There was a snippet on this in the Washington Post today, When Special (Photo) Ops Turn Oops:
Vast numbers of lawmakers have signed on to the congressional delegation shuttle to Baghdad. And nary a one has failed to ensure that troops from the home district — who, of course, have nothing better to do — are rounded up to have lunch and talk to their representative.
These chats — and the fine photos they produce — pay handsome dividends. Obviously there are the bragging rights: “Well, I’ve been over there talking with our troops, with Jimmy Jones and Sally Smith — whose parents are here today — and with others, and let me tell you . . .”
More ominously, the lawmaker might even return from these forays thinking he or she actually knows what’s going on over there. A truly frightening thought.
But it’s the photos with the brass, Iraqi leaders and especially the troops — suitable for signing, for newsletters and for campaign literature — that are the key benefit, though some photos don’t quite work out.
For example, here’s a very nice shot of Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.), whose district includes Fort Hood and its 4th Infantry Division. As always, some troops from home were selected to meet with the congressman.
Apparently somebody had a sense of humor. Carter found out afterward that this warm “grip ‘n’ grin” shot was with Sgt. 1st Class Rob Harrell, whose mother, Mary Beth Harrell, a lawyer in Killeen, Tex., will be Carter’s Democratic opponent in November. The challenger’s husband, we’re told, is retired military. Another son, also on active duty, is to be deployed in Iraq this summer.
It was picked up in a Daily Kos diary, GOPer meets opponent’s son–in Iraq! Which added this little nugget:
Yet another classic case of a Republican trying to look tough, and running into a Democrat who is.
For what it’s worth what Rep. Carter was none too excited about this when he found at what happened. The one thing I think is very telling in all of this is the fact that Rep. Carter seemed to have no idea this could happen. Mary Beth Harrell has been campaigning as a military wife and Mother ever since she entered the race. She’s from the Fort Hood district and so is her son that’s in Iraq. She speaks of this all the time. For the congressman not to know this shows the lack of preparation, not only by him, but by his staff. He did contact Mary Beth on his return to let her know her son is doing fine.