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. Troy

    Hey Tennessee, my dog is less dangerous than Bush. No seriously, my dog would have been a better president for the past 8 years. Just by doing nothing (by not signing anything, by not covering up evidence of climate change, by not lying to the nation about invading Iraq, by not tarnishing our image at home and abroad), my dog would have been better than Bush.

    July 27, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  2. OBAMA Supporter all the way

    No, Tennesee...McCain is more dangerous because everyone overseas hate the US because of Bush and McCain is seen all over the world as more of Bush.

    They're excited about Obama because he is more honest, humble, smarter and wants to work with other countries instead of hitting them over the head with our reputation for having a big Ego and take over at all cost attitude. This is making the US more isolated and we could expect all of these other countries to eventually realize that if they all plotted together against us they could win; now that's dangerous.

    We need someone like Obama to take over as commander and chielf. He already has the respect!

    July 27, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  3. Kurt from Canada

    Do the Obama haters sit and wait to say negative things? I mean, the second comment here. The first comment elsewhere. If I was a conspiracy nut, I'd say this was a coordinated attack. Now, who ever could be responsible for that, I wonder?

    Obama, while not perfect, will go a long way to restoring the international respect some countries once had for the United States as evidenced by the reaction of ordinary people in the Middle East to Europe. It's also evident that he has some pretty strong support in the military, though McCain may well still have the edge there (but given his lack of support for the military men and women regarding education, who knows).

    July 27, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  4. Holden Litgo

    Nobody is more dangerous than Bush, sorry. And the horrible irony is that those people who claim this will let Bush slide with "heck of a job, Brownie" and condemn an honest appraisal of success by Obama. These insane do-the-same-thing-over-and-over-expecting-a-different-result status quo seekers are the real threat to peace and prosperity.

    July 27, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  5. Elaine

    The only one more dangerous than Bush is John McCain. Anyone that would vote for John McCain and be happy that he was elected will deserve exactly what they get – Bush x 2. The problem is the rest of us don't want and don't serve Bush x 2. Obama is clearly a breath of fresh air, he's not bought lock, stock, and barrell by the machine. He's honest, decent, fair and above everything else willing to listen to all sides and then make a decision based on all the evidence. McCain just want to "win". Win what? We went into Iraq under false pretenses and now we have to stay there and clean up our mess. McCain says he can find Osama Ben Laden – well if so, why doesn't he get it done instead of saying he won't reveal how so they can pre-empt his plan. This, it seems to me, to border on treason. If he has a plan to capture Osama Ben Laden then why isn't he sharing it NOW with the president, the miliatary etc. instead of waiting until he might become president. What if he looses??? Now that's dangerous.

    July 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  6. Remy

    Bush proved that he is a dangerous man and refused to talk with leaders with any issues. He prefered to bomb and kill thousands of people for NO REASON. Obama is not going to kill any one by talking to solve the problems! His foreign visits created more chill in the Republican Camp which normally do not speak peace of the world!

    July 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. TO: No Need to Defend - Trip was EXCELLENT!

    I commend and agree with Senator Obama for an overseas trip that was done in an EXCELLENT FASHION!!! No need to be modest about the results of this fantastic middle east and european trip, you performed superbly. Which, brings me to the reason why so many of McCain's folks, as well as McCain himself are upset, to the point McCain looks ridiculous in his search for any minute thing he could find to try to deem the trip a failure, or make it appear Senator Obama made a misstep. Uh, Good luck with that, McCain.

    For McCain to create an ad to say on national t.v., that Senator Obama canceled a trip to visit the wounded troops in Germany, when he knows full well that he and Dubya were behind the call received from the Pentagon (in which the Pentagon raised questions about the visit to the wounded troops in Germany, especially after having given clearance 2 weeks prior to the trip, with NO mention of their concerns then), is an OBVIOUS and SHAMEFUL attempt to try to muddy the minds of the voters and an attempt to make it appear that Senator Obama somehow doesn't care about our troops.

    Senator Obama is a diplomat, a strategic thinker and very considerate of our troops. He did not want to do anything inappropriate regarding the Pentagon's "not exactly explicit, but overtly clear" concerns about his visit with the troops while on the campaign leg of the trip, or put our troops in the middle of a political back and forth, as McCain has done. To the point McCain is USING the troops as political leverage!!!

