July 27th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama defends overseas trip, 'I admit we did it really well'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/27/art.unity.gi.jpg
caption="Sen. Barack Obama says he is not sure what the political effect of his trip will be."]

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) – Just back from his overseas trip, Barack Obama appeared before a convention of minority journalists in his hometown of Chicago Sunday morning to discuss, among other things, the eight-day swing through the Middle East and Europe, saying, “I admit we did it really well.”

Asked by CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux for his impressions of the trip, Obama started by praising U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obama has come under fire in recent days by the McCain campaign for canceling a trip to visit wounded troops while in Germany. Obama says he didn’t want the visit to appear political.

Eager to quell criticism of an international trip taken while polls show domestic issues are a higher priority for voters, Obama argued in his opening remarks that “they are connected to the problems we face abroad.”

“I don't know the political effect of this when I come back,” he later admitted. “A week of me focusing on international issues doesn't necessarily translate into higher poll numbers here in the United States, because people are understandably concerned about the immediate effects of the economy,” he said. “And that's what we will be talking about for the duration.”

“I do think that, in terms of me governing, being an effective president, that that trip was helpful,” he continued, “because I think I've established relationships and a certain bond of trust with key leaders around the world who have taken measure of my positions and how I operate and I think can come away with some confidence that this is somebody I can deal with."

Asked to respond to accusations of “audacity” – a prominent word in Obama’s vocabulary – about a trip that included a speech to over 200,000 people in Berlin, Obama quickly pointed to rival John McCain who also visited the Middle East and Europe following his primary victory, “and nobody suggested that that was "audacious."”

“I was puzzled by this notion that somehow what we were doing was in any way different from what Senator McCain or a lot of presidential candidates have done in the past,” Obama said.

“Now, I admit we did it really well,” he added to laughter from the audience, “but that shouldn't be a strike against me.”

No rest for the weary, Obama leaves Chicago Monday morning for a week of campaigning that includes stops in Missouri, Iowa and Florida.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (411 Responses)
  1. Tennessee

    Obama is the best contender for president we have seen in 50 years!

    OBAMA for president in 2008!

    July 27, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  2. Wally

    Bravo Senator Obama!

    Your whole performance was very presidential and inspiring,
    especially in Iraq and Israel.

    You have my vote. I was formerly an independent.
    I think that you will bring the change that is direly needed.

    July 27, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  3. Carl Justus

    If is very nice to know we have a man who can articulate his views to pubic and the leaders of world without flying off the hook or threatening them or ignoring them.
    I will glad when Janurary 20, 2009 at 12:05 O"clock comes, then we will have president 1000 times better than the one we have now in Obama.

    July 27, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  4. Larry/TX

    Actually Barrack hit the nail squarely on the head. The Mccain people aren't upset for the Barrack tour per- se. They're just upset that it went so well for him. As far as the question of whether it was unfair for the media to send so many to cover the trip....please consider the following...... Imagine that the US media sent no-one to cover the tour. Now fast forward and look at all the attention, the huge crowds from Berlin to Paris and London. Now tell me ...how could any network justify their ignoring this huge story. Failure to recognize this colossal evolving event would have become the story itself...and the hand-wringing would have been over how can the media be expected to do it's job...to cover a big story if they have to obsess with how it would look politically.

    July 27, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. A Recovering Republican

    The Republicans are really upset. They goaded (or so they thought) Obama into taking his foreign tour, he did. they were hoping he'd commit a major flub (a la McCain). He didn't. So they nit pick every little possible detail and look at all the things that could have been done but weren't, and try to take away his accomplishments.

    Remember, every talking head, before he went, said that if he committed any "flub" that it would be replayed endlessly. Why did all those major and other news anchors go? Not because of a promise of an interview. Because they wanted to be there if he screwed up.

    Now, they are crying over the milk they spilled.

    10 years sober

    July 27, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Brigitte F.

    very disappointed that Obama didn't try harder to visit our wounded soldiers in Germany.
    That shows me again...unless he can have a photo-up he wont go.
    He certainly is a good speaker, but then that is his profession.
    I just dont like the circus he is making out of our election.
    Still waiting for some info ...about the changes Obama is planning to make if he is elected.
    He certainly won't get my vote....

    July 27, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. outsider

    Obama went Europe, American friends. He won warm feelings for America. He talked peace, love, unity, a better world.

    Why do the media and republicans attack him for this successful trip?

    The answer is "he is black". Regardless how excellent Obama is, how good he is for America, they do not want a black person in the White House. This is the only reason The Media and Republicans are attaching him for his successful trip to Europe.

    July 27, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. Brad Morse

    The media and Obama tells us they are not making race an issue? Who did Obama tell he "did it right " a group of minority journalist.

    I am tired of being lead along this road.

    July 27, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Rachel Benavidez

    OBAMA is a very very smart man and he will prevail to become the next PRESIDENT! to help with such utmost SUCCESS! in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! because he cares for the PEOPLE! he is an HONORABLE MAN!!!!!! And what is soooooo sad, is there is so many people that just could not IMAGINE! that an AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN! can be so INTELLIGENT! to be able to do an OUTSTANDING! Job. I know we all have the freedom of speech to say what we want in our comments, but there are some very WICKED! and PREJUDICE! people that sadly speak with ignorance and don't understand we are ONE PEOPLE. It makes my heart hurt that it still OCCURS! in the USA!!!!!!! OBAMA YOU ARE AMAZING TO ME. Thanks, Rachel Benavidez Sonora,California. (THE MOTHER LODE GOLD RUSH COUNTRY) NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN/HISPANIC and OBAMA SUPPORTER!

    July 27, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. 17 year old future politician

    Arrogant? Did he not do a splendid job representing America?....Self Serving? Did he not preach the fact that he doesn't want just America, but all the people of the world to unite? Is that really self serving to you? Creep? Does he lack appeal to you? How so? Is he not intelligent, respectable, and funny to you? Don't vote on pride this time, please help change america.

    July 27, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  11. NW

    Tennessee your so an incredible fellow citizen full of jealous, lol.. nothign good came out of your mouth just like those Republicans full of negativities, fear and smear all the time instead of foucusing on the main issues. McBush are the worst in American history. Same as McSame from Arizona always talk negative about somebody instead of addressing the main issues. You watch his words that everytime his talking about something, he always include a negative attack on Senator Barack Obama. Senator Obama rarely attack McSame on negative attacks. If he would attack McSame, that's always the fact and the truth about McSame he was addressing to the American people. FACT FROM THE NORTHWEST!

    July 28, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
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