McCain campaign released a new ad today called “Troops.” Highlighting the differences between McCain and Obama, it’s what those of us in the biz lovingly refer to as a “contrast ad.”
Script For “Troops” (TV :30)
Anncr: Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan.
He hadn’t been to Iraq in years.
He voted against funding our troops.
And now, he made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops.
Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.
John McCain is always there for our troops.
McCain. Country first.
John McCain: I’m John McCain and I approve this message.
AD FACTS: Script For “Troops” (TV :30)
ANNCR: Barack Obama never held a single Senate hearing on Afghanistan.
· Barack Obama: “I became Chairman of this committee at the beginning of this campaign, at the beginning of 2007. So it is true that we haven’t had oversight hearings on Afghanistan.” (MSNBC Democratic Presidential Debate, 2/26/08)
ANNCR: He hadn’t been to Iraq in years.
· The New York Times: Barack Obama Had Not Been To Iraq For Over 900 Days. “For months, Senator John McCain and other Republicans have been criticizing Senator Barack Obama for not having visited Iraq in a long time, even running a daily tally that is now well past 900 days.” (Larry Rohter, “A Mixed Take By McCain Camp On Obama’s Trip To War Zones,” The New York Times, 7/19/08)
ANNCR: He voted against funding our troops.
· Barack Obama Voted Against Providing $94.4 Billion In Critical Funding For The Troops In Iraq And Afghanistan. (H.R. 2206, CQ Vote #181: Passed 80-14: R 42-3; D 37-10; I 1-1, 5/24/07, Obama Voted Nay)
ANNCR: And now, he made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.
· Barack Obama Cancelled A Planned Visit To Ramstein And Landstuhl In Germany. “SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The visits were planned for Friday. Barack Obama will not be coming to us,’ a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced. I don’t know why.’ Shortly before the same spokeswoman had announced a planned visit by Obama.” (Der Spiegel Website, http://www.spiegel.de, Accessed 7/24/08)
· Obama Senior Strategist David Axelrod Said The Pentagon Told The Campaign That Barack Obama “Should Not Come.” “Though the Rammstein visit had been planned for days, Obama senior strategist David Axelrod said that that Pentagon notified an Obama military advisor only yesterday or the day before that he should not come. The Pentagon ‘viewed this as a campaign event and therefore they said he should not come,’ Axelrod said. Obama has been at the base in previous overseas trips. He visited with troops–even played basketball–when he touched down in Kuwait during the Iraq and Afghanistan leg of his swing.” (Lynn Sweet, “Pentagon Tells Obama Not To Visit U.S. Troops At German Base Because It Would Be Too Political,” Chicago Sun Times’ “Sweet” Blog, http://blogs.suntimes.com, Posted 7/25/08)
· “The [Military] Official Said ‘We Didn’t Know Why’ Th e Request To Visit The Wounded Troops Was Withdrawn. ‘He (Obama) Was More Than Welcome. We Were All Ready For Him.” (Jim Miklaszewski and Courtney Kube, “What’s Not On Obama’s Schedule…” MSNBC’s “First Read,” http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com, Posted 7/24/08)
· Military “Prepared To Accommodate Obama’s Traveling Press And Campaign Staff At The Passenger Terminal At Ramstein Air Base.” “Morrell said the U.S. military was prepared to accommodate Obama’s traveling press and campaign staff at the passenger terminal at Ramstein Air Base, the U.S. Air Force base in southern Germany where Obama’s plane had been cleared to land.” (Michael Finnegan And Peter Spiegel, “Obama’s Cancellation Of A Military Hospital Visit Leaves Unanswered Questions,” Los Angeles Times’ “Top Of The Ticket” Blog, 7/25/08)
· Defense Department Press Secretary Geoff Morrell: “Sen. Obama is more than welcome to visit Landstuhl or any other military hospital around the world. … But he has to do so, just as any other senator has to do so, in his official capacity. It is not acceptable to do so as a candidate.” (Michael Finnegan And Peter Spiegel, “Obama’s Cancellation Of A Military Hospital Visit Leaves Unanswered Questions,” Los Angeles Times’ “Top Of The Ticket” Blog, 7/25/08)
