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 in caroline va

    i sence a lot of racism in EVERY anti-obama comment sent in to these blogs. its a shame.

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

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    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 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Native American

    Seems like he has taken lessons on how to speak with folk tongue. He would have been great back during the "Trail of Tears". Lets get real and wake up America. You will not have anyone to blame but yourselfs if this candidate that was selected by Dean and the DNC is elected.

    July 27, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  4. James TX

    You did pretty well Obama...none of that shia-suni we got from mccain. Good job

    July 27, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. yess

    You blogger "Tennesse", you must be a jealous blogger. You comment is does not make sense.

    July 27, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  6. Patty, Big Bear, CA

    I agree.....they really did it well.....I'm sure republicans are as annoyed by this as democrats are thrilled.....for McCain to now be critizing the trip after HE is the one who first challenged Obama to make it is interesting.

    For McCain to be critizing Obama for canceling a part of the trip he was encouraged to cancel because supposedly the Pentagon was concerned screams of "set up"....it is so easy to see through the McCain/Republican tactic...granted, it has worked in the past but now it is so pathetic as to almost illicit sympathy....is that because the American people recognize it now or is it because McCain is just really bad at this? Hmmm....I don't care which, I'm just glad it's going to insure an Obama win in November.

    July 27, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. jess

    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 peace to the world.

    July 27, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Memphis

    Mac is the one fumbling around knocking items off the shelves in the grocery store. You can find him in the aisle with all of the other cheese.

    July 27, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. Obama Democrat

    Voter – How is Obama arrogant? McCain visited all of these same countries and their leaders. Obama did the same, only that he appeared more presidential and more capable of being President of the United States than McCain did. It is called confidence, and not arrogance.

    July 27, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. READY999

    VOTER- What an arrogant, self serving CREEP! I guess you just describe yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. jess

    Tennessee, your comment does not make sense. How is Senator Obama dangerous than Bush? Your comment does not make sense. You must be a jealous blogger.

    July 27, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  12. ever

    for people who have not been around the world ,do not know the worlds view of america .To see the way obama was received was just incredible! but the fact remains that there are people out there who are full of hate sorry guys ! the best that could ever happen to america is here so get over it and hold on for the best president that is in waiting

    July 27, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. Debby, NJ


    July 27, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. yala

    Voter, you're really creepy. Do us a favour and stop making stupid comments.

    July 27, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. pc

    Thank God for Obama.

    July 27, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Shannon

    Tennessee, I couldn't agree more, he's even more arrogant than Bush, that is dangerous!

    July 27, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. NoMcSame

    Stop the hate. Hate is when you rather go down with McSame rather than go forth with Obama. You McSame people are very sick.

    July 27, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. raz

    Obama said there is 57 states in united states . Obama is worse then Dan Quale. media will never critisize obama, why????


    July 27, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. Rob indetroit

    No Voter you are a self servind creep who still lives at home with mommy and daddy. what are you like 44, what a loser.

    July 27, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. Jeff

    What's to defend? Obama was goaded into going and then showed the world how America might lead again. C'mon people!

    July 27, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. jack debrot, new york, new york

    when obama gave his speech in berlin, he said:

    "ich bin ein beginner."

    July 27, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. Krissy

    Obama did a fantastic job on his tour. It was so wonderful to have a representative of the United States that is truly elegant and articulate. McCain's similar tour didn't draw the attention because McCain is not a world leader like Obama. Obama's economic and energy plans are truly revolutionary, and I hope more people check them out. He will increase America's competitiveness in the world.

    Obama 08!

    July 27, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  23. Bill

    To Edwin K C (post #4) – Thanks for the incredible and well worded insight! You are truly a genius.

    McCain/Satan '08

    July 27, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. Michelle

    Sure, Fauxbama, you did it really well–snubbed the troops and worked out at the gym instead.

    "Well done," phony!

    Oh, and I bet most of the crowd in Berlin showed up for the

    July 27, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Tracy

    People want to harp on Obama for being overseas. At least he was thinking about the Amercan people while over there. He was trying to get our European allies to send more troops to Afghanistan ( where the real war is at) so that we can save the amount of troops sent and the money spent. During the UNITY , McCain is hosting his GOP allies at his Arizona cabin.

    Let's see, people still want to vote McCain but he thinks that we are in a Mental recession. He will drill oil to give us psychological effect. He is seen driving around in a golf cart with Bush at an exclusive club.

    People need to hold McCain to a higher standard as Obama and stop asking him softball questions.

    July 27, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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