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Pentagon tells Obama aide a visit to U.S. base in Germany would be seen as political

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BERLIN--A scheduled visit by presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with U.S. troops Friday at a military base in Rammstein, Germany was canceled after the Pentagon told the campaign it would look too political.

Obama and his campaign entrourage--press, staff and security--was to have flown to Rammstein this morning before heading to Paris to meet with President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace. After the afternoon meeting and press conference, it is wheels up to London.

Though the Rammstein visit had been long planned, Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said that the Pentagon notified Obama military advisor Scott Gration just before the visit that it could be portrayed as political. In light of that, the campaign decided to pull the event.

Obama has been at the base in previous overseas trips. He visited with troops--even played basketball--when he touched down in Kuwait during the Iraq and Afghanistan leg of his swing.

40 Comments

First of all, it is Ramstein Air Base with only one "M". Secondly, and more accurately, Obama was advised of the rules regarding visits to Landtuhl Regional Medical Facility. He was welcome to visit but he would not be allowed to bring campaign staff or reporters. Rather, he was more than welcome to bring his Senate staff aides. Just like any other Senator.

It appears that when Obama realized he wasn't going to get a photo opportunity with our wounded soldiers, he opted out of the visit altogether. Then, apparently, he's got the audacity to blame it on the Pentagon. It was his choice to make and he chose to cancel the visit.

The Troops and Americans got Bushed again! How petty!

It should be ..."were to have flown..."

Senator McCain did exactly the same thing by bypassing a visit to the troops on his trip.  No one questioned him.  It is dishonorable that he would now attack Obama for the same thing.   Senator Obama had every intention of seeing the troops but the Pentagon waited until the last minute to notify him that his visit would look too political.  This is against Pentagon rules.  I understand that Senator Obama did talk to the troops on the phone.  To try to put Obama in a bad light over this shows how little character John McCain really has.I used to like McCain when I only saw his media PR.  The more I got to really know him, the less I liked him.  All he ever does is attack Obama and brag about himself.  He has no substance at all, seems unbalanced, uninformed, explosive and would make a terrible president.  He wouldn't stand a chance if it wasn't for the right-wing media propaganda and lie machine continually muddying the waters with John McCain's filth.

He has already shown he cares more about money than about America, American jobs, and national security.  He's accepted thousands of dollars from Airbus which is connected to EADs with Saudi Emmirants & Russia as part owners.  He wrote 2 letters to the Pentagon telling them to ignore national security when they awarded the tanker contract. His office staff even lobbyied for Airbus, a foreign carrier.  When the contract was awarded to Airbus, Boeing lost 44,000 American jobs. It was so outrageously biased towards Airbus, there were hearings and it was thrown out.  However, in the new bid the pentagon is still not considering national security so I would expect Airbus to still get the contract if McCain becomes President.

McCain has also taken over a million dollars from the oil corporations.  He has no real plan to end our dependence on oil.  That's why he will stay in Iraq indefinitely in order to protect the oil fields for the oil companies he is beholden to.  In fact, they have already been carving up Iraq for themselves.  If he is president don't expect the cost of gas to go down.  The oil companies don't have to sell the oil to America.  They can sell it to China and other countries.  In fact, they recently tried to sell our oil to China but the Dems blocked them.

As far as criticizing Obama for not visiting the troops, Obama has already visited them on previous trips.  Senator Obama is a friend to the veterans, whereas John McCain fought against the veterans bill.  Under pressure he introduced a watered down version which did not pass.  No thanks to McCain the original version did pass.Obama's plan for the veterans is fantastic.  He intends to take care of our heros whereas John McCain has not supported veterans in the past.

As far as the surge goes, it hasn't worked and it will never work. All it has done is cut down on violence which Obama said would happen. The problem is, we can never leave. That isn't a win. A win is when we can leave, there is no more violence, and people can live in peace without fear. It takes a lot more than just a surge to do that. McCain's approach to this war is simplistic and ignorant. With his temperment and lack of sound judgement, he's liable to cause WWIII or cause the whole middle east to blow up in our faces. He was a very poor pilot and made a lot of messes. I don't think his experience gives him any sterling reccomendation to be Comander-in-Chief. He is also too arrogant to listen to sound reason and many retired Generals cringe at the thought of him being in charge. Besides that, he practically finished in last place in his class. Do we really want another below average leader?

With him as leader, we'd best get ready for a draft. When he looked in the camera and said, "I'm going to be your worst enemy" those were not the words of a man who wanted peace. Those are fighting words that make an enemy want to fight back and prepare for war. What would we do if the Iranian leader said the same thing to us? We'd start building up our arsenal right away. Why should they be any different?

