And the Washington Post says so:
For four days, Sen. John McCain and his allies have accused Sen. Barack Obama of snubbing wounded soldiers by canceling a visit to a military hospital because he could not take reporters with him, despite no evidence that the charge is true.
The attacks are part of a newly aggressive McCain operation whose aim is to portray the Democratic presidential candidate as a craven politician more interested in his image than in ailing soldiers, a senior McCain adviser said. They come despite repeated pledges by the Republican that he will never question his rival’s patriotism.***
The Obama campaign has denied that was the reason he called off the visit. In fact, there is no evidence that he planned to take anyone to the American hospital other than a military adviser, whose status as a campaign staff member sparked last-minute concern among Pentagon officials that the visit would be an improper political event.***
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said again yesterday that the Republican’s version of events is correct, and that Obama canceled the visit because he was not allowed to take reporters and cameras into the hospital.
“It is safe to say that, according to press reports, Barack Obama avoided, skipped, canceled the visit because of those reasons,” he said. “We’re not making a leap here.”
Asked repeatedly for the “reports,” Bounds provided three examples, none of which alleged that Obama had wanted to take members of the media to the hospital.***
A reconstruction of the circumstances surrounding Obama’s decision not to visit Landstuhl, based on firsthand reporting from the trip, shows that his campaign never contemplated taking the media with him.
Excellent work, Steve Schmidt. You now have the WaPo calling your candidate a liar because of a hit ad that you designed for… media consumption only. Additionally, this is bad for the future McCain campaign efforts because they have now called all those reporters questioning their claims liars, because they were there, first-hand, and know that the McCain camp is making things up. Finally, nothing better than disgracing your spokesman, forcing him to lie several times. Well played.
The McCain campaign forgot one basic thing on this attempted smear- the ego of the reporters and the mainstream media. These folks are fine with printing any lie you can come up with, as long as they have plausible deniability. You can feed them all sorts of shit about someone possessing WMD, or about Obama being Muslim, etc., so long as you cite unnamed sources or undisclosed sources in the government or anonymous experts, and you leave the blame somewhere else. They will print any old rumor if you do that.
But when you try to make them part of the lie, you just can’t get away with it. They were there on the trip- and the McCain idiots tried to make them part of the lie. And they might have gotten away with it had the Obama camp not fought back and had Andrea Mitchell not started the groundswell of media pushback. Now, when the McCain team tries to spread this lie, the egos in the media see it as an attack on their integrity, because they are named accomplices if they do not push back. Again, the ego of the media is the most important thing, and the McCain geniuses forgot it.
One small caveat- this is actual reporters at the Washington Post. I have no doubt that Richard Cohen or one of the other defenders of the prevailing narrative, the Hiatt hacks, if you will, will no doubt attack Obama on the op-ed pages for not visiting the troops. It will probably happen in October, right before the election, when it will be too difficult to re-fight the lie again. That is just how they roll.