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. Rob indetroit

    Tennessee good try but i think i hear the Grand Wizard calling you. Oh! dont for get to put up your rebel flag.

    July 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Greg, Hamilton Ontario

    The people that can't see how lucky they are to have a choice like senator Obama as a choice should look at the kind of idiots we have to look at right next door here in Canada. You don't know how lucky you are....as usual.

    I hope you see the light soon. Good luck

    July 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  3. Don

    Obama has just completed a deftly executed visit to the hot spots of the world. War zones and heads of state are visited with ease and grace. Information is gathered and connections are made with generals and kings. At the same time, McCain and his staff are spending their time pouring over the micro-details of Obama's trip looking for the tiniest slip-up to complain about. They can't find much, but complain anyway. How do these two events deserve equal coverage in the news? I wish the press would stop being afraid of the Rove-style attack machine's claims of bias toward Obama and just report what's real news.

    July 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Born in Memphis


    How is he more dangerous than Bush? He goes around the world and gets a welcoming reception and thats bad? People despise Bush around the globe, and thats 'good' or rather less dangerous?

    His senate record is very close to Clintons, but he is the 'elitist' politician? I didnt know confidence was a handicap. I didnt know not bowing down to every 'scandal' was a bad thing. I didnt know winning despite playing the politics game differently was evil.

    If he were as bad as McCain at this people would be criticizing him about that.

    People are still burned because a relative underdog beat out a supposed champion. Let It Go. I did. No I dont think hes perfect, there are many things I dont agree with him on, but Im looking at the larger picture here, and in that respect, he fits the bill way better than his opposition.

    If McCain even thought he were able to get that kind of reception from around the world, no one would be saying this.

    Change is scary, even children know that. You will be just fine when he is president.

    July 27, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Bill, Alabama

    McCain and the Republicans are in a stirr because Obama was so well accepted by the leaders and the people of Europe, while they all detest what the present Republican administration has done to world peace and world unity.

    July 27, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  6. shannon

    I have to admit he did do it really well!!! Obama has been completely presidential this week, while McCain did not. The overall success of the trip is quite stunning on many levels. He should be proud of it.

    July 27, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  7. Kansas Veteran

    He's attacked because he hadn't, he's attacked because he did, this is one Republican that says good job Obama, I SHALL be voting for you in the fall.

    Dear Tennesse,

    the only man alive more dangerous than Bush, is his buddy Cheney, grow up and get behind your canidate or be prepared for 4 more years of the last eight.

    Republican for Obama, and if you claim to be against him you most certainly are no Democrate.

    July 27, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. no obama, please

    Obama did do it very well. The only regrettable thing about his trip was that it had a return component.

    July 27, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  9. Here Come The JUDGE!!!

    To Tennessee- You are more dangerous than Karl Rove Dick Cheney
    and Bush *********.Be quick to judge Yourself and slow to Judge Others*****ThankYou!!!

    July 27, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Mike from Westchester

    Tennessee July 27th, 2008 5:37 pm ET
    He is more dangerous than Bush!
    Fearmongering without presenting any facts or logic. What is dangerous is ignorance. Open you mind to a better future for America and for our posterity.

    July 27, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Wisconsin

    Obama did do it really well.

    McCain had a whole week of whining and crying because of it.

    McCain needs to stop whining and crying and start talking about the issues.

    July 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  12. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    What are you talking about? More dangerous than Bush? Because the world likes him and doesn't like Bush? Because 200,000 people in Berlin think he would make a great President? Because he can execute on an overseas trip better than McCain? Meet with the exact same people that McCain met with and get more press about it? Because he opposed the war, supports talking with Iran, supports more troops in Afghanistan, supports a deadline to get us out of Iraq? Because he wants to pay attention to the people in this country that have bee ignored by the Bush administration and will be ignored by McCain? Because he wants us to stop depending on foreign oil versus being at their whim like Bush and Mccain's lobbyists? Just how is he more dangerous?

    July 27, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  13. Rob indetroit

    To all women in america if you care about your rights . vote Obama in 08.

    July 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  14. Carole, CA

    Can he really believe that?

    July 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  15. TEXAN

    YES..Senator Obama you did GREAT !!!! We are so proud of you. With you as our President, we are back on the right track to once again have the respect of foreign leaders. Thank you for representing our country.

    July 27, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Rave

    We desperately needed someone to restore the Respect and Faith of our great nation and Mr. Barack Obama already did it.
    There is a good and evil for every person and every country : Obama is the good and McCain is the evil
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    July 27, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. linda from South Dakota

    umm tennessee,, are u prediduce???? obama has proven more than mccain or bush will ever,, go obama!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. stacy

    it is all about him. No substance.

    July 27, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  19. Wisest one of All

    Hussein Nobama sure loves Europe. Too bad him and his racist minister hates the US. Proven fact!

    July 27, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  20. Maggie

    This is our next President and exactly who our country needs at this time. I think McCain is the dangerous one, with his ignorant quips about bombing Iran and his answer that we don't need to bring our soliders home from Iraq any time soon. Obama is our only choice.

    July 27, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  21. Florida

    John McCain failed to attend this event, didn't CNN get the memo McLame does not work on the weekends. After whinning the past week of minimum media coverage here was an opportunity for the candidate to address journalist of all ethnicity, but what should I expect coming from a man who voted against the Dr. Martin Luther King holiday. John McLame lacks the judgment quality needed in a strong leader. His campaign accepts the largest amount of fundings from lobbyist, this coming from a man of which the economy is not his strong suit. John when are you going to wake up and represent in working for the specialist interest of the citizens of the U.S instead of leaching off of lobbyist pact money. It seems as the "straight talk express" has some curves along the paths.

    Obama '08

    July 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. Wondering why the south is being negative against Obama

    Tennessee, Obama is not asking for the racist vote

    July 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  23. OBAMA

    Welcome Home,

    Please, no more travels until Nov!

    I can't stand McCain whining and sulking for a whole week!

    Thank you.

    July 27, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  24. Charlotte

    I thought he was againest public financing? We paid for this trip with taxpayer money. It was a campaign trip regardless of what he calls it.

    July 27, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  25. Jay

    He is the most arrogant politician in history. And that is saying a lot.

    July 27, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
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