So get ready for poverty, depression, and hunger. Our dollar is practically worthless and America is in debt up to its ears. Another war will wipe us out. On top of that this time the bombs will fall over here. With McCain we'll have death and destruction. With Obama we'll have peace and prosperity. He's brilliant enough to work with these nations and bring that peace. It is his finese that has brought Maliki and the others to back him. Its time to get off this nonsense McCain tries to distract us with and start looking at the real issues. Our lives depend on it.

"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."

Military personnel at Ramstein Air Force Base, where the senator was to fly into, had already made arrangements to accommodate Obama's traveling press pack and campaign staff while he visited the wounded troops, Morrell said.

As usual Axelrod lies, soldiers denied..a visit!!!

As usual only half the story told and then shaped to favor obama. He was told he could visit but it could not be a not be a campaign visit (UCMJ). In other words he could visit as a Senator, as all of them can, but could not bring along his love fest press entorauge thereby using it as a campaign visit. Since he could not do use wounded troops to advance his agenda he chose to workout instead. It was his decsion to not visit the troops, not the Pentegons. Nice try though.

Why are you mischaracterizing what actually happened?

OBAMA WAS WELCOME at the hospital.

His "campaign staff" to include the picture takers and videographers intent on making campaign ads, were NOT WELCOME.

There was no "too political" about it.

Obama could have come without the campaign staff. He certainly could have brought a Senate staffer with him--it's not uncommon for a bag-carrier to come along--but his whole campaign promo team? Sorry, no dice.

AXELROD LIED. Go find the quotes from the hospital PAO and the base spokespeople. They were ready and waiting for the SENATOR, just not the CAMPAIGNER.

OBAMA WAS WELCOME--as a US SENATOR, not as a guy seeking the presidency and using the troops for a photo op.

More SPIN from the news idiots. The Pentagon DID NOT SAY, that he "shouldn't come". They sais NO MEDIA, and NO CAMERAS. Apparently, that was more than the Obama campaign was willing to bare. I mean, what's the point of going to see a bunch of wounded 'baby killers', if you can't even get a PHOTO OP out of it? Right, Lynn? Idiot.

As a member of the USAR I an tell you either Ms Sweet is to lazy to research her facts or just doesn't care about facts and decided to spread agenda and screw the facts. Military policy is that candidates on campaign cannot bring cameras in when visiting the soldiers. That rule applied here. The Army welcomes visits just not campaigning.

He couldn't take his entourage, no pictures, why bother. Shame. He could've have made it a private visit. Not a commander at all.Scrape the paint off and he still has no experience to run a starbucks.

There seem to be two stories. The Obama campaign says the military told them they couldn't visit the troops because it would look too pollitical. The military says they told Sen. Obama he was welcome to visit the troops but could not bring his campaign staff and the media to cover the visit.

Seems obvious to me, Senator Obama is only interested in visiting the wounded troops if he can get some video for his campaign.

The candidate of change appears to be nothing but a pant load with a mouth, no substance and very little character.

Lynn,

Very poor and obvious biased reporting. Why not also check with the DoD?

"Sen. Obama is welcome to visit Landstuhl or any military hospital in his official capacity as a United States senator," Geoff Morrell DoD spokesman said. "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."

Press release from the Obama campaign that contradicts the Pentagon explanation, that the Senator cancelled after he was told he was welcome, but no campaigning,. So who do you believe? Can it be that The Senator is one more phoney who doesn't give a damn about our troops except when it serves his purpose?

God and the soldier all men adore
In times of trouble, and no more.
For when wars are over and all things righted,
God is forgotten and the old soldier slighted.

Thanks, Senator. Thanks a lot.

get your facts right and get out of the tank for Obama before you drown,,
"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."

HOPE this has the DLC SELECT candidate reconsidering his move to the center on FISA.
Going to the center merely costs us the base.

You have got to be kidding me! Maybe Barry Obama was afraid a soldier would turn his back on the senator who would not support the troops at every vote. Bring back Hillary.

"Pentagon tells Obama not to visit U.S. troops at German base because it would be too political"

The author of this article is either totally stupid or a bald faced liar.

The military applies the same rule to all politicians who wish to visit with these injured service men & women. They DO NOT allow them to be used as political props.

This is not a fair assessment of what happened. Please visit Jonathan Martin's blog at the Politico. You can find it here: http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0708/DoD_spokesman_says_Obama_camp_was_reminded_of_political_rules.html

At least you could verify the campaign's version of the events with The Pentagon. Evidently Mr. Obama didn't make the visit because he could not make it a photo-op, not vice-versa.

