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Live from Inside Invesco Field

Barack Obama takes the stage Thursday night at Invesco Field. (Reuters/ Jim Bourg )

DENVER -- 11:39 p.m. Hillary Rodham Clinton convention delegate Betty Fraley, a retired teacher with the Tennessee delegation, said the speech was "really good, covered everything he needed to." She said she was a bit surprised by his forceful tone in lines about the Republicans. "That shocked me a little -- I had not heard him do that before," she said. But she thought it was the right tack to take "because a lot of stuff is going to be coming at them" from the other side.

Jerome Wiley Segovia, 34, of Arlington, a member of the Virginia delegation, said he did not worry that the setting and theatrics were too imperial, as the GOP had described the staging
before the event. "This is a historic moment for a country as great as we are. It was a very fitting glimpse of how he might look standing in the Rose Garden speaking to the country." Like Fraley, he was impressed by Obama's fiesty delivery. "I liked the way he said 'enough!' with a lot of firmness."
--Alec MacGillis

11:29 p.m. "It was magnificent," said Robert Zimmerman, a longtime Clinton supporter from New York. "It was a call to action of historic proportions"

Sekou Kamara, 42, an immigrant from Senegal who lives in Denver, said he thought Obama "touched on every issue of consequence, not only to Americans, but to the people of the world."
--Matthew Mosk

11: 22 p.m. POOL REPORT: The view from right behind Obama at the podium was stunning: the nominee looked out onto a sea of flashing bulbs and blue "change" signs, his own campaign message flashed back to him tens of thousands of times over. The text of the address scrolled up in front of him, large white digital letters on a black screen, and also reflected on the plexiglass in front of him. As he spoke, Obama stood with his feet planted firmly parallel, calm and at times motionless. A cool breeze wafted across the stage area toward the end of the speech.

The real color came at the end, as Michelle and the girls came out to join him, followed by the Bidens. After the initial embrace, the girls started playing with the red, white and blue confetti -- trying to catch the star-shaped flakes as they fell, tossing them in each other's hair. Melia playfully picked up a long blue strand of paper as her father was walking back toward her. He gave her a knowing look, with a slight, winking smile.

Obama is stopping by a friends and family reception now, then going to the National Finance Committee gathering here, staying at Invesco until about an hour after the end of the speech.
--Anne E. Kornblut

10:24 p.m. The lights inside the stadium have been dimmed to a level that makes its corporate sponsorship logos barely visible.

The upper northeast corner of the stadium, for instance, has a massive screen showing Obama as he delivers the speech. But the Verizon Wireless lighting and the Invesco Field logo surrounding the screen are dimmed.

The only thing other than Obama's image that's visible:, in bright lights.
--Paul Kane

Invesco Field on the final evening of the Democratic National Convention. (Susan Biddle / The Washington Post)

9:52 p.m. Our colleague Keith Richburg reports from Manhattan that "Times Square is packed with people watching the convention on a huge screen."

9:47 p.m. The Obama campaign Colorado state director announces the campaign has received more than 30,000 text message sign ups in the past hour.
--Garance Franke-Ruta

9:42 p.m. During former vice president Al Gore's speech, police kept journalists and others from entering the stadium floor. One of those in the front of the line, held hostage, was Tom Brokaw, who had the endzone crowd on his side. A loud group of conventiongoers started a chant -- "Let Tom through! Let Tom through!" -- which only seemed to amuse Brokaw.
--Kevin Merida

9:26 p.m. Obama has arrived at Invesco Field at Mile High stadium.

9:19 p.m. The Obama motorcade is en route.
--Anne E. Kornblut

8:55 p.m. The sun dropped below the rim of Invesco stadium just before 7 p.m. MT, leaving the crowd in perfect comfort. A slight breeze whispered around the bowl, just enough to set the American flag gently flapping.

Weeks ago,when the decision was made to move out doors, campaign manager David Plouffe had one request: "Dianna, no rain," he asked of Rep. Dianna DeGette, a Denver-area House member.

"David, I'm good -- not that good," DeGette said tonight, recalling the campaign chief's fears that rain would mar the event.
--Matthew Mosk and Paul Kane

8:52 p.m. Al Gore is speaking. His complete remarks, as prepared for delivery, can be read here. UPDATE: Chris Cillizza writes about the speech here.
--Garance Franke-Ruta

8:50 p.m. Many of the concessions have run out of food, and some are out of bottled water. The skyboxes, however, are well stocked with Stoli.
--Dana Milbank

Allie Gilkey of Texas (left) and Michael Joseph Gross of New York City dance at Invesco Field. (Robert Miller / The Washington Post)

8:35 p.m. Che Riley, who was outside the stadium selling Obama buttons to a 3-mile long line of people on Auraria Parkway, said she thought Denver has been a model of racial harmony during the convention. "I'm really excited about going back to New York and sharing with my peers how nice and peaceful it was." She said the respect she saw between races on the streets was "beyond her wildest imagination," and a different world from what she usually experiences in New York. "Coming into the Midwest, we didn't know what to expect."

