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. Paul, Riverside, CA

    To Tennessee:

    Your statement lacks intelligence and substance.

    Ironic, I am a Republican against McCain 08'. 🙂

    July 27, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  2. Adam from Michigan

    "He is more dangerous than Bush!

    Democrats Against Obama '08"

    Please quit acting as a Democrat.

    Your fear baiting puts you dead red as Republican.

    July 27, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  3. bt

    No such thing as dems against Obama....u mean repubs against Obama which is nothing new...Obama '08..

    July 27, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. Marie in California

    Another glamorous, glittering performance by our rock-star American Idol presidential hopeful! He should be in Hollywood. He never says anything of substance, but he sure can say nothing in a very eloquent manner!

    Just when I thought I couldn't dislike anyone more than I disliked GWB.....along came Obama. Heaven help us all if he is elected!

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain!


    July 27, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. EBC

    This man will make AMERICANS and people all over the WORLD very PROUD. He's got a gift from GOD when it comes to his intelligence, he's very articulate, very professional in his "out of the box" approach and very steadfast in his political "savvy" when it comes to ANY issue facing this country. He's NOT afraid to go against the grain of the same old Washington politics. He's willing to try the "unthinkable" , do the "undoable" in terms to taking this country in another direction. I commend him for that. I WANT a President who is willing to "THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX".

    If AMERICANS want more of the same BUSH policies, then GO VOTE FOR McCAiN because you will DESERVE more of the same high gas prices, another WORLD WAR III, more young women and men dying all because of his stubborn, senile and selfish political "EGO". John McCain is so FAR behind the eight ball he would do MORE DAMAGE and set this country backwards rather than moving us forward. He's clueless and clearly does NOT connect with a majority of voters.

    Don't let Sen. Obama's age and Senate years FOOL you.... Age is nothing but a number and right now many of our more SENIOR Congressmen and women have sat back and done NOTHING but stroke their greedy egos and focused on pushing their political ambitions, rather than working for the people who voted them into office. I'm sick and tired of the same old, same oh Washington mentality!!! ENOUGH already.

    I'd rather back a man whose willing to work towards CHANGING our government full of CROOKS and CORRUPTION for decades!!! Sen. Obama may not be the answer to all our problems, but if he can set this country on a different path and CHANGE how we mentally and physically do business, then I'M ALL FOR CHANGE AND A PRESIDENT WILLING TO MOVE US FORWARD, RATHER THAN BACKWARDS!!!

    John McCain is NOT qualified to be President, he lacks the political savvy and intelligence to do so. BOTTOM LINE.

    July 27, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  6. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    I think the trip did him good and us in the US of A good also, because it gave us a chance to see him the world area.

    And no matter what anyone says, he looked very very good.

    July 27, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  7. Megan

    I love you.

    July 27, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  8. Hillary, MO

    Diawara, you do not know anything about Barack Obama and our nation.Barack has no experience at all. I want to know what experience he has. He took his first overseas trip and it was a learning experience. however White house is not a learning place. We need experienced people. CNN has been supporting Barack Obama all along. i want to ask the same question to CNN. Please tell me what experience Barack has to run our great nation. He took 300 advisers on his trip overseas this time. What a disgrace.

    July 27, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  9. Greg, Brattleboro, VT

    Tennessee, You really sound Tennessee. Do you understand this? I doubt.

    July 27, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. therealist

    Obama had his mind made up before leaving.. What was done very well? The truth is that this trip was nothing more than a disney tour of socialist leaders. The new Paris Hilton of politics that all of Europe wants to be seen with.., today.

    July 27, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |

    Barack is NO WHERE near as DANGEROUS as BUSH or MCCAIN! So TENNESEE stop HATING!!!

    OBAMA 08/12 YES WE CAN & YES WE WILL!!!!

    July 27, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  12. Joe

    At long last, a presidential candidate with a basic command of the English language!

    July 27, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Gimme A Break

    lol @ Tennessee. We've got the racists terrified.

    Obama '08

    July 27, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. ObamaForAllofUs

    This trip showed us that the world is waiting for America to step into the light again. We have lived in darkness for 7 and a half years.

    I couldn't have been more proud of him this week. He makes me proud to be an American again. This motivated me even more this weekend to register voters for the campaign and to try to help the campaign any way I can – in addition to donating any money I can spare.

    The only thing I can say to folks like Tennessee is – fortunately for you, when Obama is President, he will do his best for all of us, not just those that supported him. He will be the people's President.

    July 27, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  15. Turk

    Obama is EXACTLY what this country needs, he is the face of change and with change comes risks, and we can't do any worse than what we're already doing. We're at the bottom now, and the only way to go from here is up. OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  16. Rise America Rise

    I am so proud of how Senator Obama represented the US on his overseas trip. He was very presidential and connected with the troops, the leaders, and the rest of the European community. Go Obama!

    July 27, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  17. Vera Richardson

    I am a loyal and faithful supporter of Obama. I am so proud of Senator Obama’s entire trip. His trip to Iraq was a huge success. Before his historic trip I expressed my concerns for his safety if and when he visited Iraq. I am so glad that the United States military was in charge of his security during his time in Iraq.

    To America I say compare McCain's trip to the Middle East to Obama's trip. Obama stood alone on the world stage and expressed intelligent visions and solutions to the many problems that are facing the world. McCain on the other had stood with Graham and Liberman with Liberman whispering corrections and answers to statements and mistakes to McCain.

    There should be and will be only one president at the time in America. We have endured the Presidency of George Bush it is now time that we elected someone who will not need Cheney, Rove, Liberman, or Graham to publicly and privately act in the role as President of the United States of America.

    This year God has given us a clear choice. Please exercise wisdom and common sense and vote for Barack Obama. A man who is intelligent and has shown good judgment during his life and this election season. Obama will represent us well and will stand tall in America and abroad as President of the United States of America.

    Vera Richardson OBAMA 2008

    July 27, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. Meneka

    Obama this country needs, he will be the president USA will get the respect back from all over the world....The world loves him :-)......YES WE CAN!

    July 27, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Tejano

    He is a great candidate for the Presidency of a European Government. They know how to run when the going gets tough. Or fold when an invading army comes across their borders.

    Our colors dont run. We will not become a Socialis/Marxist state.

    July 27, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  20. Wisconsin

    Obama gets the issues right.

    Obama is for America!

    July 27, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    We know those countries in which Obama visited don't have a vote in our election but when you attempt to engage the International community in peace or war you need to have their respect and confidence. The "go it alone" mentallity which we've experience in the Bush/McCain theory has done a great deal of damage. Obama is right and not being audacious.

    July 27, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. READY999

    A true leader that other countries leaders believe in. U. S returning back to a respectable world leader thanks to OBAMA. Please no McWAR IN 08!!!!!!!!! OBAMA 08 [WORLD LEADER}

    July 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. kelly WI

    Well, what would you expect him to say? He is already calling himself the president. Do you think he would say "I bombed out and can't handle the job?"
    Jeez. Any one with common sense out there?

    July 27, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. Willow, from Iowa

    Darn right, he did it really well. Our country found out what the rest of the world thinks about what's been going on around us for the last 8 years. Found out what the rest of the world was hoping for. And its the same thing I am hoping for.

    Obama 08/12

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

    Why am I NOT surprised to hear Obama congratulating HIMSELF on a doing something "really well"...

    This man's LACK of HUMILITY is a major turn-off for me and MANY other voters. I'm not surprised to hear that Obama's lead over McCain is diminishing...now that his over blown ego has taken center stage!!

    Compared the egomaniac that the democrats nominated, McCain is looking BETTER every day.

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