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Obama never explains--perhaps he was never asked--why he just didn't choose to leave his advisers on the plane while he visited with wounded U.S. troops:
You know, the staff was working this, so I don't know each and every detail. But here's what I understand happened. We had scheduled to go. We had no problem at all in leaving -- we always leave press and staff out. [...]
I was going to be accompanied by one of my advisers, a former military officer, and we got notice that he would be treated as a campaign person, and it would therefore be perceived as political because he had endorsed my candidacy, but he wasn't on the senate staff. That triggered, then, a concern that maybe our visit was going to be perceived as political.
The McCain campaign hits Obama with a statement from retired Lt. Colonel Joe Repya:
The most solemn duty of a commander in chief is to fulfill his responsibility to the men and women who serve this country in uniform. Barack Obama had scheduled a visit with wounded American troops who have served with honor and distinction in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but he broke that commitment, instead flitting from one European capital to the next. Several explanations were offered, none was convincing and each was at odds with the statements of American military leaders in Germany and Washington. For a young man so apt at playing president, Barack Obama badly misjudged the important demands of the office he seeks. Visits with world leaders and speeches to cheering Europeans shouldn't be a substitute for comforting injured American heroes.