Riley said button sales have been good, particularly buttons that have "Denver" emblazoned on them somewhere, but the cultural experience has been better. "We're doing this because we're part of a coalition that really wants to support Barack Obama ... the coalition of African American people."
--Vincent P. Bzdek

8:33 p.m. Actress Morgan Fairchild has scored a seat right next to Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (Pa.), directly stage right on the floor, about 20 rows from the stage.
--Paul Kane

8:31 p.m. As the excitement at Invesco mounted, Barack Obama remained out of view, back at the Westin hotel downtown. A crowd of onlookers gathered across the street to wait for his departure. The Secret Service contingent protecting him took even greater security measures than usual, bringing the pool of reporters to a secret location to wait for the motorcade.
--Anne E. Kornblut

8:30 p.m. The Obama campaign was making a considerable effort to capitalize on the high tech potential inherent in a gathering of 75,000 people.

Scoreboard contests asked those in the stadium to guess how much money Obama would seek to save each American for college, and text in their answers. In lights around the stadium, the campaign posted its web site address. And ticket holders were asked for their e-mail addresses when they signed up to attend.

The strategy is one of the earliest Obama used to develop an enormous grassroots network. During his first national tour, at the start of primary season, the campaign collected e-mail addresses on clipboards at every major rally. The campaign then used those addresses to get out Obama's change message, and, to ask for money.

The text messages are now an even more critical part of the campaign's strategy. Obama's field team plans to text supporters to reach them at critical moments -- most importantly, to urge them to vote on Election Day.
--Matthew Mosk

8:18 p.m. Conventions are known for funny hats, but Kenneth Sherman, 71, didn't stop there.

With red-and-white striped pants, a star-spangled shirt, and a wispy white beard, Sherman was a regular Uncle Sam.

This was a new look for the one-time hippie, who moved to Canada years earlier. "I've been to two other conventions," Sherman said. "But I was on the outside, protesting. This is my first time on the inside."

Sherman said he was inspired by Obama to join Democrats Abroad. Now he wears his costume at festivals in Ontario to register American citizens who are living up north.

Sherman is one of 21 delegates who live abroad. He got picked, he said, in part because he registered more than 1,000 new voters -- most duel citizens. "Not bad, considering I live in Canada!" he said.
--Matthew Mosk

8:17 p.m. While Tim Kaine took the stage for his big speech, a gigantic crowd and throng of cameras surrounded celebs Susan Sarandon, Anne Hathaway, Hayden Panettierre, and Allan Cummings, all seated several rows off the floor behind the camera riser. Also Tim Daley and the woman who plays coach's wife on "Friday Night Lights."
--Shailagh Murray

8:10 p.m. Jettie Ann Hill screamed uncontrollably from her seat with the Minnesota delegation. Security guards turned, the masses moving through packed aisles paused.

After calming down, Hill said she came to Denver with two wishes. One was to see a unified Democratic Party. The other was almost too much to hope for: to meet Oprah.

Then came a text message from her son, who was in a VIP section up by the skyboxes.

"Oprah's here!" Hill said.

--Matthew Mosk

8:00 p.m. Singer Sheryl Crow took the stage to sing her '90s hit "A Change Will Do You Good", playing off Obama's main political theme this campaign. The crowd in front of the stage is peppy, wiggling and dancing. Even the signers -- translating the song into sign language -- are dancing while signing.
--Paul Kane

7:59 p.m. On the 45th anniversary of his father's "I Have A Dream" speech, Martin Luther King III said watching Obama secure the nomination by acclamation was a "very positive, chilling experience" last night.

In an interview after addressing the stadium today, King said Obama's nomination was a major step along the path toward achieving his parents' dream. "I feel that my mom and dad are looking down upon us, smiling," he said, as the strains of the unofficial Obama campaign theme song "Yes We Can" was sung by Will.I.Am and John Legend on the stage.

King predicted Obama's speech would provide "an energy that this stadium has never felt, not even when the Denver Broncos are playing."
--Paul Kane

7:53 p.m. Not content with drawing a crowd billed as being close to 80,000, the Obama campaign is using the evening to increase its collection of cell phone numbers whose owners can be called -- and called upon -- for fundraising and organizing purposes in the weeks ahead.

