Barack Obama’s decision to cancel a planned visit with U.S. troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center appears to be going viral — it’s all over the blogosphere and conservative talk radio really hammered Obama on Friday. Sean Hannity’s reaction was typical:
So if you want my take on this, if you want to remember one thing about this trip is that Barack Obama chose to work out rather than see the wounded troops because he couldn’t bring Katie Couric, Charlie Gibson, and Brian Williams with him.
That “work out” remark refers to Obama’s much-publicized exercise session with a German reporter, and whether Hannity’s criticism is accurate or fair is irrelevant to the fact that this incident feeds into the perception of Obama’s foreign trip as a weeklong photo-op for his adoring media fan club.
Team Obama (and the left-wing blogosphere) have inadvertantly fed oxygen into the story by trying to push back against the Right’s suggestion that the canceled visit amounted to Obama snubbing wounded soldiers. This creates an excuse for media to run stories to “clarify” what happened — what did military officials actually tell Obama about bringing his campaign staff? — so that the dispute now spills into the weekend. And that means that the story will be discussed on the Sunday shows (it’s at least certain to be mentioned by George Will on ABC’s “This Week”), and perhaps then to be rehashed in Monday newspaper stories.
Whether or not this is on the level of the infamous Dukakis tank ride, it is certain to become a regular talking-point in the Right’s critique of Obama.
UPDATE: The Washington Post‘s Dan Balz covers the story, as do David Espo of AP and Alexander Mooney of CNN. That this Thursday incident merits continued coverage on Saturday sort of undercuts the claim by MSNBC’s Mark Murray that it is a “minor controversy.”
UPDATE II: Major Garrett of Fox News has a transcript of the Friday press huddle on the Obama campaign plane in which spokesman Robert Gibbs attempted to explain the Landstuhl incident. The reader can judge how successful he was in that effort.
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