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. Gordon, Houston, TX

    I feel that the overseas trip was quite successful. I am proud that, in spite of constant vicious attacks from McCain and the GOP, Obama can still remain calm, cool and very presidential. Well done, Obama.

    Tennessee and Voter,
    Why do you just spout nonsense with nothing whatsoever to back up your statements. I love the anti-Obama people always whining that Obama supporters are so hateful and nasty. Voter, I think this comment of yours: "What an arrogant, self serving CREEP!" is pretty hateful. Little tantrums like that get extremely tiresome. Can't you, instead, say something positive, maybe for you candidate? Wait, that's right, your candidate is McCain so carry on with the hateful name-calling.

    July 27, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  2. ob08

    Tennessee – stop coming on this board and claimed that you are a Democrat. President Obama will prevail.

    Voter and CA – you are just jealous. Change is coming and get use to President Obama.

    July 27, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. Sue

    Be sure to tell us in one of your long-winded speeches sometime, just what it was you did in your overseas trip except make yourself look like you wanted to be president of the world and not just the US.

    July 27, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |

    Mr. President you were excellent.

    July 27, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. maria

    print, print print

    July 27, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Interracial Voter

    Welcome Home Mr. President Obama... You were missed but you represented the U.S. well. It is amazing to see the pictures from your trip. To see other countries waving the American flag.... Mission Accomplished!

    Obama 2008 and 2012

    July 27, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Univers09

    Let me explain this to you all !

    This is a new world! a new ERA ! With new challenges ! With more educated people than before ! therefore We need a NEW FACE, an international face. we need a new dialogue. We need a leader that the world could follow and respect. This is the youth era and with need a young leadership to govern it not he same people over and over. It's not about taking turn, it's about the right person at the right time in the right era. Obama is the right person for this era. America is so conservative but always criticize other for being to conservative. This a double standard. Be open to new ways of governing. Obama 08

    July 27, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  8. jw


    July 27, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Terry

    How could electing Obama be any worse than the last 16 years with Clinton and Bush? I just can't see it, my support goes to Obama.

    July 27, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Allan

    When McCAIN flew 37 combat mission obama was sitting around smoking pot and crack and criticizing his country.No obama. Wake up America.

    July 27, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  11. middle child

    Obama did do really well. Unless you are completely blinded by the fog of Republicanism, you have to admit this guy is impressive. Sure he is young and lacks experience but his instincts are excellent and his intelligence and comportment top notch. I'd be proud to call him Mr President.

    July 27, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |

    Elaine you are so right.

    McCain says he can end the war.
    McCain says he can find Bin Laden.
    McCain says he knows how to win wars.
    Mccain says we are winning but can't say when we can leave.
    McCain says you are winning when the Teleban is out of Pakistan
    MCain is a WARMONGER.

    Well, McCain what are you waiting on. He really need to be tested for Alheimerz. He stammers and repeats just about everything. This his mental condition it would be horrible to put him in charge of the country. I would rather vote for George Bush, again.

    July 27, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Kim

    "He is more dangerous than Bush!"
    "What an arrogant, self serving CREEP!"
    "Imagine that the prayer was all about him!"
    "He thought he was the messiah!!"

    This all sounds to be from the same blogger calling themselves "Lisa". These are some of the most idiotic comments they are posting on on every topic. And it's easy to see they arent really arent very informed.

    A fool does better to keep his/her mouth shut if they really don't have anything of substance to say. Just a friendly piece of advice.

    July 27, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  14. lila

    All the world's a surge.

    John McCain: All surge, All the time.

    July 27, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  15. Vig

    Read today, Sunday's, article in the SF Chronicle in the INSIGHT section by Debra Saunders. She unmasks the Obamaspeak.

    July 27, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. Bulldog

    McCain is a fool. How can anyone factually say that a strategy would not work. Obama had a strategy in place of the "surge" and McCain seems to believe he's a physic who can see that any other strategy wouldn't have worked. The surge happened over 1.5 years ago. It was supposed to originally be for 6 months, then a year, and now this. Has it stopped violence in Iraq. Yes, at the same time the violence in Afganistan has increased substantially. Basically the surge just pushed the insurgents out of Iraq and into Afghanistan. So McCain's surge helped Iraq while at the same time hurt Afghanistan. Why is the media not reporting any of the statistics of the violence going up in Afghanistan just as the surge in Iraq has quelled the violence there? Look at the facts. McCain is a moron.

    July 27, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. Independant Thinker

    Obama did really well critisizing the President and the American people.

    Why doesn't the media tell the truth and state that there was a concert before Obama spoke. The people weren't there for Obama, they were there for the concert, like in Portland.

    July 27, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Obvious

    How dare he say the trip went well! This only proves his self-indulgence, he should say that the trip was terrible!

    This seems to be the logic of some people on this board, the world is together in unprecedented support of Obama – time for us to do the same, WE CANNOT AFFORD A THIRD BUSH TERM!

    July 27, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  19. vicki

    Yes Barack. You did brilliant and successful overseas trip. WE are proud of you.

    July 27, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. Mr C

    United states have never had a president like GWB. And I doubt if there will be any like him.

    July 27, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. JCIL

    Gag me! This guy is so full of it. I cant stand him.

    July 27, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. CT voter

    Tennessee aka Limbaugh, you can cut the crap now, I think Hannity is on tv omg go turn it on!

    July 27, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  23. J Epuren

    Bye Bye CNN... pick out the only part of the quote that might place Obama in a bad light and use that, but don't place it in context of the entire quote...
    I used to bounce back and forth, but i guess i'm just an MSNBC girl now...

    July 27, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Ilona Hussein Proud Canadian


    It takes one to know one!

    Tennessee, CA, and Voter

    Are you folks triplets?


    July 27, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. S. Boatman

    I Can Still Hear Mccain Whining!

    July 27, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
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