At 7:03 EST, campaign supporters signed up for text messages received the notice "Final night of the convention is tonight -- don't miss Barack's speech! To get involved locally, REPLY: VOL plus your FIRST NAME and TOWN (ex: VOL Ann Chicago)." And, shortly after that, Invesco Field attendees were exhorted to take out their cell phones and sign up for Obama texts.
--Garance Franke-Ruta

7:47 p.m. Despite the long lines and tensions beyond the gates, the mood in the stadium is relaxed and upbeat. Former Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis navigated through the thicket to find his VIP seat. Former governor Tom Vilsack, briefly a candidate himself this year, stood in the endless line outside, just another Obama supporter. Veteran newsman Dan Rather scored a prime second-row seat.
--Shailagh Murray

7:43 p.m. An Invesco Field customer relations guard in Section 101 who gave his name as Curly said he's been to "all the games" -- and says he's never seen anything like this here. "Usually I just deal with drunks. This is amazing," he said.
--Ed O'Keefe

Democratic delegates Victory Bell (left) and his wife Carol Bell of Rockford, Ill., file into Invesco Field where Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will give his acceptance speech. (Robert Miller/TWP)

4:31 p.m. As promised, the Obama campaign has dispatched its ground game here in force. Just don't tell the press.

Obama staff members are registering voters, roping in phone bankers with promises of floor seats, and promoting a "Weekend of Action" this Saturday, Sunday and Monday throughout Colorado. But don't go looking for details in the papers tomorrow.

When this reporter approached a young woman registering voters, he was curtly told she was not allowed to talk to the press. Remy Jeffrey and Kate Robinson, two Colorado University students registering to vote, gushed about their jobs handing out signs tonight to the crowd. But they were allowed to speak, as mere volunteers.

A young man loudly hawking the Weekend of Action shut up fast as soon as a reporter approached. He grudgingly allowed me to take a flier -- he refused to actually hand it to me -- then said nothing as I walked away.
--Jonathan Weisman

By Web Politics Editor  |  August 28, 2008; 10:39 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Outside the Stadium, Looking in
Next: McCain Campaign's Instant Response


How big were the vats of Obama Kool-Aid at Invesco?

Posted by: Question | August 29, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

from all the posts of the McInsane's robots it's easy to tell that Obama scared the **** out of them with his speech last night.

Posted by: easyenough | August 29, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Well delivered speech. Impressive crowd. Now can he deliver in a debate or town hall meeting. He is sure to get a bounce today in the polls.

Go Team Obama!

Daily Gallup
Obama over 1,000,000 at

Posted by: mgultch | August 29, 2008 7:24 AM | Report abuse

Re: This was his most concrete speech he has ever given. Many of those criticizing Obama will have their taxes cut. And that tax cut will not come at the expense of increased deficits.
Posted by: Ronnn | August 29, 2008 12:26 AM

No Ronnn, Obama combined all the speeches he has delivered into this one. There is essentially nothing new and it was totally uninspiring.
And the promise of tax cut without increased deficits is just unexciting flattery since the people know full well that 'making the riches pay' is just one big lie by big spending politicians.

Posted by: pete | August 29, 2008 3:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow, did you see that very showy photo on the front page? It looks great until you look a little closer. It has all the elements of an Obama and the Democrat's America. A beautiful building but just a facade, bombs bursting in air but over America because of the disappearing security, smoke through the air, yes, it's just Obama blowing smoke with more platitudes once again, the appearance of loving families but no they're filled with hatred of America because of 20 years of hate from their "spiritual adviser" who curses America and never really being proud of America. Yes a beautiful sight but very deceiving. Thank you Democrats for encapsulating in this one picture the true change and direction America will endure under an Obama. Yes, even the chosen Democrat VP Biden said in a moment of truth, "Obama is not ready to lead". We believe you.

Posted by: Mike | August 29, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

Look below and you'll find lots of Obama Morons. What is it with these people? Do they not think? Have they no ability to reason out in their own minds? Are they truly just sheep?

Posted by: Laura Lovelace | August 29, 2008 12:41 AM | Report abuse

I just loves Obama. He's sooo pretty. I just feel in my heart he would be a good president because he's just sooo pretty. He wouldn't lie to us. He cares about our feelings and he wants to change things. He says America is better and he'll change what America is. I just feel so good about Obama. It doesn't really matter what you people think because he's sooo pretty.

