AMATEUR HOUR  12:41 pm September 5, 2008

Green Screen Behind McCain Actually Lawn of, Uh, Middle School In, Uh, North Hollywood

by Ken Layne

John McCain and his 15th mansion!America laughed again last night as a terrible “green screen” once again appeared behind John McCain, during his big speech at the RNC. Well, the “green” was actually the lawn of a school in North Hollywood, California. And the school is called “Walter Reed Middle School.” And the random idiot assigned the task of picking John McCain’s video background during the biggest speech of his career was apparently told to put a picture of Walter Reed Army Medical Center on the screen, and ineptly googled this utterly random California school picture, instead. And nobody knows what Walter Reed Hospital looks like, anyways, so everybody just assumed it was another one of his mansions. The school is about to release “a statement” damning McCain for inappropriately using the picture of this innocent school. All of this, as Josh Marshall notes, is exactly what happened in the movie Spinal Tap. [Talking Points Memo]

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shortsshortsshorts September 5, 2008 at 12:45 pm

When you’re a POW, a maverick, a POW and a maverick, you don’t need to worry about this kind of horse hockey.

KevoTron September 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I was just about to tip you guys on this.

So if Obama’s choice of Greek columns makes him an elitist with a God complex what does this choice say about McCain?

Pedophile with a school girl complex?

apocalypsethen September 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm

lick my love pump!

S.Luggo September 5, 2008 at 12:46 pm

I thought that it was the mansion of most important meth-lord in Wisella. Disappointed.

Strictly for the Tardcore September 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, YOUR REPUBLICAN PARTY!

Scarab September 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm

That photo was completely vetted and McCain is very happy with the results. No more questions.

soymocha September 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm

A grossly incompetent high stakes decision? Does Mark Penn work for the RNC now?

el_chupacabra September 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm

well… at least they ordered the right size VP

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm

They are really fucking bad at Google, for Christ’s sake.

MoodProcessor September 5, 2008 at 12:50 pm

So now we can expect a 20″ replica of the Washington Monument, and midgets in elephant suits?

OhWhyOhio September 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm

HA! They work with the best intelligence they have, remember?

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm

They did switch to a flag partway through though, so he had this weird eerie blue sky background like he was floating in the clouds.

Vanity Smurf September 5, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I was watching with a Republican (by accident) who said it must be one of his houses!

And did McNasty have on enough make up last night? I’ve seen Drag Queens with less foundation.

Vanity Smurf September 5, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Please let them be the Walter Reed “Fighting Trojans” or something even worse.

OzoneTom September 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

How long until the McCain campaign claims that this was on purpose, to highlight Jamakanes commitment to promoting educational opportunities?

Strictly for the Tardcore September 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

[re=86884]tunamelt[/re]: Googling shit as the show’s going on instead of getting your pictures together beforehand is the VERY DEFINITION of “You’re doing it wrong!”

Vanity Smurf September 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

[re=86887]OhWhyOhio[/re]: You make the speech with the slide show you have, not the slide show you’d like to have.

anabellum September 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm
Jobbotch September 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Still beats the “bubbling cauldron of shit” effect they had going during Guiliani’s speech.

Sean O September 5, 2008 at 12:54 pm

It wasn’t Google, and it wasn’t Corbis. I’m still searching.

Crow T. Robot September 5, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Hey…I’ve driven by that several times…shit, that’s a middle school?

Jesus Christ the sooner we kill & eat the rich the happier the rest of us will be.

My two bucks.

ManchuCandidate September 5, 2008 at 12:56 pm

I like the Spinal Tap analogy.

McCain’s election platform is much like what happened to Spinal Tap’s album “Smell the Glove.”

The platform went from offensive–picture of US America being force fed a shit sandwich by dumbass Phil Gramm–to incomprehensible–all black cover.

The green screen is much like the Stonehenge sequence where an 18 inch Stonehenge was trampled on by a John McCain sized Druid.

Scarab September 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm

“Ignore the man in front of the curtain”
- the Great and Powerful Oz.

The Unfairman September 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm

When will you people understand?! John McCain is a true American hero, he didn’t HAVE hospitals when he was a POW in Hanoi, he had to use MIDDLE SCHOOLS and the DOCTORS there didn’t know how to SET HIS BONES PROPERLY because they were only in EIGHTH GRADE!!

