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McCain TV Ad Draws Scrutiny for Distorting Facts

A recent ad run by GOP Sen. John McCain alleged that his rival, Sen. Barack Obama, chose to skip a chance to meet with wounded troops because media was not allowed -- claims that have since been disputed. The Washington Post's Dan Balz and FactCheck.org's Brooks Jackson discuss the debate over the ad.

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    Now, a look at a dispute over a campaign attack. Judy Woodruff has that story.


    On Saturday, Republican presidential candidate John McCain started airing a TV ad that criticized Democrat Barack Obama's international trip last week.


    And now he made time to go to the gym, but cancelled a visit with wounded troops. Seems the Pentagon wouldn't allow him to bring cameras.John McCain is always there for our troops. McCain, country first.


    There's a problem, however, with the suggestion that Obama cancelled his visit with wounded troops because the press could not come: It's not true.

    As for Obama making time to go to the gym, the ad showed Obama shooting baskets with American troops in Kuwait. The Obama campaign denounced the ad and said McCain is "running an increasingly dishonorable campaign."

    Obama did, indeed, cancel a visit with wounded troops at an American base in Germany, but it was not because the press was forbidden.In fact, he planned to bring just one aide, his campaign military adviser.

    But the Defense Department said no campaign staff was allowed, and Obama — at that time traveling with only campaign staff — cancelled the trip. Obama did visit wounded American troops during a previous stop on the trip away from cameras as part of a congressional delegation.

    Senator Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican who supported McCain's 2000 candidacy, accompanied Obama on part of his trip last week. Hagel was not on the campaign-funded leg in Europe and spoke to CBS's Bob Schieffer Sunday.

    SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), Nebraska: It would be totally inappropriate for him, on a campaign trip, to go to a military hospital and use those soldiers as props. So I think he probably, based on what I know, he did the right thing.

    BOB SCHIEFFER, Host, "Face The Nation": Do you think that ad was appropriate?


    I do not think it was appropriate.


    But McCain, who has built has candidacy around his self-described record as a "straight-talker," has continued to level the charge in media appearances and in campaign e-mail sent to reporters.

    McCain was asked about it on ABC Sunday.

    SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), Arizona: There was nothing to prevent him from going, if he went without the press and the media and his campaign people. But we'll see what happens.

    GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, "This Week" Anchor: Fair game?


    Well, I think people make a judgment by what we do and what we don't do. He certainly found time to do other things.


    But news reports over the past two days have contradicted the McCain narrative. NBC's Andrea Mitchell on Monday.


    The McCain ad says literally that he could have gone, you know, that he did other things, Obama did other things, he could have visited the troops, but not with cameras. That literally is not true. And the point is that Obama had no intention of bringing any cameras with him. I was there; I can vouch for that.


    The ad is one of a stream of critical spots from the McCain team since they brought in a new campaign manager. The result: harder and more frequent questioning of, and attacks on, Obama's record, fitness for office, and judgment. Late today in Missouri, Senator Obama was asked about the recent critical ads run by the McCain camp.


    You know, I don't pay attention to John McCain's ads, although I do notice that he doesn't seem to have anything very positive to say about himself, does he? He seems to be only talking about me. You need to ask John McCain what he's for, not just what he's against.

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