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McCain and that North Hollywood middle school**

Which_walter_reed_2 Forget the speech. Folks are wondering about the picture on the huge screen behind John McCain Thursday night at the GOP convention. Bloggers have  been doing some detective work. And that brought them to ... North Hollywood. This from Talking Points Memo:

A lot of people were asking tonight: what the hell was that mansion up behind John McCain tonight during the first part of the speech? As I noted below, the TV close-ups only showed McCain's head against the grass in the picture, which made it look like he was reprising his famed green screen performance. And when they panned out, it looked like McCain was showing off one of his mansions. Well, several readers have written in to tell me that the building is actually the main building on the campus of the Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California. And sure enough, this page on the school's website makes it pretty clear that they're correct.

ABC News wonders if our local middle school was chosen by mistake:

A little Googling reveals that the photo appears to be the exterior of Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, California. Was this a school McCain attended or is otherwise significant to the campaign? Symbolic of his message, perhaps? The campaign isn't saying. But there is speculation on the Web, asking, could it simply have been an error and Walter Reed Medical Center was the intended image?

*Update: Reed principal Donna Tobin released this statement: "It has been brought to the school’s attention that a picture of the front of our school, Walter Reed Middle School, was used as a backdrop at the Republican National Convention.  Permission to use the front of our school for the Republican National Convention was not given by our school nor is the use of our school’s picture an endorsement of any political party or view.”

**Update 2: The Times' Brady MacDonald points out that Talking Points Memo found out that Walter Reed Middle School was also the backdrop to the fiction presidential bid announcement by "Matt Santos" on "The West Wing." TPM has video too.

-- Shelby Grad

Comments () | Archives (48)

These are "before" photos. The "after" photos have oil wells all around them.

Setting aside the gaff made by the McCain campaign, it's also funny that a writer for the LA Times doesn't know basic film tech terms. "Panned out" is a mashup of the verb "pan," probably based on "panorama," which means to swing a camera right or left, and "zoom out," which means that by some means you increase the field of view, usually a multi-focal lens. The digital revolution has also given us electronic zooming, which is evil.

That something doesn't "pan out" means it is not a success, has no "legs" and doesn't show "viral growth." This term is probably derived from gold rush days, when a claim didn't generate enough "color" as the ore was swirled around, or washed, in a prospector's pan.

I thought the republicans were closing down Walter Reed?

Shoo and Mike offer typical republican responses: McCain wasn't responsible for the decision and we don't know why a middle school in the Valley was chosen and therefore we should not speculate (Are we really speculating though? C'm on Walter Reed middle school?). So I guess when McCain bombs Iran McCain won't really be responsible for the decision (faulty intelligence, congress approved it), or we shouldn't criticize the decision because we won't know why he made that decision.

Why not be brave enough to admit this was a mistake that is both funny and offensive to our injured service people.

you people have missed the point, this is the next agenda for the GOP they have convinced the mid america types that they are all gun weilding pit bulls of politics.

This is just a suttle prelude into the next phase of the "program" they will be taking the campaign to the middle school in North Hollywood and interacting with some real Pit bulls and some real gangsts. they need a little street cred for the youth vote.

Its all part of the plan for 8 more years..

It's scary and telling how completely thorough the incompetence of the Republican party is. An 8 year old could find the correct photo in about 20 seconds using Google.

Maybe McCain did the Google Image search himself?

*sigh* I thought I was done doing this after the Democratic primaries, and that by now, everybody knew what the candidates' accomplishments are:

Shoo, before you repeat Sarah Palin's falsehoods (please see politifact.com for details on this) please take a look at the website of the Library of Congress to understand what Obama's major accomplishments in the US Senate have been. Here's a link - http://thomas.loc.gov search for Illinois and find the senator's page if you're actually interested in the truth.

To summarize, Senator Obama's achievements in the Senate have been pretty significant - to choose 2 examples that he frequently cites on the campaign trail, he has worked across party lines on (1) Ethics reform and transparency in government spending and (2) Reduction of loose nuclear weapons - he has introduced a large number of bills on education reform and a number of other significant domestic and international issues.

You may still disagree with him and vote for McCain in the end, but let's keep this respectful and about the issues.

How can we take the Republicooks seriously! They state "Elect Us and we will protect the USA from getting attacked"... They can't even secure thier own Convention!

Walter Reed Middle School, indeed! Do we need any more evidence how out of touch the republicans are?!

Walter Reed Medical Center has greek columns, they needed a building that didn't look like a temple.

