01 August 2008

U.S. European Command: Limited press coverage of Obama Landstuhl visit would have been permitted

Landstuhl clarifies press rules for aborted Obama visit

LANDSTUHL, Germany - Although news outlets have reported charges that Sen. Barack Obama canceled his trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany because the media weren't allowed to cover the event, U.S. European Command officials say plans were in place to allow limited press coverage.

All media, including local press and the more than 40 journalists accompanying the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on his eight-day international trip last week, would have been able to photograph the Illinois senator entering and leaving the hospital, said Air Force Lt. Col. John Dorrian, a U.S. European Command spokesman.

Defense Department public affairs policy guidance on media coverage of candidates visiting military installations states "under no circumstances may a candidate receive approval to make a campaign or election-related statement or to respond to a campaign or election-related media query."

The guidance also states that "the candidate may appear on camera and in photographs as an official participant and may make a statement or answer questions about the official business being conducted." ...

In 2008, Landstuhl has hosted eight congressional delegations, and each of those delegations was composed of three to eight Congress members, Dorrian said.

McCain last visited Landstuhl on April 5, 2007, as part of a congressional delegation.

McCain's visit was closed to the press.

Related: Iraq’s Interior Minister visits wounded US troops at Walter Reed and thanks them for liberating Iraq

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