From what I heard, Obama was asked not to bring his campaign staff. Once Obama realized that this trip wouldn't give him a photo opportunity or video for upcoming political ads, he chose not to visit the troops. You can continually spin his actions and intent all you want but voters are wising up to his attitudes toward the military, the war and the country. Print the whole story next time. Everybody knows that the media is overwhemingly pro Obama. It's laughable.

I'm not sure that I understand how the event got as far as it did without the planners having worked this out with the Pentagon. Am I missing something? Did something change at the last minute?

What a spin by Ms. Sweet particularly, since I read that the Pentagon
said he could visit the troops but he could not take his campaign people
or press with him. He would have been allowed to take his Senate staff.

It appears that Mr. Obama chose to not visit the troops because it would not be a photo op. Ms. Sweet's take on the cancelation conveniently mirrors that of the Obama campaign.

WE WILL NEVER KNOW THE ENTIRE TRUTH, SO STOP
SPECULATING, THE MAN IS HATED BY SOME AND LOVED
BY MOST, BUT SOME WANT TO SPIN NEGATIVES INTO
THIS ELECTION!
WHY WOULD A MAN LIKE BARACK OBAMA NOT WANT TO
VISIT INJURED TROOPS?
THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS A GREAT MAN, HE IS ALOT
BETTER THAN HIS OPPONENT!
WE NEED A MAN LIKE BARACK OBAMA TO RUN THE COUNTRY
BECAUSE IF ALL MCCAIN CAN DO IS COMMENT ON HIS
OPPONENT, HE HAS ALOT TO LEARN, AND HE IS TOO OLD
TO LEARN NEW TRICKS!

Senator Obama really isn't interested in visiting the troops, especially those that have been recovering from injury at the military base in Rammstein, Germany. His only interest is to have a campaign to fool the American people. He wants to project an image of experience in world affairs. He is blessed with a good speaking voice and can read his speeches well. He has to be told everything and cannot think or speak on his own. He is far left and is a socalist. I feel sorry for our military if he becomes our President! He never voted for any legislation in the Senate that would win this war on terrorism or help our military in time of war....M.Breer

Larry, Gene, Please!, and Alfredo -

It's unfortunate the McCain camp and its partisan supporters have decided to turn our brave wounded GIs into a political football like this. Based on pre-existing campaign documents, the press was never going to go into the hospital in the first place so these ad hominem attacks against Obama ring hollow. The media was going to stay behind while Obama was to visit the wounded GIs.

It was the Pentagon who decided at the last minute to inform Sen. Obama that he could only visit with his Senate staff, not campaign staff. Since they were not made aware of this stipulation beforehand, the Senate staff had already returned to the States.

FYI, Obama did visit military hospitals in the Middle East during the first part of his trip. He has also frequently visited Walter Reed and other military facilities Stateside.

Please try learning more about the facts before continuing to promote partisan half-truths and spin. It's unbecoming for a campaign that used to say it wanted to run a respectable race.

I hope that you will issue a correction as to the REAL reason why Obama cancelled his visit to the wounded troops in Germany.

the pentagon NEVER told him not to visit. The campaign decided not to visit since reporters are not allowed and only his senatorial staff can accompany him.

he could've went and visited the wounded soldiers but he chose not to becuase it can't be used as a photo op.

yet he found the time to thank the troops of the German Polizei.

http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/07/busted-obama-camp-slanders-military.html

HE IS GOING TO BECOME PRESIDENT, MCCAIN SHOULD BE
ASHAMED OF HIMSELF FOR MAKING THIS AN ISSUE!
WHEN ANOTHER MAN IS JEALOUS OF ANOTHER, THAT SHOWS
HE HAS A FLAW IN HIS CHARACTER!
BARACK OBAMA SPOKE TO OVER A MILLION PEOPLE, AND
SOME PEOPLE ARE ENVIOUS OF HIM, THAT'S YOUR
PROBLEM NOT HIS, GROW UP AND STOP THE SMEAR
CAMPAIGN, MCCAIN IS A BORING SPEAKER, AND THAT'S
THE REAL TRUTH!
BOTTOM LINE THE GOP AND MCCAIN DON'T HAVE A
PLATFORM, THEY ARE JUST COMMENTATORS OF WHATEVER
BARACK OBAMA DOES!
AMERICA VOTE FOR OBAMA BEFORE MCCAIN REMEMBERS HE
VISITED MEXICO, AND COLOMBIA!

