July 26th, 2008
10:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama: Tour may hurt me at home

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/26/obama.london/art.obama.uk.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Barack Obama leaves 10 Downing Street Saturday."]
LONDON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama conceded to reporters that his stint off the American campaign trail may hurt him a bit with voters but felt the trip was vital to giving a “sense of where an Obama administration might take” U.S. foreign policy.

“I am not sure that there is going to be some immediate political impact. I wouldn’t even be surprised if that in some polls that you saw a little bit of a dip as a consequence, we have been out of the country for a week," he said. "People are worried about gas prices and home foreclosures. So the reason I thought this trip was important was I am convinced that many of the issues that we face at home are not going to be solved as effectively unless we have strong partners abroad.”

Throughout his eight-country trip Obama sought to distance himself from his battle with Sen. John McCain and focus on foreign affairs. As he finished his meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama reengaged in the contest at hand when asked about McCain’s criticism that his time abroad appeared like a “premature victory lap.”

“It is hard for me to understand Sen. McCain’s argument. He was telling me I was supposed to take this trip. He suggested it and thought it was a good idea. But although I have to admit we had it planned before he made the suggestion,” he said.

John McCain has visited every one of these countries post-primary that I have. He has given speeches in Canada, in Colombia, Mexico, he made visits. And so it doesn’t strike me that we have done anything different than the McCain campaign has done which is to recognize that part of the job of the next president, commander in chief is to forge effective relationships with our allies.”

The scene outside Number 10 Downing Street appeared to surprise Obama as he strode out of the door. He had barely reached the microphone before British journalists started throwing questions.

Obama was asked whether he had any “advice” for Prime Minister Brown who is in a bit of political trouble after tremendous losses for the Labour Party in a recent election.

“I don’t have advice for Prime Minister Brown. I will tell you that you are always more popular before you are actually in charge of things. And then, you know, once you are responsible then you are going to make some people unhappy, and that is just the nature of politics,” Obama said. “And these things go in cycles. Even in the course of this campaign there have been months where I am a genius and months where I am an idiot. At least if you read the newspapers, it seems I am pretty much the same guy throughout this process but my actions and the results are going to be perceived differently at any given time.”

Obama returns to Chicago on Saturday and is expected to hit the campaign trail almost immediately.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. TheTruthHurts

    It will be such a change to have a president who has both intellectual cred as well as community organizing, hands-on cred.

    I can't remember having that combination. Being intelligent is certainly not the only criteria for being president, but it is abundantly clear that McCain doesn't hold a candle in that department. I don't think McCain is stupid, far from it. He's just not at that level.

    July 26, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Marie in California

    Obama tried to develop foreign policy credentials in a whirl-wind trip around Europe and the Middle East. I don't think it worked.

    While there he did what he does best....being a rock star Americal Idol slick Chicago politician who uses a teleprompter exceedingly well while speaking to large crowds. He never says anything of substance, but he sure does say nothing in a most beautiful manner! Better he should to go Hollywood!

    Personally, the only place I can see any foreign policy from Obsama taking us is......right into the dumper!

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain!


    July 26, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. Whining Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    Brad July 26th, 2008 2:04 pm ET
    From an undecided, observant position, I think this whole trip of Obama's just goes to show how extremely arrogant he is. How dare this man prance around other countries speaking and acting as though he is already the President of the United States. In this country, we vote people into office. Until this guy gets the majority vote, and the votes of the electoral college, he ought to stay here at home and focus on domestic issues. To act as though he owns the presidency is disrespectful towards our election system, and is a symbolic "spit in the face" to American voters.

    I give a thumbs up to McCain for staying at home and being focused on domestic issues, as well as keeping his compsoure during the disgusting bias of our mainstream news. I can't wait to see these two debate it out in the months to come.


    This is a big pile of cowflop. I don't know if you bothered to notice, but John McCain has been to all of the same places and more, and giving speeches in all those places, all during this campaign season.

