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. Joanne Urish

    I am totally impressed with Senator Obama. The man is Presidential from the top of his head to the tip of his toes. He just "reeks" with Leadership and Statesmanship, and his critics should be satisfied about his skills in Foreign Policy and ability to be the "Commander in Chief".

    We should be thanking our lucky stars that Obama is willing to tackle the tough problems ahead of us, instead of trying to find fault with him.

    Joanne Urish
    Glasford, IL 61533
    Ph: 309-389-5524

    July 27, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  2. Daniel

    Yes the trip seemed to have gone very well.

    July 27, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Happily Independent

    McCain meets with essentially the same leaders a few months ago and no one says anything. McCain made speeches overseas as well. McCain made a mistake by not being more open to the press. That is why he did not get more press coverage. Obama embrace the press and use it has an opportunity to show that he can handle himself well on the world stage. McCain and his supporters need to stop whining. Stop criticizing Obama for doing a good on the world stage. McCain, the so-called experienced candidate, has looked like an AMATEUR. Maybe your candidtate could learn a thing or two from the so-called inexperienced candidate. Obama sure did NOT look experienced overseas.

    July 27, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. applecrispbetty

    McCain wants to have it both ways. He criticizes Obama for not listening to the military concerning Iraq. Then he criticizes Obama for listening to the Pentagon military and not visiting the soldiers on their recommendation. In other words, if Obama says "yes", McCain says he's wrong, and on the same issue if Obama says "no", McCain also says he's wrong. But McCain himself would have to to "yes" or "no".

    July 27, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. sandy

    When I watched Senator Obama speak in Germany, he made me really proud to be an American. Not specifically by what he said, though I thought his speech was good, but by the way he handled himself throughout his tour. He is articulate, smart, easy to look at also, but more importantly, he carried himself like he should have. This is the way I want my President to look and sound. Enough of the other goof-ball ways already. Bravo Obama.

    July 27, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. jk

    Tennessee....What are you so afraid of? You are not one of those closet people who just cannot get over the race factor are you? We will FINALLY have an intellectual President. What is the "down" side to having a man in charge that improves our standing throughout the globe? If YOU think we can face what we HAVE to ALONE, then you are either sick or delusional. IF you are a democrat..."against" Obama, then you are rowing what is now, and what will be even more so, a LONELY boat, my friend. This thing might not even be close. A MANDATE. Wake up!

    July 27, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Ohio

    Give it a rest Tennessee. Flushing your head in a subway toilet for a few days straight is still not even close to how bad Bush's presidency is. So a presidential hopeful going abroad and forging peaceful diplomatic relationships with powerful nations is a dangerous move? Moreover, the world with 6x more in favor of Obama as our President than they are McCain, the Iraq government supports his pullout plan, and McCain had a timer on their site showing how longs its been since Iraq has visited nations abroad...then when he absolutely nails the trip garnishing love and support from the whole WORLD they start to question his patriotism and dedication to the campaign? The fact half this country is in favor McCain is utterly pathetic...but then again a proven fact is more Europeans know about American politics than Americans. Most of you repub puppets and PuMas just love reading headlines. Can't wait until Obama is at the head of this nation leading us to prosperity and success...and you are all choking on your cowboy boots.

    July 27, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Tennessee, you must be one of the millionaires who enjoyed increased fortune under Bush that doesn't have any family members or friends serving in the military to make such an asisine statement.

    July 27, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Smart women

    Tennessee what is your aducation level? iam sure drop out high school and living dirty south.Iam not blk or white..

    July 27, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. Ron Nebraska

    Tennessee..............you are very sad, the only people more dangerous than Bush is Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld ,Wolfowitz ,Feith, et.al. Why don't you go back to trying to secede from the union like the good strong American y'all are down there.

    July 27, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. lila

    Gee, you scared me into it. I'll vote for the man on the edge of dementia, instead. I surge, therefor I am.

    John McCain: All surge, All the time

    July 27, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. hitobito

    Democrats Against Obama '08: You're a Republican! You are also a liar and a bigot. And you live in a state that is so yesterday with your orange toilets. Bush is just a weak minded mediocre cheerleader....Cheney and his neocons were the dangerous ones. Go ahead and vote for John McBush and enjoy your $3.91 per gallon gasoline for now.

    July 27, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Bertin Evina-Ze

    Yes Mr Obama, you did it really well. America should be proud of you. Everybody loves you. Pictures speak by themselves. Sorry Mccain, you are simply jaleous, and I understand that.

    Go Obama!!!

    July 27, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. Pam

    Well at least the Tennessee writer did admit that Bush is dangerous. What I do not understand is, how is Obama more dangerous than Bush, when McCain offers the same old agenda Bush does??????

    July 27, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. You don't Fool Me

    Tennessee you are not a Democrat!

    July 27, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Joe Reg

    An Obama administration is good for America.

    The trip went very well indeed. The reason being that there is a presidential vacuum that needs to be filled and Obama is the right choice for the job. No more repubs this year.

    Not after the last 8 years.

    Obama 08/12.

    July 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Shirley-Ohio

    Yes you did do it well, keep up the good work and never get discouraged. You got what it takes to lead this world and others if needed.

    July 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Deli

    how is more 'dangerous than Bush'? that just came out of the blue.
    the man that is for a better world via cooperation is more dangerous than a cowboy sabre ratlling and alienating the whole planet while people are burning US flags and the president in effigy? No thanks to your comments. Troll.

    July 27, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Me

    Yes he did very well, they liked him very much! We like him too!

    July 27, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  20. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    A risky candidate in Obama

    July 27, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  21. cody ingram

    democrats against obama? really?? what are you thinking?!

    so...is it democrats for mccain? b/c that doesn't make sense at all. and no, this isn't about party loyalties, this isn't about partisanship – it's about thinking clearly. democrats against obama is a pretty foggy concept.

    saying that obama is more dangerous that bush is probably the most unintelligent, ignorant thing i've heard in...oh, 8 years.

    really? c'mon, people, use that lump of neurons in between your ears.

    July 27, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  22. Alex

    MacCain is an angry men envying Obama for being very successful in his trip. MacCain doesn’t get it. He says he knows how to win wars but the only one war he has been in was the Vietnam War that was lost. Obama has an outstanding judgement; He opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, the war that cost billions of dollars and thousands of young men and women. Obama wants to close this horrible and tragic moment of history

    July 27, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  23. Jim

    Yes you did future President....

    July 27, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |

    Thank you Sen. Obama for drawing attention to Sen. McCain not acknowledging he was wrong on his decision to go to war in the first place. Had we not gone to war, McCain would not have had to worried about a surge. Your decision out trump McCain any day.

    After all the bashing McCain did talking about Obama while he was over seas. McCain did not even have the nerve to attend the Conference. Mr. McCain you are a punk. And there is no way I want you as commander and chief.

    Well done Obama!

    July 27, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  25. Leebo

    Obama is impressive. He took on the Clinton machine and won. He has retained his honor and integrity – not many slip-ups along the way.

    America and the world would benefit from an Obama presidency. He has made his goals clear and is following through. His insight, intelligence, patience, and ability to listen are all traits we need.

    Obama can't do it alone – he needs the American people to wake up and step up. Are you ready to take back the country?

    July 27, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
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