The mother of a soldier killed in Iraq is criticizing Internet reports that suggest Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama exploited her son for political purposes by mentioning him during Friday’s debate.
Although Jopek told The Associated Press on Sunday she was honored that Obama remembered Sgt. Ryan David Jopek, who was killed in 2006 by a roadside bomb, she acknowledged that she e-mailed the Obama campaign in February asking that the presidential candidate not mention her son in speeches or debates.
But she said Obama’s mention on Friday was appropriate because he was responding after Sen. John McCain, the Republican nominee, said a soldier’s mother gave him a bracelet.
“I’ve got a bracelet, too, from Sergeant — from the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, given to me in Green Bay,” Obama said during the debate. “She asked me, ‘Can you please make sure another mother is not going through what I’m going through?’ No U.S. soldier ever dies in vain because they’re carrying out the missions of their commander in chief. And we honor all the service that they’ve provided.”
Jopek told the AP: “I don’t understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet,” adding that Obama’s comment rightfully suggested there’s more than one viewpoint on the war.
“I think these bracelets should be looked upon as an honor that both candidates wear them to respect the troops. My request to both of them is that they honor the troops by lifting the conversation to the issues, and that they continue to live up to the standards our military deserves.”