President Obama spent about 90 minutes visiting with patients, family members, and staff at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Western Germany on Friday. Landstuhl is the largest American military hospital outside of the United States.
(AP Photo/Daniel Maurer)
Not much more is yet known about his visit, which was closed to the press.
The decision to keep the press from the event comes as no surprise. Last July, Mr. Obama cancelled his visit to Landstuhl because of concerns that it was a campaign stop rather than a display of appreciation for American troops.
"The last thing that I want to do is have injured soldiers and the staff at these wonderful institutions having to sort through weather this is political or not or getting caught in the crossfire of the campaigns," Mr. Obama said then. "So rather than go forward and get potentially caught up in what might have been seen as a political controversy of some sort, what we decided was that we would not make a visit and instead I would call some of the troops."
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Photo Essay: Obama In Germany. (AP)
Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told CBS News last year that the hospital was more than willing to accommodate Mr. Obama if he wanted to visit the troops in Germany – a claim that went against the implication from the Obama camp that the Pentagon effectively nixed this visit.
"The senator is more than welcome to visit any military facility, he always has been and always will be, as a senator," Morrell said. "What is forbidden is that he's prohibited from campaigning on military bases. Campaign staffers are not allowed to escort the senator to the military facility."
Mr. Obama's visit Friday echoed his visit to Bethseda Naval Hospital last Monday, where he awarded two patients with Purple Hearts.
Pictured above: Mr. Obama talking to General Carter Ham, center, and Airforce General Mark Rogers as he leaves the U.S. airbase in Ramstein, Germany Friday.