Posted by: Obamama | August 29, 2008 12:39 AM | Report abuse

And below we have Ronnn, another Obama Moron. Obama has promised tax increases on the rich, the problem is that democrats consider anyone making over $20K a year rich. When was the last time a tax increase helped the economy??? Answer: Never. Which famous Democrat cut taxes to help the economy??? Answer: John F. Kennedy

Too bad they can learn from the past.

Posted by: Laura Lovelace | August 29, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

Many of these posts could have been written without hearing the speech. This was his most concrete speech he has ever given. Many of those criticizing Obama will have their taxes cut. And that tax cut will not come at the expense of increased deficits.

Still these trolls blog against him, that is what they are paid to do or are too uninformed to realize who they are within this economy

Posted by: Ronnn | August 29, 2008 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I find it truly amazing that people are so willing to fall for the empty words of Obama. I thought the Democrats were highly educated intellectuals, oh wait, that's just the elite limousine liberal Democrats.

Posted by: Anita Bonghit | August 28, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

For years, the mainstream news media has refused to stop idolizing the so-called straight talking maverick John McCain long enough to question the mental health consequences of the years he spent as a "special" prisoner of the communists in North Vietnam.

McCain, the presumptive Republican candidate for President, who could one day have his finger on the "red button," claims the communists subjected him to 5 ½ years of nonstop indoctrination sessions so intense that he attempted suicide.

Unfortunately for McCain, after his bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire near Hanoi on October 26, 1967, he parachuted into the hands of an evil communist enemy who 7 years earlier had adopted Soviet methods of prisoner interrogation.

At that time, the Soviets were perfecting techniques designed "to put a man's mind into a fog so that he will mistake what is true for what is untrue, what is right for what is wrong, and come to believe what did not happen actually had happened."

Psychiatric Journals are flush with reports concluding that former POWs may remain entangled in "harsh psychological battles" with themselves for decades after returning home including difficulty in controlling intense emotions such as anger and stress.

In political circles, McCain, sometimes referred to as "insane McCain," is well known for having a "volcanic" temper which his colleagues say often erupts into vulgar language and personal insults.

Democrat Paul Johnson, the former mayor of Phoenix, experienced McCain's in your face temperament up close. "His volatility borders in the area of being unstable," Johnson said. "Before I let this guy put his finger on the button, I would have to give considerable pause."

The Journal of America Medicine reported in an 1996 article that being a former POW is associated with "increased cumulative incidence rates of chronic disorders of the peripheral nervous system, joints, and back and an increased hazard rate of peptic ulcer."

The 71 year-old McCain most certainly suffers pain and the weakening effects of chronic arthritis. He broke both arms when he was forced to eject after his bomber was hit. He says the Vietnamese periodically re-fractured his bones during years of interrogation and torture which rendered him permanently incapable of raising his arms above his head.

McCain has never been publicly vetted about what and how much medications he is taking. Aside from his anger and arthritic pain issues, McCain has had reoccurring bouts of malignant melanoma, a deadly form of cancer that can spread quickly throughout the body.

These facts alone beg the question on how a President McCain, in the absence of his campaign staff handlers, would deal with a snap decision that had to be made "if the White House phone rang at 3 a.m."

McCain's POW experience is unique. His communist captors considered him the "crown prince" of U.S. POWs because his father, Adm. John McCain, was commander of all U.S. forces fighting in Vietnam. Because the communists believed he was from a "royal family" and would when finally released return to the United States to an important military or government job, they held him for two years in "solitary confinement."

In February, Reuters news reported that McCain's former captors are expressing delight in the news of his nomination as Republican party Presidential candidate. "In the past Senator McCain has conducted activities that had a positive impact in bringing the two nations [Vietnam/United States] closer. That is a point that Vietnamese people who follow the current affairs do recognize," said retired North Vietnamese Colonel Nguyen Van Phuong, representing retired and present members of the Vietnamese communist military.

Since McCain was first elected to Congress 1982 (and later to the Senate), he and his staff have expended tens of thousands of hours pushing U.S. legislation favoring communist Vietnam. In 1995, McCain stood with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. to give President Bill Clinton valuable political cover he needed to disregard the issue of missing U.S. POWs in Vietnam and remove the U.S. trade embargo against Vietnam.

No U.S. POW had any communication with McCain or knew where he was being held during at least 8 to 12 months of McCain's first two years of captivity. He has either been unable or unwilling to account for the months he was missing from the POW system.

Within days of McCain's shoot down and after being told the identity of his famous father, the Vietnamese rushed him to Gai Lam military hospital (U.S. government documents), a medical facility normally unavailable to treat U.S. POWs. McCain was kept at Gai Lam for six weeks under the control of Soviet medical specialist anxious to test the use of their "mind and behavior modification" drugs on such an important prisoner.

