28 September 2008

Rumor Central: On Obama's Bracelet

You might have heard that about the bracelet Senator Obama wore at the first presidential debate. Senator McCain displayed a bracelet he wore, one given to him by a soldier's mother. Obama responded:
"I've got a bracelet, too, from Sergeant — from the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, given to me in Green Bay," Obama said during the debate. "She asked me, 'Can you please make sure another mother is not going through what I'm going through?' No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain because they're carrying out the missions of their commander in chief. And we honor all the service that they've provided." (AP)
According to the internets, the soldier's family instructed Obama to not to wear the bracelet, and they are incredibly unhappy about Obama's mention of the bracelet at the debate.

Not so fast. According to the AP:
The mother of a Wisconsin soldier who died in Iraq says she was "ecstatic" when Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama mentioned during Friday's debate the bracelet she gave him in honor of her son.

Tracy Jopek of Merrill told The Associated Press on Sunday she was honored that Obama remembered Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, who was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb.

Jopek criticized Internet reports suggesting Obama, D-Ill., exploited her son for political purposes.

"I don't understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet," she said."

Jopek acknowledged e-mailing the Obama campaign in February asking that the presidential candidate not mention her son in speeches or debates. But she said Obama's mention on Friday was appropriate because he was responding after Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, said a soldier's mother gave him a bracelet.
Ms. Jopek clearly didn't want her son's death politicized, but she considered Obama's display of the bracelet acceptable in retort to McCain's own politicization of a soldier's passing, but she wants them both to stop using the soldiers and to start focusing on the issues themselves. And if you're interested, here's a more detailed version of the AP story.

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