July 25th, 2008
01:14 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama: Trip hasn't changed mind on Iraq

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/25/art.obamasarkoz.gi.jpg caption="Obama and Sarkozy held a press conference Friday."]PARIS, France (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama said his multi-nation tour did not change his mind on issue of Iraq and added that it has “deepened” his “set of concerns” especially when it came to Afghanistan and Iran.

“Going to Afghanistan confirmed for me that situation is worsening there,” Obama said at a news conference Friday at the Elysee Palace with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. “There was no leader I spoke with that was not concerned about the prospect of Iran getting a nuclear weapon.”

In a press conference that ranged from the serious to borderline love fest, Obama and Sarkozy each said they enjoyed the opportunity to meet and discuss their mutual concern on issues such as global warming and the situation in Darfur.

The French president U.S. senator emerged from behind closed doors to a crush of media crammed into what one French journalist described as the more “casual” area where the French president meets the press. “The French love the Americans,” Sarkozy said, which drew laughter from the crowd and Obama.

Obama returned the favor. “No one better captures the enthusiasm and energy of France than your president,” he said.

Obama, who the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, also joked that when Sarkozy visited Capitol Hill he was so well received that the cafeteria there started calling “french fries, french fries again.”

In a trip designed to convince American voters comfortable with the idea of Obama on a world stage, this three-and-a-half hour stop in Paris, far more than any of the other visits, seemed fit for a head-of-state.

In addition to the joint news conference, the official translation and the French and American flags positioned perfectly behind the two men, crowds lined the streets on the approach to the palace hoping to catch a glimpse of Obama’s motorcade. When Obama arrived, Sarkozy was patiently waiting for him outside on the steps to greet the limousine.

In fact, when a reporter asked how Obama would govern differently than President Bush, he had to remind assembled journalists that he was not quite there yet.

“I’m not the president,” Obama said. “I’m a United States senator. I am a candidate for president.”

Obama added that in a “wonderful tradition” one does not criticize a sitting president while visiting overseas.

Obama heads to London Friday evening to overnight and he will spend Saturday meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Conservative Party leader David Cameron and former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. violet

    Do not think that a five-day trip to the Middle East, Europe, and Great Britain has increased this man's knowledge of the world. All it has increased is his ego.

    July 25, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Steven

    The Obama Haters Are So Jealous.
    The Warmongers Need To Grow Up.

    July 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. No McCain!

    He's only stating the obvious. Iraq wants us out. We want out... why aren't we out?

    McCain wants to stay in Iraq and not attack the Taliban and Al-Qaida. Yet he says the recovery is up to the Iraqis. Sounds like a flip-flop there.

    Obama '08

    July 25, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. billy


    "SO DARN PROUD Sen. Obama invited the major media networks with him overseas so that they can witness his political intelligence and professionalism around the world when it comes to foreign leaders.

    I'm SO DARN PROUD Sen. Obama is a "hands on" type of President with a different perspective and a vision for CHANGE in this country."

    How DARN PROUD are you that Barry refused to see our injured and maimed soldiers?

    Wake up and see Barry for who he is. He wants to rule the world but doesn't even have the courage to talk to our injured soldiers when there are no cameras.

    July 25, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. Kevin

    I am an American Soldier. For years, the United States has enjoyed a fine reputation among the Europeans as the World's Leader. During my many trips overseas, I have always been proud to see the great esteem with which our European brothers and sisters hold for us – at least until we invaded Iraq for the non-existent WMDs. In my subsequent trips, my sense of pride in America waned and eventually evaporated. I remember one day I accidentally stumbled upon an anti-American protest in Heidelberg. On that day, the American flag burned while protesters hung an effigy of Pres. Bush. I felt helpless and humilitated. It is now time to turn the page on that chapter and return to the era of American prominence throughout the world. Sen. McCain – while a sincerely nice man – cannot do that. Only Sen. Obama can.

    July 25, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. The Oracle

    Nicole from La........Tsk tsk. That fact that you're talking about things like a "White backlash", and disrespecting GOD and yourself for calling someone the Messiah who has never portrayed himself as one; shows that you would have never have voted for Obama anyway....So just stay out of grown folks business and melt back into the 50's......Okay??

    July 25, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Tania July 25th, 2008 4:19 pm ET

    Time for Obama to come down to earth and face the real problems that are affecting american people.
    Somebody should remind him that he has not yet been declared the nominee and that he certainly is not yet the President.
    To think , that he was preferred over Hillary Clinton , who was truly the better candidate.
    Obama is a waffleing empty suit.

    So that's your argument, your tired, overused argument.."Obama is a waffleing empty suit." Look, bitter feminist..it's spelled "waffling" for one thing, NOT "waffleing"; He never said he was the president, in fact he said he was NOT in the article above if you know how to READ. He WILL be the official nominee, there will be no mistake, in August, Obama will become the official democratic nominee so you REALLY need to get off it with Hillary because no matter how much you hope and dream, it's not going to be her. You can wish all you want but crap in one hand and wish in the other and see which one piles up first.

    July 25, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  8. True

    Allez , Obama pour Presidente. Je t'aime Obama!!

