Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
John McCain has begun airing a new attack ad against Barack Obama which demonstrates that he has crossed over to the dark side and adopted Karl Rove's tactics of the "politics of personal destruction."
The ad criticizes Obama for canceling a trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to visit wounded troops while in Germany.
"Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras," according to the ad. "John McCain is always there for our troops."
McCain himself joined in the rebuke, saying in an interview on ABC's This Week that "if I had been told by the Pentagon that I couldn't visit those troops, and I was there and wanted to be there, I guarantee you, there would have been a seismic event."
As reported by Greg Sargent earlier this week TPM Election Central | Talking Points Memo | Pentagon Confirms That It Told Obama He Couldn't Visit Army Base With Campaign S.:
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.
The Obama campaign yesterday announced that it had decided to cancel the visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, saying that it would be "inappropriate" to make such a visit as part of a campaign trip.
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But it turns out that the Pentagon did in fact tell Obama that in this case, it was not only "inappropriate," but against DoD rules, for him to conduct the visit with campaign staff.
"We have longstanding Department of Defense policy in regards to political campaigns and elections," Pentagon spokesperson Elizabeth Hibner told me. "We informed the Obama staff that he was more than welcome to visit as Senator Obama, with Senate staff. However, he could not conduct the visit with campaign staff."
After being told this, the Obama campaign announced yesterday that it had decided it was "inappropriate" to make the visit as part of a campaign trip.
It's unclear how Obama could have made the visit at all, given the Pentagon's directives. No Senate staff was on the trip, and the Obama camp says they received the Pentagon's directives on Wednesday, after they were already abroad.
Greg Sargent concluded that the McCain campaign criticism appeared unfounded.
Brandon Friedman from VoteVets.org points out that "The problem here is that the McCain campaign was denied a visit to a military base under the same policy back in April." VetVoice:: McCain's Double Standard on Campaign Visits to Military Bases Says Friedman:
I understand that the McCain campaign is disorganized and pathologically clueless when it comes to utilizing the media, but they're clearly being dishonest in this case. McCain is demonstrably criticizing Obama for following a Pentagon rule to which the McCain campaign itself has been subjected recently. That's a fact. So this seems to be a simple cheap shot at Obama, in the hopes that the media won't be internet savvy enough (i.e., able to use Google) to figure out the whole story.
"We follow the rules," Steve Schmidt from the McCain campaign said.
Exactly. And they have no problem attacking Obama for doing the same. That's the very definition of "double standard."
Regardless, the Pentagon will now be under more pressure to keep the playing field even--and to keep the policy consistent on both sides.
The Obama campaign response to McCain's baseless attack ad is reported at Americablog McCain launches negative ad based on lie: The new Karl Rove version of John McCain is now on full display:
The Obama campaign sent out this response:
“John McCain is an honorable man who is running an increasingly dishonorable campaign. Senator McCain knows full well that Senator Obama strongly supports and honors our troops, which is what makes this attack so disingenuous. Senator Obama was honored to meet with our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan this week and has visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed numerous times. This politicization of our soldiers is exactly what Senator Obama sought to avoid, and it's not worthy of Senator McCain or the 'civil' campaign he claimed he would run,” said Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor.
This whole incident has the smell of a set up to me. As reported at the The Jed Report , AMERICAblog's Joe Sudbay documents that one of the key DoD spokesmen pushing the attack on Barack Obama for not visiting wounded troops at Landstuhl is Bryan Whitman, who has a history of pursuing attacks against Barack Obama.
My personal favorite part of Whitman's on-the-record quote is "quite frankly, I expected them to have the visit." First, in Washington, DC "quite frankly" means "I'm lying." Second, if, as he claims, he just told "them" that they couldn't make a political visit, why in the world would he expect them to visit?
It's quite stunning that reporters continue to treat a guy like Whitman as if he is an honest broker instead of a political operator. Consider:
- Whitman was a key source in blowing up the story of Iranian boats who were said to have threatened an attack on U.S. Navy vessels. It turned out the story was fake.
- Whitman helped misrepresent the story of Jessica Lynch, a key part of the government's early propaganda for the Iraq war.
- Whitman was a leading defender of managing the initial coverage of the Iraq war through the "embedded" reporter policy.
- Whitman defended restricting press access to photos of the coffins of fallen soldiers returning to the United States from war zones, even when no family or personally identifiable features were present.
Finally, you can also included former ABC reporter Geoff Morrell on the list of hacks at the Pentagon: he's now the DoD's top spokesman, and, predictably, has turned against Obama.
So let's review. Barack Obama showed respect for our wounded troops by not wanting to use them as campaign props, as George Bush has done ad nauseam to his great discredit and dishonor. (By the way, Obama made telephone calls to the troops he was not permitted to visit in person, something the McMedia has failed to report). But John McCain did not hesitate to use wounded troops to smear Obama with a personal attack. The man is shameless.