Obama scraps visit to wounded US troops
Thu, Jul 24, 2008 (3:42 p.m.)
Sen. Barack Obama scrapped plans to visit wounded members of the armed forces in Germany as part of his overseas trip, a decision his campaign said was made because the Democratic presidential candidate thought it would be inappropriate on a campaign-funded journey.
A campaign adviser said the U.S. military saw the visit as a campaign stop.
“We learned from the Pentagon last night that the visit would be viewed instead as a campaign event,” the adviser, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, said in a statement. “Senator Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perveived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go.”
Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign immediately criticized the move.
“Barack Obama is wrong. It is never inappropriate to visit our men and women in the military,” said Brian Rogers, a spokesman for the Republican contender.
Obama’s decision raised a number of questions because the visit, which had been scheduled for Friday, never appeared on the schedule of events distributed to reporters who are accompanying him on his travels.
The first word from the campaign about its existence was a statement from Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs.
Obama had been planning to go to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany before a flight to Paris. Gibbs said the stop was canceled because Obama decided “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.”