    July 25, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Jesus

    no mention anywhere that he is the president. not his fault that he has presence and comes of as the person who should be leading our beautiful nation.

    not his fault that the current president pales in comparison to him and hence he looks like he is the leader of this nation.

    man you guys are haters. its scary.

    July 25, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. bibi

    it is not pakastan but pakistan!

    July 25, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. Obama's Not Qualified

    This man has no qualifications to be the President of the US. Community organizer? State senator? Gimme a break!

    July 25, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  12. MARK

    Once again Obama showed to the world that he is the best candidate to lead this great country. The republicans can say whatever they want, but the true is that they are wishing that their candidate Mcbush was OBAMA right now.
    Obama's speeches were great, he portrayed himself very presidential, and for once in a long time, and American is seen through the eyes of the world as educated and with the brains to lead us all. That make me feel really proud of being an American. One more thing that should make us all Americans proud of having OBAMA as a candidate to be our president, is the fact that finally We can see people around the world waving our great glory instead of burning it. Tha should wake some Americans (reps. dems and indep.) to see the potential We have in Obama. So many around the world can see that including third world countries. Don't let those countries call us stupid for not realizing it. let's use our brains and put an end to those who have been calling Americans ignorants based on the leader that We have now. wake up America. Some already made the big error of electing Bush twice, you are forgiven for that, but make a third mistake, and you will doom us all.

    July 25, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. John Gio

    So this entire photo-op of a trip was a complete waste of time. Obama is an empty suit.

    July 25, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. Jim in Orlando

    The thin veneer is coming off. Obama has no clothes !

    July 25, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  15. John in Iowa

    These are Obama’s friends:

    William Ayers (Anti-American Radical)

    Larry Sinclair (Homosexual Drug Addict)

    Jeremiah Wright (White-Hating “Reverend”)

    Tony Reszco (Chicago Slum Land-Lord)

    Louis Farrakhan (Muslim Fanatic)

    What else needs to be said?

    Anybody but Obama ’08!

    July 25, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  16. shelly

    Why should Obama change his mind about the war in Iraq. The war was basted on lies and had nothing to do with 9/11. George jr just wanted to show his daddy up. George jr is still just a drunk.

    July 25, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  17. Michael in AZ

    yea obama most likely doesent give a crap about are troops. only about charging them with A.K.A "war crimes" just shut Obi and have some balls

    July 25, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. Are You Serious

    CNN, stop censoring the news. Do a "Keeping them honest" segment or something., Call McCain on his hipprocracy. Do a whole thing on that. What was Columbia, Mexico, & Canada...?
    If you guys hate Obama, fine, but don't make up BS excuses and be hypocrites like McCain.
    I hope you hating makes you sleep well at night with all your nonsense bloggings. Hope you get carpal tunnel or something, cause I'm sick of reading your hatred rubbish with never anything to back it up.
    I can't wait for the debates so that Obama can call this man on his BS and bring up the fact that he (McCain) is against Roe Vs Wade, which the media is just trying to keep hush hush.
    To the person reading this, approve this and show it to you're producers, you guys are starting to be like clone of FOX.

    July 25, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Carolyn

    CNN needs to rid itself and stop foisting Campbell Brown, Gloria Borger and Lou Dobbs on the public. Are you ever going to see a drop in viewership after this election. I know you won't print this. They have become like cancerous growths.

    July 25, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. bibi

    It takes enormous guts to go to europe and the middle east and talk with World leaders especially when one has not got a lot of experience. This is an American man who is so courages! It would have looked so good on Mac Cain if he had praised Obama. All Americans should have at least knowledged that. He is one of you – acknowledge his braveness. He must have been dead nervous. He had to make so many speeches every day. If one has to make so many speeches each day, you will need prompts. It is too much to remember.
    He also had to put up with time differences, jetlag and lack of sleep and visit all those places in just 7 days. Mac Cain would never have been able to do this. If it had been the other way around I am convinced that Obama would have congratulated Mc Cain. Obama is a fine man and does not speak negatively about anyone. All he says is " Well that was very unfortunate that he said such a thing! He always focuses on the issues and does not attack Mc Cain personally. Even if you hate his colour, he will always be one of you – an American! Be proud that you have a fellow citizen with such qualities.

    July 25, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  21. Dr.Paul & Dr.Jen Schmidt

    As Germans we are outraged that Barack Hussein OBAMA abused the German HOSPITALITY and made oue SOIL for his cheap political campaign. How PATHETIC he looked!!! There was no one to introduce him and he had to intrduce himself to the DEUTSH speaking Germans and did some BLAH...BLAH...He couldn't even find an interpriter, and we bet they hardly understood what he spoke. They were simply curious about all the MEDIA FRENZY around him and decided to spend sometime in the GARDEN – who cares??
    Despite all the MEDIA CIRCUS and bad economy , foreclosures etc. he is running a neck to neck race with a 71 year old man who hardly gets any of your attention. Amazing!!!
    By the way, we Germans have dubbed your CNN as Obama News Network – ONN! How do you like it???
    – Posted by Patriotic Germans Schimidts

    July 25, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    It seems that brilliance is a concept to great to understand, when one is consumed with hate and prejudice. Go away you nay sayers let America reclaim its greatness.

    Obama 08

    July 25, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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