July 27th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
14 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. Mike

    As usual, a typical humble Rock Obama understatement. The international leaders loved Obama. The whole world is holding their collective breaths in hope that America may elect a leader that does not threaten constant war and intimidation as national policy.

    July 27, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Hans-Erik Iken, The Netherlands

    Yeah, you did good. Pity you didn't make a stop in our neck of the woods. Next time maybe, but I guess you'll bepresident by then and not inclined to hold a speech for us.

    I hope the US voters will be glad to have an accomplished politician as Obama, I know we are jealous that ours are such bureacrats without his flair and charisma.

    July 27, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. David from Florida

    Obama took this trip to improve his "international credentials." Sure he liked thousands cheering him in Germany and elsewhere, but who is really going to vote for the president of U.S., not Germans but Americans.

    By the way, I am not interested in the overseas popularity of my president, I am interested in the candidate who resembles my views and actually will follow through with what he says he will do.

    The 2006 Midterm elections was a democratic win because they won the house and senate, and they promised to get us out of Iraq and lower gas prices. They have been in there for nearly 2 years and we are still in Iraq and gas prices have increased significiently.

    P.S. The war in Iraq is not such a huge concern as much as two years ago, because the media quit only producing negative stories out of Iraq and started telling about some of the good things happening in Iraq. Also, Gen Petraus has been a smart Commander with a successful plan, If he ever wants my vote for President, he'd probably get it in a heartbeat.

    July 27, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. TN FOR OBAMA

    "He hasn't visited the troops." WAAAH WAAAH
    "He went and nobody's paying attention to me!" WAAAH WAAAH
    "He's never met with the generals" WAAAAH WAAH
    "He's using our troops." WAAAAAAH WAAAAAH

    Obama
    Oh – Eight
    Obama
    Oh – Yeah

    July 27, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Scott, Cincinnati

    Welcome home Senator Obama and congratulations on a job welldone around the world. That something we have NEVER been able to say about the current criminal in your new office!

    July 27, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. randy

    Very fresh and always looking presidential.God have bless you and you will be our president.

    July 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Diamond

    Obama looks so handsome in that picture!

    July 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. A NATION OF WHINERS for OBAMA

    YOU HAVE MADE US VERY PROUD.

    AN EXCELLENT AMERICAN PRODUCT, BABY.

    July 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. chidi

    hey what's up?how are you doing?

    July 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. Kevin

    Obama you are 100% right. Let Mccain attract even 5000 people.
    200,000 people cannot lie.

    July 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Peter M

    MCSame and the Rethugs who goaded Obama to take the trip are envious that he did it too well. The MSM which has failed to hold MCCain responsible for the same trip he made, the gaffes he committed while there and the doubletalk of now blaming Obama for doing what he did, look more foolish after trying to trip Obama and failing miserably. How about just being happy to see an articulate American leader representing us and our flags waving rather than burning? Is that too much to ask of you?

    July 27, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Mo

    YOU HAVE SAID THE TRUTH. EVERYTHING YOU DO, YOU DO WELL. HOPE YOU WILL DO WELL AS A PRESIDENT OF THIS COUNTRY. I WONDER IF MCCAIN HAS THIS MUCH ENERGY AND STRENGTH.

    July 27, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. Doreen Augusta Maine

    That is my candidate! I actually think he looks less tired after his European trip than before he left. Though I do get concerned that he is going to wear himself out.

    I mean McCain takes just about every weekend off, and he is not exactly working hard when he is campaigning – unless you call eating at a restaurant or food shopping hard work.

    Which by the way irritates me - the McCain camp whines about not getting as much coverage as Obama, but Obama is doing important campaign and overseas stops, while McCain is doing photo ops which the press covered. I can't understand why they covered it, but they did.

    July 27, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. randy

    Barack will beat john macain in any issue even in physical fight.barack obama rock plz voters register and vote for him.

    July 27, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Dolly,

    Is CNN the official Obama campaign website with it's 'join the Obama campaign button"?

    July 27, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. MH FROM KY

    OBAMA THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME FEEL PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN AGAIN.

    GREAT TRIP.

    COME HOME GET SOME REST AND SPEND SOME TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY.IM SURE YOU ARE TIRED.

    REP 4 DEM 08

    July 27, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. a southern bell for OBAMA

    WHAT I WANT TO KNOW, IS, WHAT DID YOU BRING

    YOUR GIRLS BACK, BESIDES A GREAT DADDY ?

    MORE THAN A GREAT JOB.

    July 27, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. GERRY

    NO YOU DID NOT DO IT WELL.

    YOU DID IT SUPURB, MARVELOUS, OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THANK YOU, AND WELCOME BACK HOME.

    July 27, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. S. Boatman

    Not Only Did You Do It Well You Made Mccain Look Like An Angry, Whiny, Cry Baby Who Threw A Tantrum The Entire Time You Where Gone! I Thought His Head Was Going To Pop! Mccain Showed Up All He Does Not Have His Bearings Or Anger Under Control! He Didnt Look Presidential At All!

    July 27, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. randy

    BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT.
    IN GOD IT IS POSSIBLE.

    July 27, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. AVEMBE The sun

    I do think that the guy SHOULD rest at least 3 days in order to STAY a little while with his family

    July 27, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. conspiracy theorist

    yes we did!yes we can!yes we will!you did wonderful, barack!

    July 27, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Ted People

    Then, why don't you make Hillary Clinton your running mate?

    July 27, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. Tega Egube

    Ha Obama. You can talk!

    July 27, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. randy

    PLEASE VOTE OBAMA COME NOVEMBER 4

    July 27, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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