The Obama campaign continues having to address questions about Senator Barack Obama’s allusion during Friday’s debate to the bracelet he wears of a solider who was killed in Iraq.
This time, it was on “Fox and Friends,” where, Robert Gibbs, a spokesman for Mr. Obama, got into a heated exchange with the hosts over whether he made reference to the bracelet against the wishes of the family of Ryan Jopek, the fallen soldier. While Mr. Gibbs ackowledged the family did not want the death “politicized,” he accused the Fox hosts of “making stuff up.”
Meanwhile, Jopek’s mother, Tracey, has tried to set the record straight, telling The Associated Press on Sunday that she was “ecstatic” when Mr. Obama mentioned her son’s name during the debate, and said she was upset by reports and commentary over the weekend that suggested otherwise.
“I don’t understand how people can take that and turn it into some garbage on the Internet,” she said.
In February, Ms. Jopek, of Merrill, Wis., gave Mr. Obama the bracelet with Ryan’s name on it. Since then, Mr. Obama has worn the bracelet on the campaign trail, frequently mentioning Mr. Jopek while addressing crowds.
Ms. Jopek told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last spring that she was honored by Mr. Obama mentioning her son on the campaign trail.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was such an honor, such an honor,” she said. “To know that he does know his name. It means a lot.”
In Friday’s debate, Mr. Obama brought up the bracelet in responding to Senator John McCain pointing out a bracelet of his own.
“I’ve got a bracelet, too,” Mr. Obama said. “From the mother of Sergeant Ryan David Jopek, given to me in Green Bay, and she asked me, ‘Can you please make sure another mother doesn’t go through what I am going through?’”
Mr. Obama was subsequently criticized by bloggers and conservative commentators, who pointed to a quote from Ms. Jopek’s former husband, Brian Jopek, who said in March that Ms. Jopek had later asked Mr. Obama not to wear the bracelet at public appearances.
On Sunday, the Republican National Committee e-mailed articles about the issue to reporters, one with the headline “Bracelet Wars.”
In her interview with The Associated Press, Ms. Jopek, sounding equally weary, said that she hopes the issue would go away.