I’m tired of explaining this to you.

natoslug September 5, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Quit hating the maverick! It’s tough being an unbranded cow.

shortsshortsshorts September 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm

[re=86902]Crow T. Robot[/re]: Two bucks? Didn’t you know freedom costs a buck-o-five?

Scarab September 5, 2008 at 12:59 pm

… the random idiot assigned the task of picking John McCain’s video background…
That’s ‘Mr. Secretary’ to you, hippie.

GlennBecksTaint September 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Where the fuck are the Freedom Columns?

Serolf Divad September 5, 2008 at 1:01 pm

Wow, I can’t wait till the McCain administration launches an invasion of Iran, but accidentally invades Iran, Illinois instead.

natoslug September 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm

[re=86914]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: You forgot to account for inflation; freedom’s been running $9.11 for several years now.

Cogito Ergo Bibo September 5, 2008 at 1:02 pm

[re=86899]anabellum[/re]: How long until we have Sorkin jumping up and down screaming that “The West Wing” and Matt Santos do not support McGrampy and the GILF?

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 1:03 pm

[re=86902]Crow T. Robot[/re]: Don’t worry. Apparently Walter Reed MS leaves kids behind.

Maybe he was highlighting an under performing school?

Cogito Ergo Bibo September 5, 2008 at 1:04 pm

[re=86914]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: Buck o’five? Freedom costs nine eleven. Guiliani said so.

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm

[re=86897]Strictly for the Tardcore[/re]: I just want to know what the hell “fact-checking” did to his staff, that they’ve got this kind of animosity for it.

OzoneTom September 5, 2008 at 1:05 pm

According to Wikipedia the school mascots are the “Wolves” — like the ones who like to look at boobies during speeches presumably. The school colors are Green and Grey, as in money and old age…

obfuscator September 5, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Way to fuck up, fuckups. Th-thhh-aat’s not stagecraft we can believe in.

Strappo September 5, 2008 at 1:10 pm

[re=86899]anabellum[/re]: very cool. the McCainiacs broke several laws and trampled on the rights of intellectual-property owners.

I can’t believe this was a mistake, to be utterly serious for once. Loki is a Democrat.

Cogito Ergo Bibo September 5, 2008 at 1:10 pm

[re=86937]OzoneTom[/re]: Wolves? Like the ones Caribou Barbie hunts from a helicopter with a high-powered rifle? Run, little middle-schoolers! No child left behind!

JadedDIssonance September 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Kinda wished they’d used this one:
<a href=””

Spoliler: (in neon green text)
Walter Reed is a freelance fashion stylist, editor, and writer. He styles and coordinates fashion shows, dresses and casts models, and conceptualizes and styles photo shoots. He also writes and edits articles and short stories.

obfuscator September 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

[re=86937]OzoneTom[/re]: If the campaign visits the school via helicopter, the kid in the wolf mascot costume better watch his ass.

zuhl September 5, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I’d also be willing to place a small wager that the campaign didn’t have usage rights to the middle school photo.

Here’s hoping the photog is a latte-swilling liberal who sues the pants off the campaign for copyright infringement.

Vanity Smurf September 5, 2008 at 1:13 pm

[re=86937]OzoneTom[/re]: They better watch out. That cunt Palin will fly over in a small aircraft in shoot them between classes.

gurukalehuru September 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

For five and a half years, John McCain didn’t have a middle school. He didn’t have a desk, he didn’t have a locker, he didn’t have a pencil. Five and a half years!

Miller September 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

They try to use Walter Reed hospital as a political prop and end up using Walter Reed High School as one. They try to run on security and have their candidate’s speech interrupted by multiple protesters from multiple groups, questioning what kind of security they had for the convention. Are there any more apt metaphors for the McCain campaign that I missed from this convention?

NoWireHangers September 5, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Picking the wrong green screen today, bombing the wrong country tomorrow. Oh, WALNUTS! you old go-getter!

OzoneTom September 5, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Scenes from many movies and TV shows have been filmed at WRMS, including “Joe Dirt”.

