June 28th, 2008
11:08 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama plans trip to Europe and the Middle East

Sen. Obama plans to tour Europe and the Middle East this summer.

Sen. Obama plans to tour Europe and the Middle East this summer.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama plans to visit Europe and the Middle East this summer, his campaign announced Saturday morning.

The senator from Illinois and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee will visit France, Germany, Israel, Jordan and Britain, his campaign says.

"This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security, and to consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face," said Obama, in a statement released by his campaign.

"This will be an important opportunity to have an exchange of views with leaders in these countries about these and other issues that are critical to American national security - and global security - in the 21st century," he added.

Obama also intends to visit Iraq and Afghanistan this summer, he said in a phone interview with Radio Iowa. His campaign said no details would be announced in order to maintain "the highest levels of security."

But, he told Radio Iowa, "In Iraq, my goal is to talk to the Iraqi leadership about making political progress so that we can start phasing down our troops in Iraq, and obviously I want to congratulate the troops for the extraordinary work they've done in reducing violence there."

And, "in Afghanistan the situation, unfortunately, has not been improving," Obama told Radio Iowa. "On many measures, things have been getting a little bit worse so the key is to talk to our commanders on the ground and find out, what do we need to do to strengthen our efforts there? Our troops have performed magnificently, but we don't probably have enough troops there, and we've got to do a better job on the reconstruction side to build the infrastructure that's needed in that country to consolidate long-term gains."

On the Europe trip, Obama said, "with our European allies, I think what's important is not only encouraging their ongoing involvement and support in areas like Afghanistan and on the military side, but also to discuss a wide range of economic issues. There are certain issues like climate change that
can't be addressed without the participation of the Europeans as well. So that's going to be something that hopefully we'll be working on over a long period of time, but when it comes to nuclear proliferation, Iran - those are issues where we've got to act in concert with our allies."

The trips come as Obama tries to beef up his foreign policy credentials with voters.

In a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll, 54 percent of Americans thought presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain would better handle foreign policy, 11 points ahead of Obama.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (215 Responses)
  1. Knoxville

    Why is Obama making this trip overseas?
    Surely he doesn't think that he needs any more international experience, seeing how he thinks that living in a few exotic places as a child gives him more experience that Clinton and McCain combined.
    And surely he doesn't think that prancing around the world under such heavy security has anything to do with foreign leaders having anything to learn from him.
    That leaves what? Why is he making this trip overseas?
    Let's seeā€¦
    Oh! Wait a second. Of course!
    Obama wants photo ops so he can feed something new to his cult followers here at home.
    Obama's people are trying to put a nice ribbon on their freshly minted nominee who was selected by the failed leaders of the Democratic Party, a weasel who sleazed off with a nomination that he did not earn and does not deserved with nothing more than a carefully marketed image.
    Sorry, Axelrod. You can't fake foreign policy credentials for BO with a few photo ops. This trip will only highlight the labels of elitist snob that the Republicans are doing such a great job of sticking on your false prophet.
    Please make this stop.

    June 28, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  2. eleanor owen

    They will love him in Europe, as most of us do here in the US.
    Barack Obama in 08.
    I am fired up.

    June 28, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Obama: 2nd Term Carter

    Wow after almost 3 years Obama plans to go to Iraq. That is good. I hope he meets with the Gen. in charge while he is there seeing how he has yet to do that.

    June 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Andre' of Maryland

    Great move. I would also like to see Obama visit Russia as well. His vision for our foreign policy will be place in stone with this trip. It will also show the American people how he is received oversees as a great leader. In other parts of the world the underlying racisim that this country still holds on to is not as tough.

    Great Move!!!! Obama '08!!!!!

    June 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Will Obama be accorded the protection of an armored division like McCain when he goes there?

    Probably, and he won't "not mention it" either like McCain when he presented the idea that he could just "stroll the streets of Baghdad!"

    June 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. Adedokun from Atlanta

    Good plan. Lets judge who will be able to give America a better image abroad by comparing the kind of reception he gets with that of McCain

    June 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Brain

    He better come here in u.k. We love him!

    June 28, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. Herman in LA

    Rise Barack Rise

    June 28, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  9. Ed, FL

    The notion that the republicans are better at handling the national securiry affairs of this country is ludicrous, when they have commited the giggest national security gaffe ever by waging an unnecessary war that have cost us ,thousands of american lives and, billions of dollards.

    June 28, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Ellie

    BRILLIANT MAN! These are the honorable characteristics you WANT in your next President. Someone who is very intelligent, business savvy while being calm, cool and collected. Sen. Obama doesn't have to put on any "shows", it's about the "quality", not the quantity of your character.

    Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are going to RE-WRTE history. He's going to be a GREAT PRESIDENT and she's going to be a GREAT Supreme Court Judge or High Cabinet Position on Healthcare.

    I believe these two wonderful people are going to take this country forward into a new and better direction.

    Thank you LORD!

    June 28, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |

    It will be interesting to see how different Iraq was back in 2006 compared to what he is gonna say when he gets back from his trip over the coming months. He still has the right philosophy on the war –> set a time table to exit the stage to literally stop the bleeding of Americans. I would prefer a slower pullout though, to perhaps avert a nasty civil war for some stability.

    June 28, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  12. JB

    To all the Clinton fans out there:

    One more time. BILL CLINTON had nothing to do with the economy while he was in office. That was called "irrational exuberance" or the dot com boom. Do you really think Bill was the reason for the dot com boom? (besides his vp creating the internet)

    To claim that Bill was responsible for the market boom just shows how uneducated you are. All of thesee yahoo Clinton fans use that as a reason to bring him back. Let me remind you, THE ONLY thing Bill Clinton was able to accomplish during his reign was teaching children that oral sex is not sex Maybe one of the reason 10 year olds are having oral sex.

    Thanks Bill you scumbag!!!

    June 28, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  13. Larry Buchas

    These countries will be thrilled to meet the next leader of the free world. Our international nightmare is almost over.

    Go Obama!

    June 28, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. Alex

    This will be certainly interesting to watch.. I won't be suprised if he gets bigger crowds in these countries than US, its sad isn't it...

    June 28, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  15. Beck

    Obama doesn't need to find out about Europe while a candidate, he needs to stay here, conserve gas and figure out what to do for the USA. We can't afford vacations!!

    June 28, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  16. Yes!

    I think you will see Obama welcomed overseas with open arms. Lots of big crowds and leaders gathering to see and meet him. Not only is the US tired of the worn out and self-gratifying Bush policies, the entire world is, too. The entire globe is looking for change in the US, and Obama represents that coming change. Obama may not have been overseas much, yet, but remember, neither had Bush, prior to his first term. As a matter of fact, Bush's own wars have taught him a great deal about where places are. Until he meddled, he was only vaguely aware of where "over there" really was. Watch Obama for a complete shift in foreign policy to one of more positive dialog and respect.

    June 28, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |

    just like on TMZ,
    go for it obma

    June 28, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  18. Ohio

    The last I looked he was not the president yet – no matter what he does he still has no foreign affairs experience – taking this trip will not make it that he does – and it will not make the american people think he does – what the media has coronated him – what does he expect the foreign countries to coronate him – bottom line – the american people have to vote him in FIRST – really pushing this down our throats – i still ask why

    June 28, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  19. Mary

    Obama only candidate who can reason, speak proper english and maintain his temper. Foreign policy is more than an itchy trigger finger.
    McCain is showing signs of incipient Alzheimers, much as Reagan did.
    Nancy Reagan had to whisper in his ear many times at the end of his term. McCain has Lieberman doing the same.
    I do not want him representing me to the rest of the world thank you.
    Obama will be respected and understood and is much admired by our allies .

    June 28, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  20. Fool

    Tell the fool to stay there. Don't bother coming back to a country he and his wife disrespect.

    June 28, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. Neal Klomp

    He'll be the first American leader to be cheered in a while.

    June 28, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  22. Proudgeek

    Barack, please don't go to the middle east before November. It is a trap.

    June 28, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Chanda-Cincinnati


    All politicians tell people what they want to hear...Obama does it, Hillary did it, and McCain is the master at it! Its the nature of politics. Grow up!!!!!!

    June 28, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  24. Linda

    Communication is the key and John McCain has a communication problem. His message on foreign policy is obscure to say the least. He has a fixation on foreign policy that leaves out rules for fighting fair under his political participation. These rules include:
    1. Identify the problem
    2. Focus on the problem
    3. Attack the problem, not the innocent people
    His politcal dialogue on foreign policy leaves residue :
    1. He does not appear to listen with an open mind and ridicules his
    opponet for saying he will do so.
    2. His attitude of one of us has to win and one of us has to lose,
    saying we will stay 50 years or 100 years may get the other country
    to back down but do little to resolve the conflict.
    I don't concur that John McCain would handle foreign policy
    better than Senator Obama because I don't believe he wants to
    attempt to resolve these issues in as peaceful manner as

    June 28, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  25. Anne

    So making a quickie tour of the major European cities is going to make him an expert? Why is it okay for Obama to do it but his supporters complained when McCain went outside the country? It seems we get to view more and more hypocrisy in this race than ever before.

    June 28, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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