McCain said the communists were so effective with their interrogation techniques that he broke on the fourth day after being captured and began cooperating. "Demands for military information were accompanied by threats to terminate my medical treatment if I [McCain] did not cooperate. Eventually, I gave them my ship's name and squadron number, and confirmed that my target had been the power plant." Pages 193-194, Faith of My Fathers, by John McCain.

U.S. intelligence agents concluded in the early 1950s that Soviet intelligence (KGB) agents were experimenting on their prisoners with "mind control" techniques and behavior modification drugs

Allen W. Dulles, the newly confirmed CIA director acknowledged the dilemma in April 1953, when he told a gathering of Princeton alumni that "a sinister battle for men's minds" was underway. The Soviets, Dulles explained "have developed brain perversion techniques, some of which are so subtle and so abhorrent to our way of life that we have recoiled from facing up to them."

During the Cold War, the Soviets and the CIA began competing with secret experiments on prisoners aimed at honing the use of "chemical and biological materials capable of producing human behavioral and physiological changes." The experiments included isolation, sleep deprivation, humiliation, alternating with long hours of interrogation.

Since the Russians and Chinese (and our own CIA) have proven they can in a relative short time alter the basic emotional and behavior patterns of captives, it is fair to assume that McCain's unpredictable and often volatile temperament is directly related to his treatment as a 5 ½ prisoner of the communists.

The American public was first exposed to Soviet "brain perversion techniques" during Korean War when the communists launched a propaganda offensive featuring filmed and recorded testimony of captured U.S. servicemen confessing to war crimes including the use of germ warfare.

By the end of the Korean War, "70 percent of the 7,190 U.S. prisoners held in China had either made confessions or signed petitions calling for an end to the American war effort in Asia. Fifteen percent collaborated fully with the Chinese, and only 5 percent steadfastly resisted."

Military officials were especially alarmed when a significant number of the U.S. prisoners refused to recant their confessions as soon as they returned to the United States.

Beginning in 1960, KGB and Chinese agents directed the Vietnamese in establishing Vietnam's original interrogation guidelines for U.S. prisoners. They suggested interrogation techniques and issued specific intelligence requirements to be extracted during prisoner interrogations.

Official American position on POW confessions was that they were false and forced while privately expressing grave concern that the collaborations proved the communists had developed techniques that could "put a man's mind into a fog."

Psychologist have identified behavior in which a former prisoner emotionally bonds with an abuser as the Stockholm Syndrome. McCain was a strong advocate for prosecuting Bosnian, Yugoslavian and Iraqi war criminals and is adamantly opposed to any form of normalized relation with Cuba until it allows "free elections, human right organizations and a free and independent media."

Yet, McCain has resisted any kind of war crimes investigation of his former Vietnamese torturers. Prosecution and subsequent trials could bring to justice the Vietnamese torturers known by the American POWs as the Bug, Slopehead, the Prick, the Soft Soap Fairy, Rabbit, the Cat, Zorba and many others who were responsible for the murder in North Vietnam of at least 55 U.S. POWs and the brutal torture of hundreds of others.

In November 1991, Tracy Usry, chief investigator of the Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, testified before the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, that the Soviets interrogated U.S. prisoners of war in Vietnam. McCain became outraged, interrupting Usry several times, arguing that "none of the returned U.S. prisoners of war released by Vietnam were ever interrogated by the Soviets."

Former KGB Maj. Gen. Oleg Kalugin testified during the hearings that the KGB did interrogate U.S. POWs in Vietnam. Kalugin stated that one of the POWs worked on by the KGB was a "high-ranking naval officer," who, according to Kalugin, agreed to work with the Soviets upon his repatriation to the United States and has frequently appeared on U.S. television.

Col. Bui Tin, a former Senior Colonel in the North Vietnamese Army, testified on the same day, but after Usry, that because of his high position in the Communist Party during the war he had the authority to "read all documents and secret telegrams from the politburo" pertaining to American prisoners of war. He said that not only did the Soviets interrogate some American prisoners of war, but that they treated the Americans very badly.

McCain stunned onlookers at the hearing when he moved to the witness table and physically embraced Col. Tin as if he was a long, lost brother.

In 1949 Dr. Andrew Salter authored Conditioned Reflex Therapy, a pioneering work in the field of psychoanalysis. Ten years later, as Richard Condon was writing The Manchurian Candidate, he asked Dr. Salter to help "design" the brainwashed character for the book and subsequent movie.