JadedDIssonance September 5, 2008 at 1:15 pm
madtowngooner September 5, 2008 at 1:16 pm

[re=86914]shortsshortsshorts[/re]: That would be 5 and a half bucks please

StripesAndPlaids September 5, 2008 at 1:22 pm

Spinal Tap seems to keep relating to McCAin Palin:

Ian: “They’re not going to release the album because they have decided that the cover is sexist.”
Nigel: “Well, so what, What’s wrong with being sexy? I mean, there’s nothing wrong with…”
Ian: “Sex-ist!”
David: “Sex-ist!”

sezme September 5, 2008 at 1:25 pm

If McCain loses, he plans to work at a haberdashery.

shortsshortsshorts September 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

[re=86934]Cogito Ergo Bibo[/re]: I offered the clerk 9/11 for a pack of cigarettes. Has not worked for me, will never work for G9/11ani.

Canmon (the Inadequate) September 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

[re=86955]JadedDIssonance[/re]: Or a picture of him:

Uncle Al September 5, 2008 at 1:26 pm

well at least we know that Grampa isn’t personally responsible for this screw-up, because he hasn’t finished his “How to Dial Up the Internets” lessons.

trophy(forparticipation)wife September 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm

H-E-double hockey sticks! They could have shown all the schools that Sarah Bearashooter attended.

Five colleges?

vicuna September 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm

[re=86962]gurukalehuru[/re]: He hadn’t EARNED that desk for himself yet.

Voyou Charmant September 5, 2008 at 1:30 pm

[re=86884]tunamelt[/re]: I honestly couldn’t even find the picture they used. Even if they, for some reason added “school” to the search, I STILL can’t find it. Hell, even searching “Walter Reed Middle School” doesn’t even provide the picture.

Fail talk express has left the planet.

CivicHoliday September 5, 2008 at 1:31 pm

So, it was either a mistake or a West Wing reference? Silly Walnuts, didn’t you know that Hopey has the market cornered on Santos impersonators?

WikipediaBrown September 5, 2008 at 1:32 pm

I heard they sent the snowbilly to WRMS to brush up on her social studies and geography before the big Wed night speech and were just giving them some credit.

CivicHoliday September 5, 2008 at 1:32 pm

Oh, and also, I think this belies the quality of their intern pool. Remeber a thread awhile back about that? Yeah. I think they got some old dude who tried in vain to learn to navigate the series of tubes to find Google pictures.

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 1:33 pm

[re=86998]Voyou Charmant[/re]: So maybe they’re just really goooooood at Google? Or this is all just a smokescreen to cover up some weirder conspiracy, again.

floraway September 5, 2008 at 1:37 pm

[re=86998]Voyou Charmant[/re]: It was probably in stock photos– not google. They may not ask for permission to use songs, but they probably know that they need to pay for stock photos.

But… even if it was Walter Reed Medical Center– that is dumb. Unless it said “Walter Reed Medical Center” underneath, the majority of American’s would have been confused.

C-5 September 5, 2008 at 1:37 pm

In any other universe this would be hilarious. In this universe, he’s tied in the polls, and we’re all going to die.

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 1:39 pm

[re=87017]floraway[/re]: Getty Images results for Walter Reed

S.Luggo September 5, 2008 at 1:40 pm

[re=86965]NoWireHangers[/re]: Change we can trust.

TGY September 5, 2008 at 1:44 pm

One should never Google without knowledge.

Tequila Face September 5, 2008 at 1:45 pm

[re=86964]Miller[/re]: Here’s another one! As McCain spoke about teaching illiterate adults, CNN cut to a shot of a supporter holding a sign for the “Mavrick”

Borat September 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

Awww, look at the cute little lawn nome. He must have lost his hat, but where did he put it?

C-5 September 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

[re=87009]tunamelt[/re]: On the weirdness scale, it’s approaching the Sleestak incident.

snig September 5, 2008 at 1:48 pm

If it was a picture of Sunnydale High, I’d consider voting for him. But only if he dropped Palin and chose Alysson Hannigan as his VP.

