In other words, that photo used as propaganda for McSame's speech last night was THE WRONG WALTER REED BUILDING. Walter Reed Middle School officials were not happy.
A lot of people were asking tonight: what the hell was that mansion up behind John McCain tonight during the first part of the speech? As I noted below, the TV close-ups only showed McCain's head against the grass in the picture, which made it look like he was reprising his famed green screen performance. And when they panned out, it looked like McCain was showing off one of his mansions.
Well, several readers have written in to tell me that the building is actually the main building on the campus of the Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California. And sure enough, this page on the school's website makes it pretty clear that they're correct.
You can compare below ...So it's not a mansion, but a middle school. But that still doesn't answer the question of why they picked this picture to have him standing in front of -- when I would imagine that 99.9% of the US population would have no idea what they were looking at.
(ed.note: Thanks to TPM Readers JR and EK for cluing us in.)
Late Update: I'm surprised this hadn't occurred to me. But several readers have suggested that perhaps one of the tech geeks charged with setting up the audio/visual bells and whistles for the evening was tasked with getting pictures of Walter Reed Army Medical Center but goofed and got this instead. At first I thought, No, that's ridiculous. This is a major political party with big time professionals putting this together. Nothing is left to chance. I mean, is this the RNC or a scene out Spinal Tap or Waiting for Guffman? I still have a bit of a hard time believing they're quite that incompetent. But when you figure in what appears to be the utter lack of any logic for this school being behind McCain and the fact that it has 'Walter Reed' in its name, I'm really not sure you can discount this possibility.
(ed.note: Special bonus snark: That's not stock photo keyword searching we can believe in.)
Oh yes kids, this is EPIC FAIL. If this isn't symbolic of how the GOP is a bunch of political hacks that aren't even competent enough to get their own political hackery right, I dunno what is. It's totally appropriate symbology for the idiocy from the top the GOP has brought us, and is such a really lame ass failure I don't know where to begin.
Okay, the McCain-Walter Reed Middle School backdrop debacle is getting weirder by the second. Now the principal of the school is hammering McCain for using footage of the school during his convention speech without seeking the school's permission.
Here's the statement from Donna Tobin, the principal..."It has been brought to the school's attention that a picture of the front of our school, Walter Reed Middle School, was used as a backdrop at the Republican National Convention. Permission to use the front of our school for the Republican National Convention was not given by our school nor is the use of our school's picture an endorsement of any political party or view."
One other interesting development: The California Democratic Party is actually holding a press conference in front of the school within minutes, where Dems will hit McCain for not knowing the difference between the school and Walter Reed Medical Center, which is believed to be the backdrop the McCain campaign really wanted.
Honestly, we have the McSame people obviously trying to use the Walter Reed Medical Center, where injured war veterans like McSame himself received such dismal coverage that Walter Reed itself became the symbol of the broken medical health care system that McSame's Republicans provided for our supposedly honored warriors, and they compounded the sin of using that symbol to represent McSame's OWN efforts to capitalize on his war injuries for the thousandth time by not even getting the damn picture correct.
If I am a veteran, I am steaming fucking mad at McSame for this. There is dishonor on top of dishonor on top of dishonor here for a man who has exploited his tragic story for political gain for the last 30 years. The very thought of Walter Reed -- and what the Republican Party did to our military forces, burdening them with two wars so that Walter Reed failed our men and women in uniform and their families after they fought and were maimed and crippled and injured for assholes like George W Bush -- should be enough to drive any military veteran straight to the boiling point.
This is such a perfect example of the GOP in 2008 that it's actually quite sad and bile-inducingly maddening at the same time.
Our country deserves better than these morons.