From Politico.com yesterday.
DOD spokesman says Obama camp was reminded of political rules
"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.”
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.
Obama’s campaign tells a different story.
Obama adviser David Axelrod told the Chicago Sun-Times that the Pentagon “viewed this as a campaign event, and therefore they said he should not come.”
In a briefing to Obama’s traveling press corps, another adviser stopped short of saying they were told to not come but also suggested that even a visit by Obama alone may have been at issue.
Robert Gibbs said one of Obama’s military advisers had been informed by the Pentagon that the visit may be seen as a campaign stop.
“They cited a regulation,” Gibbs said of their point of contact, described as legislative affairs in the office of the secretary.
“We believed that based on the information we received that any presence, even his own and only his own, would get into a back and forth on whether his own presence was a campaign event,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs also pointed out that that their plane had been cleared to land at Ramstein and the Pentagon subsequently issued the reminder about political activity at military posts.
Obama, who was not traveling with any Senate staffers, decided on the flight Wednesday from Tel Aviv to Berlin not to visit the hospital.
Trying to make clear that this was not an attempt to undercut the Democratic nominee, Morrell also noted that when McCain officials asked the Pentagon for permission to let Cindy McCain visit the massive U.S. hospital ship, the U.S.N.S. Comfort, the request was rejected.
“Had she gone with Sen. McCain, it would have been OK,” Morrell said, underlining the delineation between what are official and campaign activities. "
It certainly appears he could have visited the wounded troops after his sermon to the Germans last week. He just couldn’t document it and have it witnessed by his travelling press corp and msm water carriers. He made a judgement call, based on those conditions, he chose to shop and workout instead.
It is what it is ,nothing more. It shows poor judegment and lack of empathy for those he praised so highly just a few days before.
Ren, is this McCain incident you referred to or was their another incident.
Yeah, the naval visit was the one I was talking about. Where his staff mentions that they “play by the rules”
And just so you know, Obama was initially told he could not visit the troops at all unless it was part of a congressional trip. He wanted to do what you said he could have, visit it by himself, but was told he could not (and then was later said he could).
skip to about 1:30 into the video.