As the Rocky Mountain News reports:
The approximately 600 American flags handed to local Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion chapters Friday were real.
The story behind them was either good politics or a political stunt.
The campaign of Republican presidential candidate John McCain claims the flags were among 12,000 left at Invesco Field after the last night of the Democratic National Convention. That’s when Barack Obama accepted his nomination as the Democratic presidential contender before an estimated 80,000 people who packed the football stadium Aug. 28…
A spokesman for the Democratic National Convention Committee calls the Republican version of events “absolutely false.”
“There were never any flags intended to be thrown away from our convention,” said Damon Jones. He later added, “None of our staff or anyone with our authorization disposed of any flags.”
The Republicans say this: After Obama’s speech, an Invesco Field contract worker noticed flags in and around trash dumpsters, a trash compactor and elsewhere.
The worker wishes to remain anonymous because he is not authorized by his company to speak to the media, said Tom Kise, regional communications director for the McCain campaign…
Jones said the Democrats did pass out 125,000 flags during the convention, which also took place at the Pepsi Center. The Invesco flags were in trash bags and handed out at distribution points throughout the stadium…
This is easily one of the dumbest apocryphal stories in the history of “silly season,” one that would ultimately make local Republicans look really awful if the press cared enough to ask the right questions. Numerous sources have confirmed to us that these flags were in no way intended for disposal, and the “black trash bags” ominously referred to throughout coverage of this story were the packages the flags were delivered in. Everyone present at either the Pepsi Center or Invesco Field during the DNC saw similar bags staged all around the arenas for distribution.
What’s more, the idea that the Democrats would throw away tens of thousands of pristine, unused flags two months before the general election is totally ridiculous–flags cost money, and are generally the most popular campaign prop in existence. What idiot would throw them away going into the heat of the season? It doesn’t make any sense.
Once a couple of simple details about this incident are clearly understood, along with the fact that the “worker” who “found” the flags is being kept anonymous by the McCain campaign, what’s really going on here is quite obvious: one of the cheapest political tricks in recent memory, and by the Rocky Mountain News’ accounting, grand theft:
Jones did not know the cost of the flags; Smith said they run about $2.75 apiece. At that price, 12,000 would cost $33,000.
Like we said — somebody was really going to throw away $33,000 worth of flags? Of course not.
Frankly, we’re amazed local reporters haven’t taken this story apart and dropped it right back in the GOP’s lap. But at the very least, any reporter continuing to “follow” this story at face value should be ashamed of themselves. This is stupid.