[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/15/art.mccain.7.14.jpg caption="McCain is continuing to paint Obama as naive on foreign policy."]
(CNN) - John McCain’s aides may not like it, but they know it's inevitable: Barack Obama's trip overseas is guaranteed to generate a lot of coverage.
And they say while Obama is abroad, McCain will spend the week sticking to issues that voters care most about, namely the ailing economy.
But now, McCain is using every opportunity he can get to come down on Barack Obama's Iraq policy.
While at a Kansas City town hall Thursday, unprompted, the presumptive Republican nominee tweaked Obama for his upcoming trip abroad.
"I know that Senator Obama is going to Iraq," he said. "I was very interested that he articulated and announced his policies and [approach to] Iraq before he went."
Ironically, it was McCain himself who encouraged the Illinois senator to go.
"It's now coming up on 900 days since he last visited Iraq, since before the surge," McCain said last month in Pennsylvania. "I hope that he goes as quickly as possible, with or without me."
The Republican National Committee has a running clock on its Web site showing how many days, hours, and seconds it has been since Obama last visited Iraq.
Since the June 28 news that Obama was planning to make a trip to Iraq, the McCain campaign has been working up their response plan.
But aides say that when Obama penned an op-ed this week detailing his policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by a speech doing the same, advisers re-focused their attention to one central theme: by introducing his war policies before leaving, Obama's trip has become more of a campaign swing than a fact-finding mission.
"I've been on a lot of trips around the world, usually at your expense," McCain said Thursday. "But I usually issue my policy statements when I get back."
Obama is expected to make the trip to Iraq this month alongside fellow senators Chuck Hagel and Jack Reed. While overseas, the presumptive Democratic nominee will also visit France, Germany, Israel, Jordan and the United Kingdom.
"This trip will be an important opportunity for me to assess the situation in countries that are critical to American national security," Obama said in a statement last month. It will also afford him the opportunity to "consult with some of our closest friends and allies about the common challenges we face."
As Obama prepares to go, the McCain camp stepping up its push to highlight Obama's apparent shift in rhetoric on Iraq.
Earlier this week, McCain declared Obama a flip-flopper for changing his statements on the surge's success.
"It's a particularly new level of flip-flop," McCain said on-board his bus, the Straight Talk Express, Tuesday.
On Thursday, the McCain campaign released an eight-minute video aimed at illustrating Obama's contradictory statements on Iraq.
One clip from 2004 shows Obama saying, "we should secure execute the rebuilding and reconstruction process effectively and properly. I don't think there should be an artificial deadline to do that."
Obama now has calls for all combat troops to be out of Iraq in 16 months.
The Obama campaign was quick to respond, returning to a common argument: that McCain has, for the most part, been in lockstep with President Bush on the Iraq war, and that his position now keeps troops there indefinitely.
But noticeably absent from the response: any defense against McCain's central charge - that over the years, Obama's Iraq position has shifted with the politics of the moment.