What's McCain doing in front of my junior high?

Speculation has it that it was a goof-up that had the Republican nominee standing in front of Walter Reed Middle School during his acceptance speech. In any case, the image brings back memories for CNET News' Ina Fried.

Walter Reed Middle School

I was happy to refrain from commenting about John McCain's acceptance speech last night. There are enough political spin doctors out there already and Microsoft is keeping me plenty busy.

But now that my junior high school has taken on the starring role, I can't leave it alone.

It turns out a photo displayed on a screen during the first part of McCain's speech, which some thought was one of McCain's many mansions, was in fact the front of Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood, Calif., where yours truly spent three awkward, hormone-filled years. (TV viewers may not have noticed, because the close-ups only showed McCain's head against the green grass in the picture.)

The predominant assumption in the blogosphere is that one of the AV geeks tasked with backdrops for the evening's speech was told to get a photo of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, but got my middle school instead. Weird thing is, as pointed out by Talking Points Memo, the lead blog on the still-developing story, Walter Reed Middle School was also the backdrop for Matt Santos' announcement of his presidential candidacy on The West Wing. (Another Hollywood factoid: the show Head of the Class was also loosely based on Walter Reed Middle School's Individualized Honors Program.)

In the latest wrinkle, Walter Reed's principal has now put out a statement saying the school did not approve McCain's use of the school.

"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," Principal Donna Tobin said in a statement. "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."

And, just a memo to the McCain campaign, forcing me to relive my junior high years is not generally a good way to get my vote.

CNET News' Michelle Meyers contributed to this report.

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About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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