Backstory of the Obama Landstuhl cancellation

(Update appended.)

When I read that Obama had cancelled his planned visit to injured troops at the Landstuhl Medical Center because he thought it would be “inappropriate”, I was inclined to give him a break. In fact, I agreed that it would have been inappropriate to use our wounded troops as political props.

That was before this scoop from NBC News, who learned that preparations for Obama’s visit were already being made and that the visit was cancelled after the campaign learned they would not be able to bring the media:

A U.S. military official tells NBC News they were making preparations for Sen. Barack Obama to visit wounded troops at the Landstuhl Medical Center at Ramstein, Germany on Friday, but “for some reason the visit was called off.”

One military official who was working on the Obama visit said because political candidates are prohibited from using military installations as campaign backdrops, Obama’s representatives were told, “he could only bring two or three of his Senate staff member, no campaign officials or workers.” In addition, “Obama could not bring any media. Only military photographers would be permitted to record Obama’s visit.”

The official said “We didn’t know why” the request to visit the wounded troops was withdrawn. “He (Obama) was more than welcome. We were all ready for him.”

(Via Hot Air.)

This casts the cancellation in a rather different light. Rather than an exhibition of good taste and judgement, it’s just the opposite. It would seem that Obama cancelled, not because he saw it would be inappropriate to use wounded troops as political props, but because the military wouldn’t let him do so.

I’m sure Obama’s defenders will say this is merely coincidence; that his last-minute change of heart about visiting Landstuhl during a campaign trip had nothing to do with his being told he couldn’t make it a campaign stop. There’s to way to know for sure (given what we know now, anyway), but I have to say that if this was an instance of prudence and good taste, it was entirely out-of-character for this trip.

UPDATE: The facts are now known, and Obama looks a little bit better than this.  Apparently it was a matter of certain campaign staff, not the media, that aborted the visit.

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