More than 40 years later, in 1992, during the C-SPAN broadcasts of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, Dr. Salter watched the hearings from his New York City apartment. Salter became fascinated with McCain's overly aggressive and angry behavior toward witnesses, especially family members of men still missing in action. After a few hours he called a friend telling her, "the signs are all there, I'm afraid Senator John McCain has been brainwashed."

During the Senate Select hearings, McCain opposed all efforts by the POW/MIA families and activists to have the Select Committee expand its investigation to study how successful the Vietnamese, Soviet, Chinese and Cuban interrogation apparatuses were at exploiting American prisoners of war.

News pundants have elevated McCain to "the most popular national political figure in the country" by repeatedly describing him as a "war hero" based on his refusal accept a communist offer of "early release" from captivity.

What the media has carelessly refused to acknowledge is that the camp's senior ranking U.S. POW (SRO) had issued unquestionable orders that if a POW was to be released, "it would be the longest held prisoner" Because McCain was not the longest held POW, he would have faced a military court-marshal if he had accepted the offer.

It is incumbent upon McCain to prove to the American people that the 5 1/2 years he spent at the mercy of communist interrogators did not leave him with mental health issues that could hinder him in making snap decisions "if the White House phone rang at 3 a.m."

Is McCain taking any kind of pain or "nerve" medicines? If so, do the medicines cause emotional and physical reactions?

McCain was once treated for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is said to get worse over time for former POWs, what is the status of his treatment?

Does McCain still harbor stress triggered suicidal tendencies?

Where was McCain and what was happening to him during the months he was missing from the POW camp?

McCain implies that he made only one propaganda broadcast for the communists, but Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffers say he made over 30. How many did he make and what did he get in return?

Why does McCain still deny that the Soviets were involved in the interrogation of U.S. POWs in Vietnam?

Does McCain's former interrogators, the communist Vietnamese, Russians, Chinese and Cubans have anything in their secret intelligence files about his behavior as a prisoner with which they could blackmail a President John McCain?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 11:24 PM | Report abuse

by Col. David H. Hackworth
John McCain is being hailed by the press as a "genuine war hero." But is he a war hero in the conventional sense like Audie Murphy and John Glenn?
Or is his "war hero" status the creation of a very slick publicity campaign that plays on flag, duty, honor and country?
For sure, McCain has the fruitsalad a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit for Valor, a Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Stars , two Commendation medals plus two Purple Hearts and a dozen service gongs.
On a purely medal count basis, he outweighs Murphy and Glenn, who both for years repeatedly performed extraordinary deeds on the ground or in the air against an armed enemy.
McCain's valor awards are based on what happened in 1967, when during his 23d mission over Vietnam, he was shot down, seriously injured, captured and then spent 5 1/2 brutal years as a POW.
In an attempt to find out exactly what the man did to earn these many hero awards, I asked his Senate office three times to provide copies of the narratives for each medal. I'm still waiting.
I next went to the Pentagon. Within a week, I received a recap of his medals and many of the narratives that give the details of what he did.
None of the awards, less the DFC, were for heroism over the battlefield where he spent no more than 20 hours. Two Naval officers described the awards as "boilerplate" and "part of an SOP medal package given to repatriated (Vietnamera) POWs."
McCain's Silver Star narrative for the period 27 October 1967 the day after he was shot down to 8 December 1968 reads: "His captors… subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly towards the eventual abandonment…" of such harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese.
Yet in McCain's own words just four days after being captured, he admits he violated the U.S. Code of Conduct by telling his captors "O.K, I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital."
A Vietnam vet detractor says, "He received the nation's third highest award, the Silver Star, for treason. He provided aid and comfort to the enemy!"
The rest of his valor awards issued automatically every year while he was a POW read much like the Silver Star. More boilerplate often repeating the exact same words. An example: "By his heroic endeavors, exceptional skill, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces."
Yet McCain's conduct while a POW negates these glowing comments. The facts are that he signed a confession and declared himself a "black criminal who performed deeds of an air pirate." This statement and other interviews he gave to the Communist press press were used as propaganda to fan the flames of the antiwar movement.
Accounts by McCain and other writers tell of the horror he endured: relentlessly beatings, torture, broken limbs. All inflicted during savage interrogations. Yet no other POW was a witness to these accounts. 
A former POW says "No man witnessed another man during interrogations… We relied on each other to tell the truth when a man was returned to his cell."
The U.S. Navy says two eyewitnesses are required for any award of heroism. But for the valor awards McCain received, there are no eyewitnesses, less himself and his captors. And they're not talking.
Our POWs in Vietnam were treated appallingly. The Viets would either break a POW or kill him. POWs provided info beyond name, rank and serial number or they didn't come back.
Based on these stalwart men's horrific experiences, the Code of Conduct has been changed. A POW says, "Now the training is to give them something… don't risk permanent damage to health, mind or body." 
McCain refused an early release. An act of valor? Three former POWs told me he was ordered to turn it down by his U.S. POW commander and he "just followed orders."
McCain certainly doesn't appear to be a war hero by conventional standards, but rather a tough survivor whose handlers are overplaying the war hero card.
David H. Hackworth died in June 2005, he was a much-decorated and highly unconventional former career Army officer who became a combat legend in Vietnam. Col. Hackworth received 78 combat awards — including a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and eight Purple Hearts — during his 25-year military career which spanned the Korean and Vietnam wars..

