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. Axlerod = Rove

    When he visits the European Socialist states, they can keep him.

    Nationalize healthcare.

    Install governmental intervention in commodoties markets.

    Nationalize oil refineries.

    Double the capital gains tax.

    Raise income tax.

    Turn the United States into France.

    June 28, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. beverly

    senator obama trip to to europe and th middle east will bring some good will to our enemies, and regains some confidence with our allies to stand shoulder to shoulder with us once again l beleive he will bring us back in good standard with the world he has has a natural gift it may take sometime but he believes also yes we can. bush and his admistration should be accountable for there war crimes against humanity, and brought to justice.

    June 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Jan

    I guess, JB, then you do not blame President Bush for today's economy which is as it should be. Congress (democratic) is mainly responsible for the economy if anyone is, as I understand it. Besides, Bush has kept us safe from terrorists and is successfully ending the war after ridding the world of a brutal dictator and helping the Iraqi people to learn to govern themselves. Those 10 yr olds you speak about were raped, tortured and killed by Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

    June 28, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Susan from Scotts Valley

    JB – What does your comment have to do with Obama's trip to the Middle East?

    I'm glad he's taking this trip. Not that it's going to shut up the criticism from the Republicans, they'll just change their tune from this ridiculous countdown.

    June 28, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Ian M

    Stay here, Obama... we need you campaigning...

    June 28, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  6. Willy

    Obama is going to tax every legal tax paying American and then give the money to the lazy people who rely on hand outs from Big Government and that Mr. Change for you. He is going to make his mentor Jimmy Carter proud. Thanks DNC for stopping Hillary!

    June 28, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. STAN

    why does not he go to iran, will he let iran have a nuke? and how does he plan to stop it? Israel wants to know about this ultra liberal left wing radial terrorist lover.

    June 28, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. David/Florida

    Hey, JB, REPUBLICAN, Why dont you and W got to the ranch in
    Crawford and put manure on the fields.You must be frustrated that your Idiot president is the biggest failure in the History of this great C

    Hillary/Bill O8, 12, 16 and forever.

    June 28, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  9. Frieda

    "beef up his foreign policy credentials "...

    with one trip? holly cow, how stupid he thinks we are?

    June 28, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Emmanuel Ajala

    It surprised me that someone could denigrate a great leader such as Bill Clinton this is beyond understanding. However, JB shows the level of his/her understandings of the parametal used in measuring good leader.
    Would JB considered someone such as Bush as a great leader. You are a joker. It is better to read your current affairs we before opening you dam mouth.

    June 28, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. DD

    Obama plans trip to Europe and Mid East?!? Why doesn't Obama plan a trip to the US instead? You know, the REAL US that exists outside of DC city limits, and outside of the Tamany Hall crony circle in Chicago? Isn't this a US election? How about fulfilling some candidate-like expectations and come visit the electorate and introduce oneself rather than self-appoint into a pseudo-envoy role that hasn't been approved by any US body other than his own political party puppet masters and their money machine?

    He should have build "foreign policy credentials" prior to this cavalier but otherwise naively misguided bid for commander in chief. This is a frightening precedent to be set for a potential US president to attempt a whirlwind global PR tour to parlay perception about foreign policy experience DURING an election cycle. He's garnering votes from suburban-guilt-complex riddle college kids too naive to know better, and a large slice of urban core welfare recipients just street smart enough to realize that this guy is the welfare messiah that they've been waiting for to expontially increase the social services dole outs at suburban and rural expense.

    June 28, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Lovely in VA

    I see the republicans are out in full force (JB)! Please no more about Hillary. She has earned an end to the negativity surrounding her. There are no Barack supporters talking bad about her so stop with the 'operation chaos' , it isn't going to work this time either.

    Obama supporters – Money bomb for Barack on July 4! Spread the word.......he's WILL be there for US but we have to be there for him. Show the love....

    President Obama – Jan 20, 2009

    June 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. Emmanuel Ajala

    It surprised me that someone could denigrate a great leader such as Bill Clinton this is beyond understanding. However, JB shows the level of his/her understandings of the parametal used in measuring good leader.
    Would JB considered someone such as Bush as a great leader. You are a joker. It is better to read your current affairs before opening you dam mouth to abuse Bill.

    June 28, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Steve

    (Wow! Looks like JB has a problem, poor guy.) A couple of trips abroad are not going to round out Obama's foreign affairs or national security credentials. Remember, he thought he understood foreign relations because he lived overseas for 3 years when he was a child. You gain foreign relations experience and understanding through years of hard work and dedicating yourself to it. The best Obama will get from this trip is a censored, superficial view of these countries.

    June 28, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  15. Edith

    Agreed. Bill Clinton dealt an additional blow to the dignity his wife showed sticking by him after his affairs. He ruined her run for presidency with his outburst. Not only did she "stand by her man" all those years he basically laughed at her with affairs, but she had to endure the negativity he brought to her campaign. To see Hillary Clinton together with Obama these past days has showed me what a strong and smart woman she is. Hillary, dump Bill, join Obama and we'll be voting you in 8 years from now.

    June 28, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. K

    Maybe after he gets done with that trip he can start visiting all 57 states in the US!

    June 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. story

    he can not visits states, as the head of the state himself
    this is going to be another story lke the seal,
    anyway most of the european politicians are on vacations

    June 28, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. 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?
    So, let's see…
    Oh! Wait a second. Of course!
    Obama wants photo ops so he can feed something new to his cult followers here at home.
    Axelrod is trying to put a nice ribbon on this freshly minted nominee who was selected by the failed leaders of the Democratic Party, this 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 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. Jesse

    Good move, Obama. That's definitely going to help.

    And JB,

    Try debating an issue like that where it actually applies to the article. You're just making yourself look like a child by posting a cheap shot like that to an article that says nothing about it.

    Chill out. Be civil.

    June 28, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. J.C.

    I am an undecided voter between Obama and McCain, but I am not one of the overrated 18 millions Hillary's supporters.

    This means I will feel comfortable having either Obama or McCain as my next president. However, their VP choice and some issues will be the critical points for me to make a choice in November.

    I welcome the news that Obama will start visiting foreign countries. This will be his opportunity to show us how good he can be in foreign affairs. No matter how Hillary sugar-coated her foreign experience, Obama's experience living overseas will be valuable and so is McCain's living abroad experience while his father was stationed around the world. It often takes one to stand on the peripheral of our nation to look in to see how we should fix our country. They would know better how other countries perceive us. That's a realistic advantage of both gentlemen.

    June 28, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Wise move, Obama.

    June 28, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Michael

    Thank you, JB. You're clearly a man or woman who thinks outside of the shrill, dogmatic, ill mannered tent under which most democrats sit while they shout their silly slogans and engage in inarticulate screeds against Bush, Cheney, McCain and conservatism in general.

    June 28, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. paul jackson

    Naughty, Naughty, be nice to Bill?

    June 28, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. silas

    @ JB

    you shud be ashamed off yourself fo call Bill a scumbag and this is coming from an Obama supporter.

    Obama 08

    June 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  25. Archie H.

    With any luck at all one of those countries will adopt Obama as their saviour !

    June 28, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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