    No one can take away from Senator Obama and his campaign staff, how magnificently awesome his middle east-european trip turned out. As stated on an earlier blog, and I just want to say again, GO SOMEWHERE SURGENT McSURGE and sit your petty, small-minded, attack dog self DOWN! And, that 's an order!!! You CAN remember what an "order" is, can't you McSurge?

    July 27, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. CA

    This guy is quite a fan of himself. I suppose if ability to generate lovefests is what we really want in a president, then Obama is our guy!

    July 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. Edwin K C

    From Tennessee

    The is no other dangerous US President than GWB in history and i poudly thing that Obama will not break this dubious record. Please avoid fear mongering and tell us how a Preident Obama will indeed be dangerous from the World.

    Otherwise be ready for a more pro active adminisration. I mean administration ready to listen and make the world a safe place to be.

    Democrat united for Obama

    July 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  10. Voter

    What an arrogant, self serving CREEP!

    July 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  11. Obama08

    Tennessee – More dangerous than bush? Based on what? The fact that he doesn't bomb first, lie, ignore the constitution, considers the US's place in the world, torture innocent people and is a genuine person?

    Something tells me you are a jealous republican blogger instead of a real democrat!

    July 27, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. DJ CO

    Yes, Sen. Obama. You represented America very well. Can't wait for you to do President of the United States. No doubt you will do that very well, too!

    July 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  13. D- Nice

    This is guy is the real deal. Now that his trip is over, its time for him to step up and become our next President.

    July 27, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  14. M.S. Indiana

    We are fired up and ready to go Obama.
    We will burn down the republican party and expose the heretics...

    July 27, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. DJ CO

    I love having each and every one of my posts moderated. JUST LOVE IT!

    July 27, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. S. Boatman

    If You Listen Closely You Can Still Hear Mccain Whining!

    July 27, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. Rob indetroit

    Mccain wish he could draw a huge crowd, instead he critized Obama for doing what he dared him to do. Obama speaks to 200,000 people Mcbush speaks to 4 people inside a frozen food section of a super market.

    July 27, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  18. DAN

    Why is Mr. perfect against the McCain surge that is actually saving lives. But really cnn free concerts with free food in Germany has alot more to do with the big crowds than the Obama factor. Be honest what a scam you've become. History is watching you.

    July 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. Kevin

    It was ALL Political !! We are not stupid !

    July 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  20. Mike in Texas

    He did a outstanding job Obama All the way.

    July 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. Iowa Voter

    It was nice that he could go over seas but unable to find the time to come to flood stricken Iowa. Seems that he has taken the state for granted. Won't he be surprised come this fall when we have forgotten him.

    July 27, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. mississippi librarian

    So let me get this straight, we want a president who is indecisiveness, has no confidence and is unsure of himself? I think not, Barack is having a hell of a timed – he cant seem to win, if he is sure of himself then according to the media and other's he is cocky and arrogant, but I bet if he showed any signs of being less confident the media would have a field day with that too. And the republicans have got to be desparate because not they are trying to draw parallels between bush and Obama, they could no tbe more different. Most of this mess can be placed squarely at the feet of HRC, she did and said some things during ther 'campaign' that were mean spirited and those 'words' did indeed have a lasting effect, with her supporters, with the republicans, with the media and anyone else who was looking for negative fodder.

    July 27, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Sue in Fl

    Voter....I just don't get your statement. He did the same thing as Senator McCain and a lot of other presidental candidates. He did do it VERY Well!

    Americans for TRUTH

    July 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. yess

    I quite agree with you Mamadou Diawara. Senator Obama you did excellently well. It was good to know that when you are the president, the world will respect United States again. I know truly from my heart that you will be a good leader that will bring USA again to its glory and to the peace to the world.

    July 27, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Soeren Poulsen

    Why is it that CNN headlines an article "Obama defends overseas trip" when there is nothing to defend. It is refreshing to see an elected official running for President doing what he things is best, rather than what a run-a-mock news media wants him to do. CNN and AC with his groups of second guessers are constantly trying to create news rather than reporting news.

    I strongly believe the news organizations are now competing the millions of $ going to be spend during this campaign. With a motive of profits who could expect an honest media.

    My biggest concern is that some lunatic will kill Obama. Maybe some media ought to focus on his security.

    July 27, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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