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

THE Admiral SON.

In Oct. 26, 1967, the admiral's son while flying his 23rd mission over North Vietnam, once again fell from the sky, this time landing in the hands of a brutal enemy. He was beaten and bayoneted. His shoulder was smashed and his right calf was nearly perpendicular to his knee.
The severely wounded McCain was finally thrown on the back of a truck and hauled to the infamous Hanoi Hilton prison camp. Immediately, his captors began to interrogate him using sadistic methods they had perfected on hundreds of captured U.S. servicemen before him.

His interrogators demanded military information. When he refused, his guards kicked and pounded him mercilessly.
McCain admits that three to four days after he was captured, he promised the Vietnamese, "I'll give you military information if you will take me to the hospital."
McCain also admits that the Vietnamese rushed him to a hospital, but denies he was given "special medical treatment" because of his promise.
He claims he was given medical care normally unavailable to captured Americans only because the Vietnamese learned he was the son of Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., the soon-to-be commander of all U.S. forces in the Pacific including those fighting in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese figured that because POW McCain's father was of such high military rank that he was of royalty or the governing circle in the United States. Thereafter the communist bragged that they had captured "the crown prince"and treated him as a "special prisoner."

Less than two weeks after McCain was taken to a hospital, Hanoi's press began quoting him giving specific military information, including the name of the aircraft carrier on which he was based, numbers of U.S. pilots that had been lost, the number of aircraft in his flight, information about location of rescue ships and the order of which his attack was supposed to take place.
There is also evidence that McCain received "special" medical treatment from a Soviet physician.

After he was out of the hospital, McCain continued cooperating with the North Vietnamese for a period of three years. He made radio broadcasts for the communists and met with foreign delegations, including the Cubans. He was interviewed by at least two North Vietnamese generals one of whom was Vietnam's national hero, General Vo Nguyen Giap.

On June 4, 1969, a U.S. wire service story headlined "PW Songbird Is Pilot Son of Admiral," reported one of McCain's radio broadcasts: "Hanoi has aired a broadcast in which the pilot son of the United States commander in the Pacific, Adm. John McCain, purportedly admits to having bombed civilian targets in North Vietnam and praises medical treatment he has received since being taken prisoner.
McCain says he violated the Code of Conduct only when the North Vietnamese brutally tortured him. He further claims that he was so distraught afterwards that he tried to commit suicide. He has never explained why his "aid to the enemy" continued for more than three years.

Even though there are no reports in the public record from other POWs who witnessed McCain's claims of torture and heroics or his attempted suicide, the American media has accepted his version of events word for word, no questions asked.

Yet, the same press that transformed the admiral's son into an "incredible war hero--an inspiration to all Americans," vilified the two grunts.
Comparing the incidents surrounding the fates of three POWs,' who collaborated with the enemy, makes one question why two faced possible execution for treason, while the third won acclaim as a hero fit to be President of the United States.
Once more, Lady Luck had smiled on John McCain . . . or was it the admiral?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 11:16 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: ARRABBIATO | August 28, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: ARRABBIATO | August 28, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

I can't see the speech but have now read it but he has really nailed it.
Wish I could see it but will do later.

I suppose the Republicans will trash it but i see it as one of the great speeches

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

"John McCain won't even follow bin Laden to the cave he lives in"?


Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

10:32 EDT

It was said of Obama during the primaries that he just couldn't seem to put Hillary Clinton away.

Now he seems to me to think he's running against Barney the dinosaur. He is congenitally incapable of twisting the knife.

He makes rhetorical points against his opponent like a professor weighing arguments in a classroom, not like an outraged man representing honest people who are being raped by their government.

This is unlikely to turn out well for the Democrats.

Posted by: officermancuso | August 28, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Dick Durbin is one minute late according to the schedule the DNC put out before the convention. Some serious discipline going on here.

