Posted by Meg | Posted in Campaign 2008, Iraq, Media Bias, Misleading, Must See, Obama, Supporters | Posted on 29-09-2008
Tags: debate, Iraq, McCain, Misleading, Obama, soldiers, Supporters
Like most interested voters, I watched the presidential debate Friday night with great interest. One moment surprised me, however, as the debate seemed to turn into a game of ‘me too, me too!’ over – of all things – bracelets.
When John McCain was asked about the war in Iraq, he mentioned a bracelet that was given to him by the mother of a soldier who was lost in Iraq. He spoke about how much this meant to him, how he wore this soldier’s bracelet every day, and it reminded him how important it was that he ensure this soldier’s death would not be in vain.
In response to McCain, Obama said, “I’ve got a bracelet too.” After a bit of fumbling and a moment to look down at the name inscribed on the bracelet, Obama said that it was given to him by the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, another soldier who tragically lost his life in Iraq. Obama claimed that Mrs. Jopek had given him the bracelet saying, “Can you please make sure that no other mother is goin’ through what I’m goin’ through?”
Here’s the exchange:
(Sorry it’s from Fox News, I know some of you won’t like that. I didn’t record the debate so I couldn’t upload my own copy, I was stuck with whatever was available on YouTube. Regardless, there aren’t any talking heads to skew it, so it shouldn’t matter.)
While both candidates of course have the right to wear whatever bracelets they wish, unfortunately Mr. Obama has completely mischaracterized Mrs. Jopek’s intentions. Not only that, but he has utterly disregarded repeated requests by the family that he not wear the bracelet or use it for political purposes.
According to Mr. Brian Jopek, ex-husband of Ryan Jopek’s mother, Tracy, “she just wanted Mr. Obama to know Ryan’s name.” He went on to say, “she wasn’t looking to turn it into a big media event” and “just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself.”
As far back as March of this year, Mr. Jopek was asked about Obama’s use of their son’s name, and how he and his wife felt about it. In talking with a local Wisconsin radio show, Mr. Jopek mentioned that he had been surprised to see Obama wearing the bracelet and mentioning Ryan’s name repeatedly while on the campaign trail, despite his wife personally requesting that Obama not use the bracelet politically, both when she first gave him the bracelet and again afterward when he continued to mention her son.
(You can listen to that radio show here, it’s at about ten minutes into the program.)
During that interview, Mr. Jopek stated that his ex-wife has shied away from responding to any questioning about Obama’s use of their sons name, “Because she is a Barack Obama supporter and she didn’t want to do anything to sabotage his campaign.”
Since Obama has again gone against the wishes of the Jopek family, this time mentioning their son on the largest national stage possible, Mrs. Jopek is again being hounded by reporters despite her wish to stay out of the limelight. She confirmed to the AP that she asked Obama not to mention their son, but again, her wish not to upset Obama’s campaign came forward. She said that she was “satisfied” with the way in which her son was mentioned, and refused to say anything negative about her chosen candidate.
Personally, I find this absolutely appalling. It’s disgusting to me that Obama has taken advantage of the good will of his own supporter – a grieving mother who has lost her son in a time of war – by mischaracterizing her intentions in giving the gift of a bracelet representing the memory of her lost son, and repeatedly denying her request that he not turn her son into campaign rhetoric for political gain. This is beyond low, and yet again, is being mostly ignored by the main stream media.
NewsBusters.org has a good article about this situation, available here. As far as I can tell, NewsBusters seems to be fairly even – they attack inaccuracies in both campaigns evenly, as well as bias in either direction amongst the main stream media.