My son is a student at Walter Reed Middle School in the Individualized Honors Program (IHP). For those that don't know, it is a great school with a wonderful music department where kids work at the top of their game. But obviously the McCain campaign staffers were not at the top of their game when they posted this picture... and for everyone who keeps harping on the "experience" issue let me ask this: When in McCain's speech (or Palin's for that matter) did he ever speak of a plan to fix the economy of this country? Instead, he spoke of his "experience" as a war-hero and senator. But if you listen to Obama, you hear his plans to fix the economy, get us out of the quagmire of the Iraq war, and re-establish our standing in the world as a respected leader using diplomacy to deal with problems, not as a country that rushed to invade and occupy another country. All McCain and Palin can do is attack their opponents. So empty, thoughtless, and undignified. Is this what we want for the next 4-8 years?

This is ridiculous. Let's spend time on real issues.
Accidents happen!

It gets funnier - its also the backdrop for Matt Santos to announce his presidential run on West Wing (Santos was Democratic Obama figure & won beating a pro-choice Republican, Vinnick, who was being pounded by the right wing of his party).


"war hero" ??? - the way it looks from here, john mccain's experience as a "war hero" consists of getting shot down and captured by the enemy. if that's a war hero, um, no fanks.

Come on people, let's go easier on the folks that Googled up the wrong Walter Reed picture. It was a last-minute, rushed thing. Up until just before speech time, Gramps was insisting on a picture of Joe Lieberman.

I go to Walter Reed Middle School, WRMS, and I think that this is a shameful representation of our school. Our entire school community does not support John McCain, and does not teach abstinence only, so it was politically incorrect for them to use that image.

Typical that the Republicans would get the two confused, since all they employ are sycophants whose IQ as a group does add past 100.

It is so interesting. Obama supporters that I talk to seem to go to extremes. Some point out every minor flaw in the McCain campaign as proof that the election is a forgone conclusion and Obama can't possibly loose. Others bemoan the stupidity of "them" (American voters) who believe any old thing they are told by someone who looks prosperous and conclude that Obama can't possibly win. We do not know what the result of the election will be. Isn't it better to accept that unknown as a reality and then do what we can to move us toward a beneficial outcome? Otherwise all we are doing is positioning ourselves to be able to say "I told you so" after the election. Although that might momentarily give us an ego boost, it does nothing to address the real problems we have as a nation. Neither mean spirited sniping nor hopeless depression seem to me to be good methods to bring in voters to support Obama. How can we refocus?

I believe the McCain camp got pranked -- with the green screen and the allusion to West Wing.

I graduated from Walter Reed Middle School in '01, and from No. Ho Senior High in '05. People are eliminating the possibility that this was the intended image. I typed Walter Reed on Google and the first images you get are of the hospital and those related to Walter Reed the person. I had to add school to even get search result with Walter Reed Middle School (4th PAGE THOUGH.)

So it seems that the theory that this was accidental could be wrong.
I'm sure they reviewed the image they wanted up there before hand.

Walter Reed is school to several children from middle class or lower class families, and several children from middle class to high class families.
There is a significant presence of Hispanic, Caucasian, African American and Asian students. Reed is rich in culture. Here you have rich kids becoming friends with poor kids. You have different groups where you got the trouble makers, and wanna be gangster kids. Then you have the kids that are book worms and keep to themselves, and the students who just have their own click and don't interact with others, or that do.

Walter Reed is actually in Studio City. Studio City housing prices are higher than North Hollywood, as in Studio City you have a couple of celebrities, it's a nicer are with less crime, and basically no gang activity.

North Hollywood is a nice area, yet it contains several Ghetto parts. There are quite several gangs in North Hollywood and crime.
North Hollywood is separated from Hollywood by Mullholand Dr on the Hollywood Hills. A 5-ten minute drive.

It seems to me that Walter Reed MS is symbolic for some reason, or could have been a complete random error as to which they weren't even considering using Walter Reed hospital.

I'm sure the truth will be out soon, whether it was a mistake or done intentionally.

My experience at Walter Reed was pretty chill. Had my first crush and kiss there. Met many of my close friends there. I Had some incredible experiences. Some good some bad. I got in trouble from time to time, but I was a student in their Honors program. During lunch you could have caught me on the basketball court every day with the homes. Get a quick lunch then rush to get a good court (if any were left.)

The California Cadet Corps has "elective" classes at Walter Reed Middle School. I discovered this when my ten year old came home all excited that he was recruited. He would get to wear a uniform once a week. He would get to go on school trips to army bases. The very next day, I went to school to switch electives. At first I was told that it would take a few weeks, if they had room in another class, no guarantees. Of course I did not stand for that and stayed there until the Dean offered study hall in his office as an alternative until they found another class for him.
I have the utmost respect for our soldiers, but I am appalled to find that our school system is so under funded that children start to get recruited by our government in 6th grade.
With McCain's background, maybe the picture wasn't an accident at all? Maybe it's an endorsement of military in our schools.

I went to this school. I was a horrible kid. I used to steal lunches from some of the kids. It's fitting too because that's what John McCain wants to do to the poor and the middle class. Just like I did to the middle school!

oy, i go to that middle school , and I am DISGUSTED! STILL!

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