Posted by: officermancuso | August 28, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Whoa! A little of John Lennon's more radical music.

Posted by: officermancuso | August 28, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Obama will tell you that this election is about YOU and not him!
Does Obama have a clue what YOU means.

Kind of like his definition of we?

"We are the ones we have been waiting for."

We means I.

YOU means I!

Everything about Obama means I!
He wants in the White House for HIM. NOONE else. Just HIM! God help America if Americans do not wake up to "I".

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

If JakeD and Anonymous are two different people, I'm Batman.

Posted by: officermancuso | August 28, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

America, Please vote for the work horse and not this show horse! It is so sick! Americans would all be ill with 4 years of this sick coverage of this ego maniac.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh My God! Oh My God! Oh My God! Obama has arrived at Invesco Field. Oh My God!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

9:26 PM EDT: Is it my imagination, or is Biden half bagged?

Posted by: officermancuso | August 28, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

A full two minutes have passed. Where's the NEXT update?! I'm on the edge of my seat to seat more "reporters" in the tank for Barack APOLLO Obama. I can't wait!

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Can we get a TENTH WaPo "reporter" breathlessly awaiting the arrival of THE ONE? Will they get to kiss the ring on his finger? Will they be THAT lucky?

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, in the WaPo going to have breathless, minute-by-minute updates for McCain's acceptance speech? Someone call the Ombudsman(woman).

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 8:44 PM | Report abuse

WhooooooooooooWEEEEEEEEEEE! Stevie Wonder


Gotta get everyone to watch CSPan to see all this REALLY good stuff!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Speaking about football, John Madden covering an intramural Raiders practice game would offer tougher coverage than the WaPo.

Posted by: 24AheadDotCom | August 28, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Bloomberg is pro-choice (so, that won't happen).

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Lyndon LaRouche predicts McCain will install billionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg to be his VP tomorrow. He will fulfill their agenda of privatizing U.S. government's programs, infrastructure and jobs for big profit$$$ as the depressing economy threatens their wealth.

The country is going into a major economic depression with over 5000 banks are already bankrupt today with more day by day.

Hillary was rid of because she would fix the economy by bringing back President FDR's economic Bretton Woods policy to fix current economic collapse. This policy caters to the 80% of the forgotten people and threatens the oligarghy's wealth and whose ultimate goal is to rid of all governments, peoples' sovereingties and Constitutions. To install fascism.

In total contrast, Hillary would have fixed the bad economy by using President FDR's Bretton Woods system and is why she was rid of as the most qualified candidate.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 28, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

It will be an electric moment for sure, but will it be enough for Obama to pull away? I don't think so. He hasn't shown that he's up to it.

Posted by: mpp | August 28, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Will "THE TRAIL", and WaPo in general, dedicate this much coverage to the GOP Convention next week?

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 4:57 PM
Of-course, they have to or you guys would throw a hissy-fit

Posted by: :-) | August 28, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Ummm, not to give anything away, Jonathon, but there's this thing called the Interweb (I believe it's a system of tubes). You might just look up the specifics on all of the above topics right on, in great detail. This isn't the Beijing Olympics, so I assume you do get online access.

Posted by: Not a big mystery | August 28, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his crew are a@@holes.

Posted by: William Ayers | August 28, 2008 5:50 PM
Another babbling idiot posting.

Posted by: :-) | August 28, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his crew are a@@holes.

Posted by: William Ayers | August 28, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm sick of the comparisons and going on and on earlier on
live wire about "the greek temple" How childish.
Show Pictures of the MEMORIAL>>
Discuss the importance of LINCOLN and the stage design and the connections OBAMA's Campaign has made to Lincoln.

Posted by: Kim | August 28, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, that's right!! Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews are NOT liberals! They're NOT! They're NOT! They're NOT!

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

That's because, contrary to the widely trumpeted myth of the "liberal press", the Obama campaign knows that the Press is not its friend. The Press is owned and operated by the corporate media elite for the purpose of making money. Obama has gotten as far as he has by bypassing the media, using The Web. Old, 20th century models will fall. They have it completely right. Do not talk to the Press, they are not your friend.

Look what they did to Clinton and what they didn't do to Bush.

Posted by: thebob.bob | August 28, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

You journalists are so sensitive. Weekend of Action's behavior is what any New Yorker faces when they go out to's your food (on the next table) And how is that any different from a WH press conference.

Posted by: NYC | August 28, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Will "THE TRAIL", and WaPo in general, dedicate this much coverage to the GOP Convention next week?

Posted by: JakeD | August 28, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

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