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McCain Lies about Obama on Troops

By Brent Budowsky
July 30, 2008

Editor’s Note: Despite his earlier promise to run a respectful campaign based on issues, John McCain has made it clear that he sees his path to victory as taking the low road against Barack Obama.

Having already accused Obama of wanting to lose the Iraq War and blaming him for $4 a gallon gasoline, McCain and his campaign now are lying about Obama's canceled visit to see wounded U.S. troops in Germany, as Brent Budowsky notes in this guest essay:

John McCain personally told Larry King that Barack Obama wanted to bring reporters, cameras and campaign aides to a meeting with wounded troops in Germany.

When he said this, John McCain was lying. Let me spell this correctly: L-Y-I-N-G.

Obama never intended to bring reporters, period. That is a lie. Obama never intended to bring cameras. That is a lie. Obama never intended to bring "his campaign staffers" (to use McCain's words). That, too, is a lie. The only person Obama intended to bring was retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, who is an unpaid military adviser.

Credit to Dan Balz in The Washington Post on Wednesday for laying out the facts. Shame on many in the political, cable, pundit and commentariat classes who have allowed McCain to get away with what are several clear, unmitigated and outright lies (spell that L-I-E-S) about Obama and wounded troops.

One can understand McCain's frustration. He taunted Obama to make the trip abroad and it was a major success. One can understand McCain's anger. He was reduced to a photo-op on an oil rig that was canceled by a hurricane. While he dished his talking points at Schmidt's sausage factory, Obama was greeted by a quarter million people, many waving American flags, and praised extravagantly by the conservative leaders of Germany and France.

One can understand McCain's problem. His record on veterans’ issues over many years is far weaker than that of most Democrats and most Republicans. He recently unsuccessfully opposed the strong version of Sen. Jim Webb's (D-Virginia) new GI Bill, irritating many veterans’ groups, again, while the bill passed with bipartisan support over McCain's objection.

But frustration is no excuse for lying. It is no excuse for repeating the lie in campaign statements and paid television ads approved by McCain.

While credit is due to The Washington Post for reporting the facts, it is an outrage that many in the media, whom McCain has long called part of his political base, fail to report this story with the integrity, clarity and truth that this issue demands.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Rep. Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House. A contributing editor to Fighting Dems News Service, he can be read on The Hill newspaper where this essay first appeared. He can be reached at

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