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Obama: Buchenwald, not Auschwitz

Obama had to clarify a statement he made on Monday about his uncle's role in World War II, the Washington Post writes. "Speaking in New Mexico on Memorial Day, Obama said a great-uncle had helped to liberate the Auschwitz death camp at the end of World War II. 'I had a uncle who was one of the, who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps,' Obama said… He continued: 'And the story in my family is that when he came home, he just went into the attic, and he didn't leave the house for six months. All right? Now, obviously something had affected him deeply, but at the time, there just weren't the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain.'"

"That may be a fact, the RNC noted gleefully -- but only if Obama's uncle had served in the Red Army of Joseph Stalin, which liberated Auschwitz on Jan. 27, 1945. Obama's campaign said yesterday that he had erred in naming the camp but not in describing the role of his great-uncle, who partook in the liberation of Buchenwald. '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. Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically,' Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement."

More: "Obama campaign aides were indignant that Republicans had pounced on what they called an innocent mistake in relating his family history. Tommy Vietor, an Obama spokesman, decried "using the Holocaust and concentration camps as a political football.'"

The Boston Globe: "Republicans tried yesterday to jump on it as a question of Barack Obama's judgment. His campaign chalked it up to an innocent mistake."

On the day before the final day of the primaries, Obama plans a stop in Michigan. "Those familiar with Obama's schedule insist the trip is not designed as victory lap in anticipation of a favorable ruling this weekend at the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting or an attempt to kick-start the Illinois senator's general election campaign in the state. Still, the symbolic import of Obama stopping in Michigan soon after what may be the final ruling about the seating of the state's delegates should not be underestimated."

In its top story, the Boston Globe looks at Obama's claims of being able to redraw the electoral map. Specifically it focuses on six states he's mentioned: Colorado, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. "A Globe analysis of six traditionally Republican states where Obama has signaled he will compete … suggests that his confident assertion has validity, but only to a point. Colorado, given its influx of younger, more liberal voters, and Virginia, with its sizable African-American vote and political shifts, are ripe for Democratic coups this year. But any victories elsewhere in the South would require political earthquakes of a sizable magnitude, according to voting patterns, registration data, and interviews with local political analysts."
But what the Globe doesn't look at in the piece, however, are Iowa and New Mexico. As indicated on the Globe's map, based on the 2004 results, Iowa and New Mexico are drawn as red states. But Obama is situated to do well in both. As we've noted on First Read before, Virginia's 13 electoral votes plus Iowa's seven equals 20 -- the same number at stake in Ohio. Kerry lost in New Mexico by just 5,998 votes (or 0.79 percentage points), and Richardson would likely put all his effort in for Obama come the fall.

The New York Times' Tom Friedman has some energy policy advice for Obama. "Obama had the courage to tell voters that the McCain-Clinton summer gas-giveaway plan was a fraud. Wouldn't it be amazing if he took the next step and put the right plan before the American people? Wouldn't that just be amazing?"