I think this is one of those articles that proves how truly partisan this Administration is. Condi sent an message to the Embassies overseas stating they were not to assist Obama with his travel plans. She stated this was not an "official" visit. link Sorry forgot the link.
Edit: Thanks! This is my first time in the big leagues. You made my day.
According to Rawstory
'If they want to rent a bus, show them where they can rent a bus'
The night before presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) left for Afghanistan, Iraq and Western Europe for a tour of US bases overseas, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued a cable to US missions forbidding them from holding events for presidential candidates or arrange meetings for them.
this came from a memo that was leaked to the Washington Times. [Correction: thanks for pointing that out]
In a cable sent late Thursday, according to a copy leaked to the Washington Times, Rice enjoined American diplomats to treat the candidates as "members of Congress visiting in personal or semi-personal capacities," but "with additional restrictions based on rules related to political activity....Provide de minimis assistance to the candidate with logistical arrangements," said the cable, according to the Times. "If the campaign staff wants to rent a bus for press, tell them where they can rent a bus."
Rice never did this before Senator McCain's visit. Somehow McCain's visit was considered an official visit from congressmen. I am not sure what this is right now with Senator Obama, Jack Reed, and Chuck Hagel.
But she forbid them from any attempts to "hold or arrange receptions or public events for the candidate," "arrange the candidate's meetings" or "use official funds and resources, beyond a de minimis level, to support a political trip."
It appears the White House did not want Senator Obama to have an "easy" visit. I am sure they were aware that Senator Obama is popular abroad. Although this was supposed to be a little wrench in the works, it appears his visit is going without a hitch. Much to the dismay of the Republicans.
UPDATE: Okay this gets better, as we knew it would. In the Washington Times article the visit is called an "unofficial CODEL" Article
On his stops in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Democratic presidential hopeful was accompanied by Sens. Chuck Hagel, Nebraska Republican, and Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat. Mr. Obama's other stops, including Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain, are not considered part of an official congressional delegation, or "CODEL" in the language of Miss Rice's message.
But when you refer to Senator Hagel's Website, he considers this visit and Official CODEL in a news release issued on July 13th. So what is this visit really considered?
Update 2: Newsweek has added a few more details to this story. Rice sent out orders to all overseas posts. This is different from the word that went out for Senator McCain.
The orders went to all overseas posts and told government employees not to do anything that might show favoritism or amount to improper campaign activity. The department said the State Department issued similar orders ahead of presumed Republican nominee John McCain's overseas tours to Iraq, Mexico and elsewhere this year, but limited the communication to embassies in countries the Republican planned to visit.
Officials said the orders had been in the works for months and it was just coincidence that they were issued Thursday, the day the presumptive Democratic candidate left Washington for a much-watched trip to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Europe.
Coincidence indeed. It appears Senator Obama's travel to Afghanistan and Iraq are considered "official".
Obama traveled to Afghanistan and Iraq in his capacity as a member of Congress and was joined by Sens. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and Jack Reed, D-R.I. Like his Afghanistan stop, his visit to Iraq had heavy security and limited media access. Visiting U.S. officials and lawmakers often invite reporters to cover their visits and some hold news conferences with leaders in Baghdad, but Obama has been shielded from the media.
State Department officials stated:
State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said there was nothing unusual about the instructions or their timing, but would not provide the full text.
It sounds as if Newsweek and provided some clarification yet I would still like to see the memo that went out about McCain's trips. The State Department was willing to leak the memo about Senator Obama's trip but now we won't hear about the McCain memo.
Oh and one more question. Did Senator Kerry go through this? I wonder.