· Defense Department: “But The Pentagon Certainly Did Not Tell The Senator That He Could Not Visit Landstuhl.” “Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters later Friday the Pentagon did not explicitly say Obama should not visit the base, but was concerned with whether his capacity there would be one of a presidential candidate, not a senator. ‘We do have certain policy guidelines for political campaigns and elections. And what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in those situations. But the Pentagon certainly did not tell the senator that he could not visit Landstuhl,’ Whitman said.” (Alexander Mooney And Sasha Johnson, “Pentagon Was Concerned With Obama Visit To Hospital,” CNN’s “Political Ticker” Blog, 7/25/08)
· Obama Campaign Explanation “Didn’t Square With The Defense Department Explanation.” “On Obama’s flight from Berlin to Paris, Gibbs offered more details. Around July 15, the Pentagon approved Obama’s visit. But military officials later invoked a rule on political activity at military bases and questioned whether it would cover Obama’s visit, Gibbs said. Obama spokesmen said they were seeking clarification on what the rule is. Gibbs also declined to speculate on why the Pentagon did not cite the rule until Wednesday. That account, however, didn’t square with the Defense Department’s explanation. The Pentagon said it informed the Obama campaign on Monday that he and his Senate staff could visit Landstuhl, where wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated, but that no press would be allowed.” (Michael Finnegan And Peter Spiegel, “Obama’s Cancellation Of A Military Hospital Visit Leaves Unanswered Questions,” Los Angeles Times ‘ “Top Of The Ticket” Blog, 7/25/08)
· The Pentagon Reportedly Informed Obama That He And His Senate Staff Were Permitted To Visit Landstuhl, But “No Press Would Be Allowed” In Military Base. “The Pentagon said it informed the Obama campaign on Monday that he and his Senate staff could visit Landstuhl, where wounded soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are treated, but that no press would be allowed.” (Michael Finnegan And Peter Spiegel, “Obama’s Cancellation Of A Military Hospital Visit Leaves Unanswered Questions,” Los Angeles Times’ “Top Of The Ticket” Blog, 7/25/08)
· Barack Obama “Would Not Have Been Able To Address The Media Or Make Any Campaign-Related Statements.” “A memo sent out Wednesday from Undersecretary of Defense David Chu explained that Obama’s visit to such a military facility would be limited under these circumstances. Obama would not have been able to bring any of his campaign staff — only one Senate staffer and security. He also would not have been able to address the media or make any campaign-related statements.” (“Obama Camp: Visit To Troops Would Have Seemed Too Political,” Fox News, 7/25/08)
· Before His Thursday Speech, Barack Obama Went To The Ritz Carlton To Work Out While In Berlin. “Still, Obama, just like George W. Bush in the 2000 election, managed to squeeze in his workout time despite a heavy schedule of high-level meetings with government officials and his big speech at the Siegessule, or Victory Column, around 7 p.m. Berlin time. ‘4:49 p.m.: Obama enters the luxury Ritz Carlton hotel wearing a T-shirt, black sweatpants and white trainers — apparently to work out in the hotel’s gym. He kept up the campaigning on the way there, smiling and waving at tourists and other onlookers,’ the breathless Spiegel ticker reported.” (Jill Zuckman, “Barack Obama Gets A Workout At Ritz Gym,” Chicago Tribune’s “Swamp” Blog, http://www.swamppolitics.com , Posted 7/24/08)
· After His Thursday Speech, Barack Obama Joined His Campaign Staff And The Press Corps For A Martini At A Berlin Restaurant. “After the speech was over, the candidate, in a celebratory mood, joined his campaign staff — and the press corps traveling with him — for dinner and a very dry vodka martini with olives at a downtown Berlin restaurant.” (Karen Tumulty, “Obama Urges Unity In Berlin,” Time, http://www.time.com, 7/24/08)
· Barack Obama Said That He Was Going To Have Some “Down Time” In Berlin And That He “Would Love To Tour A Little Bit.” “Obama noted that in a break from his whirlwind schedule, ‘we’ve got some down time tonight. What are you guys gonna do in Berlin? Huh? Huh? You guys got any big. plans? I’ve never been to Berlin, so…I would love to tour around a little bit.'” (Jake Tapper, “Obama On Tonight’s Berlin Speech: “A Crapshoot”,” ABC News’ “Political Punch” Blog, http://blogs.abcnews.com, Posted 7/24/08)