Borat September 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

I meant to say the little nome lost his american hat (blown away by gustav)

NotthatLC September 5, 2008 at 1:51 pm

I was just at a charity event at Walter Reed Middle School a few weeks ago…was wondering why that building looked so familiar…Wow these people are stupid.

snig September 5, 2008 at 1:53 pm

They outsourced the computer work to the guy who did this:

tennessee Jed clampett September 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

back by popular demand, the “real McCain of genius” beer commercial:


Strictly for the Tardcore September 5, 2008 at 1:56 pm

[re=87018]C-5[/re]: Maybe you’re going to die. I’m going to be part of the mutant motorcycle gang predating on the weak across the bleak, post-apocalyptic landscape.

If you want, I’ll save you my sidecar.

tunamelt September 5, 2008 at 1:59 pm

[re=87043]C-5[/re]: Oh man, the Sleestaks. But imagine all the time being wasted thinking about this.

TGY September 5, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Well, nooo, Josh Marshall said he supposed that the pic was to be of WRMC and not that this was, in fact, the case. Is there information in addition to the Talking Points Memo article?

When you ‘suppose’, you make a ‘sup’ out of ‘pos’ and ‘e’.

Scarab September 5, 2008 at 2:04 pm

You liberals don’t get it.
The McCain campaign MEANT to show this photo. It appeals to all the mothers of middle school hockey players. Don’t you see? No? Well then you’re all elitist hippies.

ms_mcgee September 5, 2008 at 2:05 pm

No one vetted the pictures for this? I’m shocked!

snig September 5, 2008 at 2:09 pm

Maybe it was to show the elite evil public school teachers who the Republican’s believe are the true Villains.

pondscum September 5, 2008 at 2:11 pm

I thought he was going to do a weather report.

superfecta September 5, 2008 at 2:13 pm

Awesome! A real Jockey Wilson moment for the RNC.

Tequila Face September 5, 2008 at 2:16 pm

Oh! I get it. This is Martha’s middle school. McCain once delivered some school desks here.

masterdebater September 5, 2008 at 2:18 pm

I wish you would stop picking on the old, doughy, white folk that run the republican computers. Computers are hard to understand! There’s all these tubes, and nets, and dottedcoms, and stuff. I bet you wouldn’t know the first thing about changing the points and condenser on a brand new ’55 Packard…god damn punks!

V572625694 September 5, 2008 at 2:23 pm

[re=86930]tunamelt[/re]: I was gonna say: North Hollywood isn’t exactly Beverly Hils.

Bitch's_Brew September 5, 2008 at 2:26 pm

test test
Christopher at tech support is a mensch.

Hahaha! He spent FIVE AND A HALF YEARS in that middle school.

Bitch's_Brew September 5, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Not Christopher, McCain.

JMP September 5, 2008 at 2:35 pm

[re=87045]snig[/re]: [re=87045]snig[/re]: Actually, I could see Mayor Richard Wilkins making a good running mate for McCain. No bad language or other such filth; panders to right-wing parents’ groups; and likes to literally eat his constituents.

Cape Clod September 5, 2008 at 2:35 pm

[re=86926]Serolf Divad[/re]: Tears of Awesome. I have to think that they borrowed some techies from Fox News to pull off a boner like this.

wildeoats September 5, 2008 at 2:38 pm

So now I’m wondering. When McCain said “today, we’re all Georgians” did he mean the Lynn Westmoreland kind of Georgians, or the Joe Stalin kind of Georgians?

Lionel Hutz Esq. September 5, 2008 at 2:41 pm

If you were Republicans, you would understand the symbolism behind the picture of a North Hollywood Middle School. You are no one in the Republican party until you have cruised that school.

Lionel Hutz Esq. September 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm

[re=86928]natoslug[/re]: I thought Freedom was going for $5 1/2 currently.

facehead September 5, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Gosh you people are redtarded. Clearly, a scholarly
websearch for “Walter Reed” will lead you to this:

Which explains everything.

greg September 5, 2008 at 2:59 pm

I think the Walter Reed mixup is a dead end and should be replaced by the West Wing conspiracy.

Also, the image is apparently footage, not a photo. [the shot that comes after it in the speech, where it looks like McCain’s suddenly standing in front of a bluescreen, is actually of a flag waving in the blue, blue American sky.

Which means that either they used stock footage or–even better–their agency went out and shot it special for the convention.

coolcatdaddy September 5, 2008 at 3:08 pm


Leave it to Republicans to turn their convention into a bad PowerPoint slide show.

trophy(forparticipation)wife September 5, 2008 at 3:10 pm

I wish they’d had that screen with Cindy’s green dress from Wednesday. Maybe she would have disappeared.

