During Friday’s presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama, a strong foe of the Iraq war, displayed a bracelet bearing the name of Sgt. Ryan David Jopek.
Obama made reference to his bracelet to one-up Sen. John McCain after the Arizona senator had shown a similar bracelet honoring the late Matthew Stanley, also killed in Iraq.
But Jopek’s father says his ex-wife had asked Obama to stop using the bracelet as a publicity stunt.
McCain raised the issue when he told Friday's audience that at a town-hall meeting in Wolfeboro, N.H., a woman stood up and said, “‘Senator McCain, I want you to do me the honor of wearing a bracelet with my son's name on it. He was 22 years old and he was killed in combat outside of Baghdad, Matthew Stanley, before Christmas last year. This was last August, a year ago.’ And I said, 'I will -- I will wear his bracelet with honor.'”
Obama quickly responded by holding up his wrist. "I’ve got a bracelet, too," he said, "From the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, given to me in Green Bay. She asked me, 'Can you please make sure another mother is not going through what I'm going through?'”
NewsBusters.org, however, reported that Jopek’s father, Brian, told Wisconsin Public Radio that his ex-wife had misgivings about Obama wearing the bracelet.
According to a transcript of Brian Jopek's radio interview, he said: "From what I understood from e-mail exchanges with Tracy … she wanted to put a name, she wanted Sen. Obama to know Ryan's name. … She wasn't looking to turn it into a big media event. … She just wanted it to be something between Barack Obama and herself.”
He went on to say his ex-wife is supporting Obama "because of some of the negative feedback she’s gotten on the Internet, you know Internet blogs, you know people accusing her of … or accusing Obama of trying to get votes doing it … and that sort of thing, she has turned down any subsequent interviews with the media because she just didn’t, she just didn't want it to get turned into something that it wasn’t.
"She had told me that in an e-mail that she had asked, actually asked Mr. Obama to not wear the bracelet anymore at any of his public appearances."
ABC News’ Jake Tapper reported on the NewsBusters story and said he could not confirm it and was trying to reach Tracy Jopek.
Newsmax was unable to reach either parent, but left messages.
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