    Instead of whining about "acting and prancing" as if he is already the president (in my mind, your words don't fall very far short of calling him "uppity" but I'll leave that alone), why don't you give us some real evidence of it? Did he introduce himself to even a single person overseas as the current president?

    One thing you are obviously ignorant of is the fact that he went on this trip at least in part because he was criticized by the McCain campaign for not having gone.

    Finally, don't give us this garbage about this trip being a "spit in the face" to American voters. You yourself are "acting and prancing" as if you speak for the entire country, and that is certainly not the case. You are just a single blogger with your own opinion, and that's it. Don't get all "uppity" and pretend otherwise.

    July 26, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Deli

    America is half messed up, it's just the way it is.

    Brad, Strong:

    Obama already said he's going there as a senator (citizen of US), the way that he received in Europe doesn't label him 'presumptuous winner'. Obama already also said that having better relations abroad improves conditions at home.


    as far as I know, a US senator IS an American citizen.

    McCain is a good candidate, he has his strengths and people should truly considerate what each can provide for the US. Obama is far from perfect but what he has done in Europe is a positive thing. There are so many contradictory people in America that it just boggles my mind.

    July 26, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Sharon

    "From an undecided, observant position, I think this whole trip of Obama's just goes to show how extremely arrogant he is." ... " I give a thumbs up to McCain for staying at home and being focused on domestic issues, as well as keeping his compsoure during the disgusting bias of our mainstream news."

    Spare us Brad, undecided and observant? I think not. Why not be honest? You're obviously pro-McCain, just admit it. I don't know about your being observant either, McCain did not focus on domestic issues - all he consistently talked about was the "SURGE" and whether it has "succeeded" or maybe it is "succeeding", whether it started before or after the Anbar Awakening, etc., etc., - he really wasn't very clear about all of this.

    Also, if you believe McCain kept his composure then you set the bar low. For any thinking individual, McCain came across as very juvenile.
    He & his compaign constantly complained about Senator Obama's trip overseas, conveniently forgetting, or hoping the American public would, that he continously taunted Obama prior to him making the trip. And let's all not forget, McCain made several overseas trips after securing his nomination AND also gave speeches while abroad. If I recall correctly, all the media commentaries were about how "presidential" he was looking while the Democrats were still "battling it out." No comments about McCain being "presumptious", "arrogant" or "cocky."

    The amount of media coverage is NOT what's relevant, it's the TYPE of coverage.

    I'm pro-Obama and very, very proud of the confident and exceptionally composed candidate I support ... and I'm not even a Democrat!

    July 26, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. PCL

    This election will be decided on a handful of issues. Where does your guy stand on these? Roe v. Wade, Universal Health Care, Iraq, Taxes, the Economy, Energy .

    I waiting to see how many people will vote against their own interests in order to keep Obama out of the White House. We will get what we deserve.

    Karzai looked more relaxed than I've seen him in years. Al Maliki agrees with Obama's time line. Shimon Perez praised him and said the future belongs to the young. The King Abdullah personally drove Obama to the airport. 200,000 Germans came out to hear him waving American flags. Sarkozy says Obama is his buddy. Brown is polite (he's Bush's boy) but Parliament and Londoners are as excited as everyone else.

    The tour can only help. It's OK with me that the world likes us again.

    Obama 08!

    July 26, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Iam4mycountry

    Andy he went over as a Senator. McCain has been asking when he was going to go to Iraq. Iraq and Afganistan was paid for by our tax dollars as he went over as some sort of committee the rest was paid by his campaign. But, McCain did the same thing after he was nominated. There is an article in March of this year when he was in London finishing up his European trip. You cannot condemn Obama for Going if McCain has already Gone. McCain's memory must be failing if he does not now remember that he keep critizising Obama for not going and now is critizising him for going even though he did the same thing. The only difference is that Obama had people waiting outside to get a glimps of him and McCain had people outside protesting.

    July 26, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
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