The John McCain and Barack Obama campaigns continued their back-and-forth today over Obama's cancelled visit to wounded soldiers in Germany.
Obama said he did not want to bring presidential politics to hospital bedsides, and his campaign said the Pentagon also was concerned about a campaign visit. But military officials said he could have visited as a senator without campaign officials, as he did in Iraq, and Republicans have been piling on incessantly.
This afternoon, McCain's campaign issued a statement from retired Lt. Colonel Joe Repya, a 30-year veteran of Vietnam and the Persian Gulf wars.
"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," Repya said. "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."
Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor replied in a statement: "As Senator Obama said today, the last thing he wanted was to have injured soldiers get pulled into the back-and-forth of a political campaign. That's why we imagine Senator McCain would be surprised that his campaign released this wildly inappropriate accusation that politicizes the issue. Senator Obama and Senator McCain share the belief that we must do everything we can to honor and support our troops, which is why Senator Obama has met with our men and women in uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan this week and visited wounded soldiers at Walter Reed numerous times."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.