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Friday, July 25, 2008

Barack Obama Has Time For Berlin Speech, But Cancels Trip To Meet Troops

[Updated and Bumped] July 25, 2008- The Politico reports that the Pentagon reminded Obama that if he wanted to visit the troops, he could, without his entourage of photographers and, no photo op, no media, no visit to the troops.

Chief Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed to Politico that Department of Defense officials cautioned Barack Obama's campaign that his planned visit to wounded American troops in Germany could not be political in nature and that he would be barred from bringing along campaign staff and reporters. He also said that Cindy McCain recently requested to visit sailors aboard the U.S.N.S. Comfort and was denied.

"Sen. Obama is welcome to visit Landstuhl or any military hospital in his official capacity as a United States senator," Morrell said in a brief interview. "But there is a DOD policy which governs campaigning and electioneering at military facilities that would have to be respected if he were to visit. That distinction was relayed and made clear to campaign, and they made a decision on their own based on that guidance."

Morrell, in a subsequent interview, added that military officials told Obama he could only visit the military facility with his Secret Service detail and Senate staff.

"We made it clear to him that campaign staff and press would not be permitted to accompany him," Morrell said of Obama. "We relayed those ground rules. They made a choice based upon the information we relayed to them. It was their choice. We had nothing to do with it."

Original article dated July 24, 2008.
The other day Brat wrote, here at Wake up America, about Barack Obama snubbing our military in Afghanistan, and today there are reports that while Obama had plenty of time to give his much awaited speech to the people of Germany, he canceled his trip to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases.

Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The visits were planned for Friday, yet the a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced today that "Barack Obama will not be coming to us, I don't know why."

Shortly before that announcement the same spokeswoman had announced a planned visit by Obama.

The Politico points out, this is not good "optics".

The optics here are not good: Obama has time to get in a workout and give a speech to a crowd mostly comprised of Europeans, but can't be bothered to visit American troops wounded in action recovering at a military hospital.

The reasoning from the Obama campaign, via spokesman Robert Gibbs, is "The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign."

It is also being reported that although Obama's plans are subject to change, he extended his trip to Germany by a couple of hours before heading off to France but not to visit the military bases.