I would not be surprised to see the Obama campaign reach out to Ryan Jopek’s family to do some belated, after-the-fact outreach about the Senator citing their son on the campaign trail, as he did in Friday night’s debate.
Brian Jopek, Ryan’s father, is a staff sergeant and public affairs officer with the Wisconsin Army Guard who spent a year in Mosul. On March 20 of this year, he appeared on a Wisconsin Public Radio program and said that Jopek’s mother had “asked Mr. Obama to not wear the bracelet any more at any of his public appearances.”
It seemed on Friday night we had a Bush-looks-at-his-watch moment when Obama had to double check his bracelet to recall Sgt. Jopek’s name. If, indeed, six months ago the Jopek family made clear that they wished Obama to not wear the bracelet further (and indeed, stop citing him on the trail), then Obama’s bracelet comment may be a gaffe of historical proportions.
(One liberal reader complained that Obama’s seeming inability to recall Jopek’s name was meaningless, and shouldn’t we talk about “real issues,” etc. I thought that there was nothing wrong with President George H.W. Bush looking at his watch in a 1992 debate, checking the time remaining. But it was widely mocked as a sign that “Bush had someplace else to be.” I think both aspects of Obama’s reference to his own bracelet — his seeming unfamiliarity with Jopek’s name and this report of ignoring the family’s wishes — are a bit more revealing about the candidate.)
UPDATE: Eh. When I received this, I hesitated, as I figured the Obama camp would be reaching out to Jopek’s family immediately. Now the AP has a story saying Jopek’s mother was “ecstatic” her son was mentioned during the debate.