the issue than simply going would have cost them.

It was a poor use of time, resources and goodwill.

Hey maybe Mr. McCain should campaign next to coffins of American servicemen just to outdo Obama. You think? There's such a thing as good taste you know, and Obama chose not to exploit the wounded during a trip that was sponsored and paid for by his campaign.

Are you saying that Obama would have willing to exploit the wounded if the taxpayers had paid for the trip?

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!

And you support someone who would do that??????

;-)

Visiting the troops was a no-brainer and the right thing to do.

Obama and/or his campaign needlessly screwed up a simple decision.

Paul, you can spin it till the cows come home, but he made the wrong choice.

"If he was seen campaign... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"If he was seen campaigning at a hospital for wounded servicemen, then he would be seen as exploiting them for campaign purposes."

That's one of the major points of this whole mess. Campaigning at these hospitals is completely and absolutely taboo. It's not permitted to exploit one's position in this manner. OhioVoter is right. "If he was seen campaigning" is a moot point.

That's been said over and over here. Did you somehow miss that?

OhioVoter, you do know thar... (Below threshold)

OhioVoter, you do know thar Obama did visit with some soldiers in Iraq, but simply didn't exploit the wounded at an Army hospital because of good taste and because his campaign was paying for the tour. The Obama Campaign made the best compromise to show support for the troops while not exploiting the wounded for campaign purposes that it possiby could. What would you do?

Seems like there's another ... (Below threshold)
Maggie:
Wow Hooson, you just accept... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Wow Hooson, you just accept every bit of propraganda the Obama campaign spews at face value. It's quite aparent you lack critial thinking skills.

Your comments (and Obama's soaring rhetorical speeches) remind me of a Ben Franklin quote:

"A flood of words without a drop of reason"

OhioVoter, you do ... (Below threshold)
OhioVoter:
OhioVoter, you do know thar Obama did visit with some soldiers in Iraq, but simply didn't exploit the wounded at an Army hospital because of good taste and because his campaign was paying for the tour.

I find it fascinating that you don't seem to have the ability to understand how someone can do the right thing just to do the right thing.

The choice Obama had was not "Should I exploit the troops today or should I not exploit the troops today?"

The choice was "Should I sacrifice some personal time and effort with absolutely no thought to "get" something out of it for myself in order to thank some individuals for making extreme sacrifices for their country or should I not?'

Regardless of his reason for his decision, his answer was "No, I should not sacrifice some personal time and effort with no thought of getting something out of it for myself."

So, we have dispensed with the bogus "good taste" claim.

As to "the campaign was paying for the tour" ... that argument has NEVER made sense. Obama could have slipped in and out of the base without making news regardless of who paid for his plane.

The Obama Campaign made the best compromise to show support for the troops..

Are you insinuating that, since he talked to some of "those" people (soldiers) in Iraq, he had done his duty? Are you sure you want to use condescension as a defense?

... while not exploiting the wounded for campaign purposes that it possiby could.

Again, you really can't see that most people would NOT have framed the choice as "exploit or not exploit them today" can you?

What would you do?

Well, the first thing I would have done when I knew that I was going to Germany would have been to call the volunteers at the military hospital that I had met on my previous 8 or 10 visits to the base and asked them if there was something I could the the military personnel that they were in need of at that time.

(I know Obama hasn't visited the base before this trip, but I would have if given the same opportunity he had.)

I confess, I probably would have connected with some people from my district to see if they wanted to help provide home made blankets or phone cards or anything else to brighten up the lives of the military personnel. I also might have sought out a celebrity or two to send along and cheer up the folks.

I then would have sent all that ahead so that it could be distributed to those who needed it - out of my own pocket if necessary.

Then, I would have talked with the powers that be at the military hospital and asked what was the best way for me to visit the troops without creating undue hardship on them.

Then I would do what they asked even if it meant I walked in alone in the middle of the night and no one, but the troops, ever knew that I was there.

(But then, I am not Obama. Visiting the troops and providing them support is more important that anything I stood to gain from it.)




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