The Army Times writes:
By Matthew Cox and Rick Maze – Staff writers
Posted : Sunday Jul 27, 2008 10:04:27 EDT
An Army officer’s negative e-mail account of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s visit with the troops in Afghanistan that set the blogosphere ablaze prompted Army officials to correct aspects of the e-mail and resulted in a statement from the message’s author that “some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong.”
The e-mail, signed by Capt. Jeffrey S. Porter at Bagram Airbase, characterized Obama’s July 19 visit with soldiers there as contrary to the positive portrayals of the mainstream press.
“As the soldiers where (sic) lined up to shake his hand he blew them off and didn’t say a word as he went into the conference room to meet the general,” the e-mail said.
Porter wrote that Obama then went straight to the base’s “Clamshell” or recreation facility to pose for “publicity pictures playing basketball” and “shunned the opportunity to talk to soldiers to thank them for their service. I swear we got more thanks from the NBA Basketball Players or the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders than from one of the Senators, who wants to be the President of the United States. I just don’t understand how anyone would want him to be our Commander-in-Chief. It was almost that he was scared to be around those that provide the freedom for him and our great country.”
Army Times sent an e-mail to Porter, a Utah Army National Guard member assigned to the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion, asking if he could verify that he wrote the controversial e-mail and requesting an interview.
Porter’s reply declined the interview request, but said:
“I am writing this to ask that you delete my e-mail and not forward it, after checking my sources some of the information that was put out in my e-mail was wrong. This e-mail was meant only for my family. Please respect my wishes and delete the e-mail and if there are any blogs you have my e-mail portrayed on I would ask if you would take it down too.”
When contacted, Tiffany Porter who identified herself as his wife, said: “There were discrepancies in the e-mail, but I am not at liberty to say more.”
The Army refuted the accuracy of the account of the Obama visit.
“These comments are inappropriate and factually incorrect,” Bagram spokesman Lt. Col. Rumi Nielson-Green told the New York Daily News.
Obama didn’t play basketball at Bagram or visit the Clamshell, she said.
“We were a bit delayed … as he took time to shake hands, speak to troops and pose for photographs,” Nielson-Green said.
Opinion aside, Obama campaign officials cited factual errors in the e-mail. Porter said Obama had gone to play basketball; Obama aides said that during the trip he only played basketball in Kuwait, not during stops in Iraq or Afghanistan.
An Obama campaign Web site, called “Fight the Smears,” labels it a “lie” that Obama refused to meet with the troops. It includes links to news stories and videos showing Obama interacting with crowds of service members as evidence.