Exclusive: Obama’s Soldier Bracelet: Did Family Request Him to Stop Wearing It?
by THE EDITORS
September 29, 2008
During Friday’s debate, John McCain displayed a bracelet that he wore, bearing the name of Cpl. Matthew Stanley of New Hampshire, who lost his life in Iraq in 2006. Barack Obama also had a bracelet – that of Sgt. Ryan David Jopek of Merrill, Wisconsin. But as Warner Todd Huston explains, there is more to the story:
Shockingly, however, Madison resident Brian Jopek, the father of Ryan Jopek, the young soldier who tragically lost his life to a roadside bomb in 2006, recently said on a Wisconsin Public Radio show that his family had asked Barack Obama to stop wearing the bracelet with his son's name on it. Yet Obama continues to do so despite the wishes of the family.
Radio host Glenn Moberg of the show "Route 51" asked Mr. Jopek, a man who believes in the efforts in Iraq and is not in favor of Obama's positions on the war, what he and his ex-wife think of Obama continually using their son's name on the campaign trail.
Jopek began by saying that his ex-wife was taken aback, even upset, that Obama has made the death of her son a campaign issue. Jopek says his wife gave Obama the bracelet because "she just wanted Mr. Obama to know Ryan's name." Jopek went on to say that "she wasn't looking to turn it into a big media event" and "just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself." Apparently, they were all shocked it became such a big deal.
Audio of the interview with Brian Jopek is available here.
It’s possible that Mrs. Jopek has since changed her mind. But what if it is true? Huston asks:
And, why is the media not playing this story? The radio show on which this interview is heard happened all the way back in March. How is it the media missed this? Is it because they are also don't want to hurt Obama's campaign?
Before brushing this off as a trivial concern, consider all the time and effort that has been spent on things like the paternity of Sarah Palin’s baby and a story about John McCain wanting to have an affair with a lobbyist based on innuendo by two anonymous, disgruntled former staffers, and numerous other “non-policy” issues that the press loves to bandy about.
Considering Obama had to look at the name on the bracelet when he used it to counter McCain during the debate, it may not be a far stretch to wonder if he’s simply using the bracelet as a campaign prop. And if he’s doing so against the wishes of the family, that makes it even more disconcerting.