Does McCain Think Those Are Al Qaeda Troops Shooting Hoops with Obama?

Did John McCain lie when he said he wanted a clean campaign? Eric Kleefeld covers a vicious and very dishonest ad from Team McCain:

The McCain campaign has this brutal new attack ad against Barack Obama, making the blatantly false charge that he doesn’t care about the troops unless there are cameras around … “And now, he made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops,” the announcer says. “Seems the Pentagon wouldn’t allow him to bring cameras.” “John McCain is always there for our troops.”

Greg Sargent noted the real reason why Obama did not visit the wounded troops:

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. The Obama campaign yesterday announced that it had decided to cancel the visit to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, saying that it would be “inappropriate” to make such a visit as part of a campaign trip.

This only makes McCain both a liar and a petty little man. But check out this Youtube of where Obama played hoops – sure looks like American soldiers to me. Jonathan Martin has the details. In addition to being petty and dishonest, Team McCain is also incredibly stupid.

Update: Jeff Zeleny adds more context:

Robert Gibbs, a senior strategist, said the Obama campaign received official permission two weeks ago from the Pentagon to land a plane in Ramstein, Germany. But on Wednesday, he said, military officials advised the campaign of concerns about a political visit being a violation of government rules. “It is entirely likely that someone would have attacked us for having gone,” Mr. Gibbs said, “and it’s entirely likely – and it has come about – that people have attacked us for not going.” An earlier statement on Thursday from Mr. Gibbs seemed to suggest it was the senator’s decision. “The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign,” Mr. Gibbs said. In any case, had Mr. Obama ended up visiting soldiers who are recovering from wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan, he was not planning to take reporters along. But it never came to pass because of the controversy. Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, issued a statement emphasizing that the Pentagon did not cancel Mr. Obama’s visit. “Senator Obama, in his official capacity, is always welcome to visit Landstuhl or any other military hospital. But it is not permitted to bring with him campaign staff. His team was notified of that, and they made a decision not to visit the hospital. But we were ready and willing to host him there. In fact, we had made arrangements for his campaign plane to land at Ramstein, and to take care of the campaign staff and press in a passenger terminal there, while the senator and senate staff, if he liked, went on to visit wounded warriors. They made a decision based on their own calculations not to visit. Senator Obama, like any other member of the senate, is always welcome to visit our wounded warriors or our military hospitals around the world. But they do so in their official capacity, and not as a candidate. He can come in and bring senate staffers as well, if he likes, but campaign staffers and press are not permitted to accompany him. That would be a violation of DoD directives.”

Well – the DoD made this clear as mud! But if Obama never intended to take reporters and cameras along, McCain’s ad was dishonest on another score as well.

Update II: Senator Hagel weighs in:

The Republican senator from Nebraska agreed, saying on Face The Nation that the GOP’s presumptive nominee is “treading on some very thin ground here when he impugns motives, and when we start to get into ‘You’re less patriotic than me, I’m more patriotic.’ “They’re better off to focus on policy differences,” he said. “It’s just not responsible to be saying things like that, again, if for no other reason than for the good of this country and the world.

Hagel like McCain is a conservative Republican who served in the Vietnam War. Hagel, however, is not a neocon nutjob.