Despite not having served in the military himself, Barack Obama used his Memorial Day remarks to speak about his family’s service. “My grandfather marched in Patton’s army, but I cannot know what it is to walk into battle like so many of you,” he told a small group of veterans here. “My grandmother worked on a bomber assembly line, but I cannot know what it is for a family to sacrifice like so many of yours have.”
Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz. He said the family legend is that, upon returning from war, his uncle spent six months in an attic. “Now obviously, something had really affected him deeply, but at that time there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain,” Obama said. “That’s why this idea of making sure that every single veteran, when they are discharged, are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and given the mental health services that they need – that’s why it’s so important.”
Let's do the fact check. American troops did not liberate Auschwitz. The Russian Army liberated Auschwitz. The Washington Post and most other major news organizations reported Obama's account of his uncle's service as fact. Obama has no uncles. His American mother was an only child. Caught up in an obvious lie, Obama's campaign rushed to correct what he meant to say. The pro-Obama CBS report included this update:
Obama's campaign clarified the comments about the candidate's great-uncle liberating Auschwitz, saying Obama was "mistaken," and was referring to Buchenwald, not Auschwitz. “Senator Obama’s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II – especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald," said spokesman Bill Burton.
The New York Times noted this correction:
In response to a question at a Memorial Day appearance in New Mexico, Mr. Obama said an uncle helped liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during World War II. The problem? That story didn’t track with history, considering Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet forces.
So on Tuesday, the campaign acknowledged the senator made a mistake and mentioned the wrong camp. It actually was Buchenwald, according to spokesman Bill Burton.
The correct story is that Mr. Obama’s great uncle, Charlie Payne – his grandmother’s brother – actually helped liberate Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald. Mr. Payne was a member of the 89th Infantry Division.
Note that the reporter accepts that Obama meant a "great-uncle" when he actually referred to him simply as an "uncle." He simply confused Buchenwald, we're told, with Auschwitz. That's good enough for the media, which has pretty much ignored this latest Obama gaffe. Similarly, the media let Obama skate on a false claim that the Kennedy family helped bring his father to America to get a college education. They forgave his false claim that his parents got together because of the civil rights march on Selma in 1965; his parents gave birth to Obama four years before Selma. The media hardly noticed Obama thinks there are 57 states, not 50. There's plenty of other Obama gaffes which the media has completely ignored at the same time it pounces all over Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain for every minor misstep they make in their campaigns. Remember how much the media played up Clinton's claim she was under fire during a visit to Kosovo? Or how the media this past week twisted a comment she made about the assassination of Robert Kennedy to imply she intended to suggest Obama might be assassinated?
UPDATE: It's now beginning to look like the entire uncle story was made up. Larry Johnson has a post today raising doubts that his "great uncle" ever made it to Buchenwald during the war, let alone Auschwitz.