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Jewish World Review
Oct. 2, 2008
/ 3 Tishrei 5769
Battle of the Bracelets: Accessorizing, Obama style
John H. Fund
Barack Obama gave a smooth performance in his first debate with John McCain last Friday, but one faux pas may haunt him. When Mr. McCain mentioned he was wearing a bracelet with the name of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, Mr. Obama couldn't resist noting he had a similar bracelet, although he had to glance down to tell the audience that it belonged to Sergeant Ryan David Jopek of Wisconsin.
But it's not that hesitation that Mr. Obama may regret. It's the fact that Jopek's own father has told reporters he had asked Mr. Obama to stop wearing the bracelet, because he didn't want his family to become part of a political statement.
Brian Jopek told Wisconsin Public Radio that his ex-wife gave Mr. Obama the bracelet because "she just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself." He said Ryan's mother had told him in an email she had actually asked Mr. Obama not to wear her son's bracelet any more in public. Tracy Jopek confirmed to the Associated Press that she asked him to stop wearing the bracelet, although she allowed she was "
satisfied" with how the candidate mentioned it during Friday's presidential debate.
That distinction will likely allow Mr. Obama to ride out the controversy, but he will have to be careful in the future. Taking such a visible talisman off his wrist would likely raise a flurry of media questions, so it probably will be a permanent part of Mr. Obama's wardrobe at least until the election.
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JWR contributor John H. Fund is author, most recently, of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)
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© 2006, John H. Fund