WE DON'T WANT HIM TO RUN STARBUCKS, THEY ARE
CLOSING OVER 100 STORES, WE WANT HIM TO RUN
AMERICA!
YOU NEED TO GO GET A CUP OF COFFEE FROM STARBUCKS,
AND CHILL OUT!

Even as an avid Obama supporter, I was initially incensed when I heard this story. However, after reading ALL of the stories, it seems like the pancake, indeed, has two sides. I have long heard about Obama's photo-hungriness. However, The GOP did try too cook up a fake story about Obama not visiting the troops in Afghanistan, complete with fake letter from troop who later repudiated the letter this week. Therefore, I am going to give Senator Photo-Hungry a pass on this one. This looks like more GOP Swift Boating and using the military to do it.

That is not what the Pentagon Said. The Obama Campaign was told that they could not bring the media, with video and camera coverage. The Obama Campaign cancelled because of no media coverage.

Can you find out from the campaign whole actually told them the visit could not take place. Was this in writingor a telephone call. As you know the McCain campaign has alreasdy cut a commercial on this issue. I think the rest of us need to get the facts on this issue rather a 30 second sound bite. I am sorry to say your reporting is incomplete without answers to the questions I raised above.

get the facts right, he could not bring all his people to the facilities BUT could bring one aid and himself and no cameras! Comment: we now know how the wounded troops rate vs a photo session. Can we be somewhat objective.

I don't believe a word. What public relations officer would deny a US Senator request to visit the wounded in Landstuhl? The PR guy probably told Obama AKA Glibman "you can't bring your circus with you!"

I belive you've only told half the story here...Mr. Obama was told not to go visit the troops if he insisted on bringing the press. That's why it would have been considered a photo opp. He could have (should have) went to visit the troops because he felt it was the right thing to do, not so that he could smile for the camera.

Could you be any more pro Obama. He was not told he could not come to see the troops, he was told not to bring camaras and news people and he chose not to go because it would not be a photo op, again. If you are going to report the news then tell the truth. You need to have a come to jesus meeting with Rush!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OBAMA IS 9 POINTS UP IN THE POLLS, AND MCCAIN
SAYS TO HIMSELF I MIGHT AS WELL GRASP AT STRAWS
BECAUSE I CAN'T WIN THIS THING ANYWAY!
I'M BORING, I DON'T HAVE AN AGENDA, I MIGHT AS
WELL JUST CAUSE TROUBLE, AND WHEN THIS IS OVER
I CAN WORK FOR FOX NEWS AND HANG OUT WITH KARL
ROVE!
ALL MCCAIN IS TRYING TO DO IS SLOW OBAMA DOWN, BUT
IT HAS BACKFIRED, OBAMA IS STARTING TO DISTANCE
HIMSELF FROM DEAR JOHN, AND AFTER THE DEBATES,
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!

Anytime a politician goes to visit the troops - he/she is campaignin for something; lets keep it very real. The issue is the status, now world wide status B. Obama is receiving - outpacing and overshadowing everything the republican ticket is doin towards his run at the White House. Whether or not he's campaignin for president should be irrevelent. Those soldiers are citizens, voting citizens and should have accesss just as a normal voting civilian has.... Sounds like the republicans are breakin out the bandaids! Tryin to stop the bleeding!

Here's what Chief Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said regarding Obama's Visit:

"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."

"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."

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.

Bottom line: Obama could visit, but he can't bring the media circus and he can't bring the cameras. When the Pentagon said you can't bring the cameras, that's when the Obama people balked and said they're not going. Then they tried to lay this off on the Pentagon, but they were not allowed to bring cameras and that's why they canceled it. They couldn't get the photo op.

In my Opinion Mccain would have said he did wrong rather he did or he didn't. Kind of like he's damned if he did, and he's damned if he doesn't. They were looking for some thing they could sink their teeth into that he did wrong on this trip, and the pentagon/Bush did just that, and gave them a talking point. But the American people saw through the political play of it all.

There was never any intention of the press or photographers accompanying Obama on his visit. As on his previous visits to wounded at Walter Reed and in Iraq, he visited without press and photographers. In this case he planned to visit accompanied by retired Maj. General Scott Gration. The Dod barred Gration from entering the military base because of his campaign role.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 25, 2008 4:54 AM.

"Obama-mania" hits Berlin. Obama tells Germans "this is our time." McCain says taking premature victory lap was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama in Paris, at Elysee Palace to meet with French President Nicolas Sarzkozy is the next entry in this blog.

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