I guess conservative bloggers are pitching a fit because Obama didn't pay his respects to the troops at Landstuhl AFB in Germany. That might be because the Pentagon nixed it.
I've just gotten clarification from the Pentagon on what really happened with regard to Barack Obama's canceled visit to an Army base in Germany, something the McCain campaign has been using to hit Obama since yesterday.
A Pentagon spokesperson confirms to me that because of longstanding Department of Defense regulations, Pentagon officials told Obama aides that he couldn't visit the base with campaign staff. This left Obama with little choice but to cancel the trip, since the plan to visit with campaign aides had been in the works for weeks [...]
It's unclear how Obama could have made the visit at all, given the Pentagon's directives. No Senate staff was on the trip, and the Obama camp says they received the Pentagon's directives on Wednesday, after they were already abroad.
Bottom line: We're not seeing any issue here at all.
This of course, won't stop anyone, including McCain, from making it an issue.
It is a nice trick by the supposedly apolitical Pentagon, however. Allow Obama to plan a trip to the Air Force base, then lay down the rules at a time when Obama has no choice but to cancel it, and then watch the political fur fly.
UPDATE: This Daily Kos diarist has a lot more (apparently McCain visiting troops at US Naval bases with campaign staff wasn't a problem). And then there's this:
Utah Army National Guard Intelligence Officer (i.e.,. spy) reportedly authors chain email defaming Obama
The new chain email claims, incorrectly, that Obama blew off the troops waiting to shake his hand at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan so he could shoot hoops instead (was the alleged Intell Officer trying to imply a racist smear against Obama as well? You know those black guys and their basketballs...). In any case, the Army came out and denied the veracity of the email - Obama didn't shoot hoops, and he did greet the troops - but screw that, where is the denial from the Intell guy? I want to see him declaring that he didn't write the email and that it's factually untrue. If our spy didn't offer the anti-Obama smear, then wouldn't you think the military would have mentioned that right at the beginning of their denial?
Just as importantly, if the author of this phony smear is an Army intelligence officer - read: a US spy - then there is some serious potential illegality with him using his professional disinformation spycraft in an attempt to influence an American election. Remember, it was just yesterday that State Department employees in Berlin were told not to dare show up at Obama's speech, lest they appear to be weighing in on our elections. So how do you think a US spy using his spy talents to influence our elections falls under the rules?
You take each one of these by itself, maybe it's nothing. But they're starting to add up. Funny how all of these "nonpartisan" military brass seem to be weighing in on the election on precisely the same side, isn't it?