Matthew Sheffield has posted video of Obama’s “I’ve got a bracelet too” line from the debate last night and is tracking which media outlets have reported that exchange between McCain and Obama.
Update: Bruce Kesler sent me a link to this excellent column by Charles Hurt which goes into the significance of the bracelets.
For Obama, the war going badly had been a great political boon. His early opposition to it had gotten him noticed.
And his unwavering opposition is why he beat Hillary Clinton in the primary.
John McCain, who knows something about military defeat, made a different decision. It was an unpopular one – and it came during the darkest days of his campaign.
Still, McCain lashed himself to the sinking ship that was the war in Iraq and voted for the surge.
He’d rather win a war and lose and election than lose a war, McCain said more times than we can remember.
Today, of course, Iraq is a much different place. It is far more peaceful than even the biggest war proponents dare imagine just a year ago. And Obama, after months of hemming and hawing, finally acknowledged the unavoidable: that the surge succeeded beyond his wildest imagination.
Yet, amazingly, he also says he still wouldn’t have supported the surge.
One of last night’s most telling moments came when McCain revealed a wristband that had belonged to a soldier killed in Iraq given to him by the soldier’s mother. Do everything in your power, the mother told McCain, to make sure “my son’s death was not in vain.”
“I’ve got a bracelet, too,” Obama said – given to him by the mother of a dead soldier who asked Obama to “make sure that another mother’s not going through what I’m going through.”
Here lies the difference between these two men:
Obama will accept defeat if continuing on hurts too much. For McCain, any mission where defeat is an option is a mission not worth fighting in the first place.
Update II: Bookworm says what I felt, but puts it into words better than I ever could.
Obama, had he wanted to, could have scored some substantive points by immediately saying that we don’t honor one man’s death by creating more dead, or some such argument. That seemed to be where he was heading, but I tuned out because I was so overwhelmed by his actual response: “I’ve got a bracelet too.”
What is this? Kindergarten? Could anything show more clearly what a selfish, self-centered, shallow man Obama is. McCain is talking about real people, and he’s talking about how the beliefs he shares with those real people drive him to his understanding that, both for the good of the nation and for the honor of her troops, America must leave Iraq as a strong, viable nation. It breaks faith with both America and her troops to slink away as Obama so wants to do. This is a deep substantive argument. The bracelet wasn’t the central point. It was simply a human-interest lead-in to that point.
And what does Obama say? “I’ve got a bracelet too.” What that means, translated is,
“I can’t think of an original argument, I don’t have a deep emotional story, I don’t have sound policy justifications for abandoning Iraq now that we’re trembling on the verge of actual and complete success but, ‘Nyah, nyah, nyah-nyah-nyah — I’ve got a bracelet too.'” The attitude and ignorance behind the statement was appalling.
If this was just one example, it would be bad enough, but we’ve seen this before. When Hillary, the darling of huge chunks of American women, self-deprecatingly (and rather charmingly) acknowledges that she grates on some people, Obama snaps back with the condescending “You’re likable enough.” Follow the link to find out what Bookworm would have done if she were Hillary.