Cronopio September 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm

I screamed in hilarity when the green screen came up. And then remembered that my aging Republican mom was in the room. Try explaining that one.

snig September 5, 2008 at 3:19 pm

Don’t be sad about the vets in the movie!
No actual vets had to be killed for the staged funeral:

They were just actors. Also bought from Getty images.

If the Dems did that, I’m sure the Fairly Unbalanced wouldn’t decry the fake Hollywood liberal values…

magic titty September 5, 2008 at 3:24 pm

[re=86878]Scarab[/re]: too good.

jimh September 5, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Here’s one for all my fellow geeks and A/V nerds that were pushed around by the conservative meatheads in school! How you like us now, morans?

Big Al1317 September 5, 2008 at 3:54 pm

Thanks for the story about the picture. I said to myself during the speech, why show one of his houses? WTF?

azw88 September 5, 2008 at 4:19 pm

What kills me, is that with all of the stuff that came out of his last appearance in front of a predominantly green screen that the AV guys didn’t check the images to make sure that Johhnny McCarpterbagger wouldn’t once again end up with a green or a blue screen behind him!
(most video editing apps give you the option of working with blue or green screens, as those are the two colors that don’t appear in human skin tones… well NORMAL human skin tones)

loquaciousmusic September 5, 2008 at 4:32 pm

I’m actually surprised that they didn’t choose Michael Penn’s song “Walter Reed” to play before the speech. Because, you know, it’s such a pro-war song. Like “Barracuda.”

lawrenceofthedesert September 5, 2008 at 4:42 pm

If it had been Obama, Mr. Green Screens would have shown the Jimmy Reed Middle School in Chicago (if there isn’t one, there should be). And for Bill Clinton, of course there’d be the Donna Reed Middle School. For Rudy, the Willis Reed Middle School. And for George Bush, the Learn to Read Middle School (also known as the No President Left Behind Center).

tennessee Jed clampett September 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

journalist amy goodman of was among those detained by riot police at the RNC yesterday; please let’s do everything possible to see that all these folks are released without charges:

trophy(forparticipation)wife September 5, 2008 at 5:06 pm

[re=87111]JMP[/re]: JMP and Greg, where did you come from? My initials and my brother. I might be going Sybil.

MISTAHCOUGHDROP September 5, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Hey! Is Sarah Palin our president yet? Where did they bury John Bush? (see Andrew Sullivan’s blog for the ex-homeland security chief’s incredible gaffe). I’m knitting inaugural hockey sticks for President Palin and showing off my Maverick/Horse’s Ass collage of the dynamic duo here:

shortsshortsshorts September 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Jeebus our overlords leave for 2 hours and people are already spamming this site with their websites.

petite brawnley September 5, 2008 at 5:36 pm

I don’t get it — if you do a Google image search for “Walter Reed,” that image doesn’t even come up. What the heck? What’s going on here?!!!

hockeymumwifspunk September 5, 2008 at 5:44 pm

What the hell kinda middle school is that? I don’t know about you guys, but my middle school looked like the operations building at the Chernobyl plant.

mrblue19 September 5, 2008 at 6:13 pm

And I thought those were evil subliminal pictures,but it was just plain evil google.

By the way,we don’t call this city North Hollywood anymore.we call it No Ho,really.

Sire Says September 5, 2008 at 7:11 pm

Oh look…I found the creative geniuses who produced John’s video and visuals from last night.

S. Cullen Bonz September 5, 2008 at 7:38 pm

I can’t remember, was McCain on the Monitor or the Merrimack?

Cape Clod September 5, 2008 at 9:11 pm

[re=87260]loquaciousmusic[/re]: Great song, by the way.

sp bags September 5, 2008 at 11:02 pm

I have a child who actually attends this school. This mistake necessitated the school principal to use the school computer-telephone notification to alert all families that “it was a normal school day today, there were no outsiders or press on campus, and the students are safe.”
IMAGINE the phone calls the school received that made such a statement necessary. Yeah, that’s how I want those educators using their time… instead of administering California Standards performance.

patman September 6, 2008 at 12:14 pm

heh … and my sister teaches there!

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