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“Bracelet Wars”

So in the debate, when John McCain pointed to a bracelet that he wears to commemorate the life of a fallen soldier in Iraq–and to symbolize his commitment to the mother of that soldier that he would make sure that troops returning from Iraq did so with honor and victorious–Barack Obama countered that he wore a bracelet too and that his bracelet-wearing was meant to honor the wish of the mother of a fallen soldier, who said that she didn’t want any other mothers to feel the way she did.

Two problems, however:

1. When you wear a bracelet that is meant to remember a fallen soldier, it helps if you, you know, remember the fallen soldier in question. Obama didn’t:

Obama wasn’t about to get left out of the patriotic symbolism.

“I’ve got a bracelet, too,” he said.

Then things seemed to go bad.

“From Sergeant . . .” he paused awkwardly as he fumbled through the layers of his suit jacket and shirt, looking for the bracelet with the soldier’s name.

“From the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek,” Obama finally said.

There are people who are going on and on and on about John McCain’s supposed refusal to look Barack Obama in the eye during their debate, and how said refusal connotes fear of Obama The Alpha Male (yes, there really are people writing about this kind of thing). Seems to me, however, that Obama would have done better to make eye contact with his bracelet much earlier than he did, remember the name and avoid being accused of using a fallen soldier as a prop.

2. Thought I would forget about the second problem? Fear not, I haven’t. The second problem with Obama’s use of the bracelet is that the family that gave him the bracelet to wear, no longer wants Ryan Jopek to be brought up during the course of the campaign. Jake Tapper says that he wants to investigate this issue, but if it is indeed the case that Obama is advertising the name of a fallen soldier contrary to the wishes of that soldier’s family, then, to say the least, the Obama campaign has some ‘splainin to do.

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