Colorado Springs, Co. — On the same day that John McCain and Barack Obama pledged to put differences aside and appear at Ground Zero for the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the two campaigns were engaged Saturday in a flap over the American flag.
The spat began in this Republican stronghold at an airport rally for McCain and running mate Sarah Palin. Before the Republican presidential ticket took the stage, a radio personality emceeing the event announced that veterans were going to give the crowd thousands of small American flags that were discarded and rescued from Obama's massive Democratic National Convention rally at Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium.
The emcee, radio host Dan Caplis, told the estimated audience of 12,000 the flags were going to be thrown away or burned. McCain supporters said the flags were found by a vendor at Invesco Field after the convention. The vendor allegedly found trash bags full of flags in and around garbage bins, recovered them and gave them to the McCain campaign.
But the Democratic National Committee and Democratic convention organizers said the flags were snatched - not discarded - from Invesco Field by the McCain camp.
"American flags were proudly waved by the 75,000 people who joined Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention," Karen Finney, a Democratic National Committee spokeswoman, said in a written statement. She accused McCain's supporters of "a cheap political stunt calling into question our patriotism."
The McCain campaign stood by the story of how it obtained the flags and accused the Democratic National Committee and convention organizers of operating in "crisis control."