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. Donkey Party

    Tennessee July 27th, 2008 5:37 pm ET

    He is more dangerous than Bush!

    Democrats Against Obama '08

    No such animal. All true Democrats are alligned with PRESIDENT OBAMA!

    July 27, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. California Gold

    Obama's trip abroad was a huge success. The current resident of the White House is a disgraceful bozo; the brunt of jokes around the world. He has brought shame to the United States of America. Barack Obama is the right choice for President.

    July 27, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. Obama Does It Better

    Republicans are realizing that the battle for the presidency will not be as easy as they thought back in May when right wingers were rooting for Obama to win. They thought he would be weak, ineffective and running for the hills. Obama is proving he can go the distance and John McCain is looking weak, ineffective and soon will be running for the hills. Obama has got what it takes...............I'm loving it. Peace.

    July 27, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. mccain08

    It's not that I don't like Obama as a person, but I disagree with what he represents. His socialist principles indirectly harm the very people that they try to help. This country was founded on the idea that government does not provide everything for the people, and the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves. Taxes and government spending discourage economic growth and limits the number of jobs available to low-income families. I don't agree with everything McCain says but he is the lesser of two evils.

    July 27, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Linda31

    Obama did fabulous!!! Voter and Tennessee, open your eyes and accept the truth.....hear comes President Obama!

    July 27, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  6. nate

    Voter you post angry hate to Obama on every single item here. Dont you have anyone to talk to in real life? (rhetorical question).

    July 27, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. US Soldier

    Well if you got it then you got it and Obama has it!!! I cannot see who can honestly say they want to vote for McCain.

    July 27, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Michele Hussein, Oregon

    Thank you Mamadou from Amsterdam. We think so too!


    July 27, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. RyanD.

    Look at the main page article, CNN is MAD that Obama is calling them out for their lack of journalistic integrity and they are spinning the interview in THEIR manner.

    Anyone who watched it saw Obama put Romesh Ratnesar and Suzanne Malveaux in their places for repeating tired GOP talking points.

    Nice try CNN, but you fail.

    Oh yeah, check Pollster...they see an enormous Obama landslide in fall.

    Obama 08'

    July 27, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. Clinton/McCain

    Actually, you didn't 'do it really well." You looked very arrogant and you made plenty of gaffes. I can't wait until November so I can vote AGAINST Obama.

    July 27, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  11. 4 McCain Now

    Of course, Obama, you do everything well and perfect (so you think)

    Arrogant Loser-
    57 states
    "Just Words" – words you can Xerox
    Mentor and Uncle Rev Wright (that alone is enough to not vote for you
    Racism speech (yeah, being half white and attending Harvard, hardly do you know what it's like to be treated badly

    GO AWAY PUPPET – the DNC and your thugs at the caucuses are a JOKE!!!

    July 27, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. McCain=the draft

    McCain can stay in his miserable little fishbowl with Bush, Rove and the rest of the scumbags.

    With Obama, I feel like there's light at the end of the very long dark tunnel we've been in. The whole world opens to us.

    July 27, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  13. Jason

    LMAO TENNESSESS, tell me something when we need more troops to support more future wars if McCain is elected where do u think McCain is going to ask for them, Europe ! U remember NATO, Their not helping us in Iraq because BUSH PISSED THEM ALL OFF! We need a president that can reach out to our NATO EUROPEAN ALLIES! GO OBAMA!!!!!

    July 27, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  14. Wise Owl

    I am a democrate, one of those "old ones", you know the old white ones that cling to guns and religion, and I will never vote for someone like Obama, he is dangerous, he is inexpereinced and has no clue how to lead a country and fix our problems. He is so self centered he could not take the time to visit our troops instead of playing basketball? Oh please, yep, sure, a president who is showing change, by not visiting those who we owe our freedom to?

    July 27, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  15. paul k.

    kinda funny..nice joke! but yah u completely agree!

    July 27, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  16. Sue Marie, MI

    This isn't the first or the last arrogant comment that will come from Obama. It is reminiscent of Bush proclaiming 'Mission Accomplished.' Sure hope this megalomaniac doesn't make it into office.


    A fed-up ex-democrat

    July 27, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |


    July 27, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. Val from MA

    Obama said, "I admit we did it really well.” Now that's what I mean arrogance without a question. It is up to the voters to decide if you did "really well" or not, Obama. You'll just have to wait and see what the polls will reveal. Personally for me, Obama's trip didn't make me change my mind abound Obama's inexperience at all.

    July 27, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. MurphyMorseJohnson

    Obama is correct to say the economy is tied in with international affairs. It's high time we have a proactive leader and negotiator as opposed to the knee jerkers who currently govern us. For the past eight years, Republicans Cheney, Bush, McCain and the like have not gone after the 9/11 Terrorists holed up in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rather, they have squandered American lives and trillions of dollars in Iraq. It is no wonder our economy has sufferred, the infra-structure decayed, and Middle East gasoline and oil prices rising to further send our economy into a tizzy. But, what do these Republicans care? They're filthy rich and unaffected by motgage foreclosures and 60,000 lost jobs each month. "Made in America" to them means nothing. Made elsewhere reaps hefty profits for these Republicans' corporate elite.

    July 27, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. US Citizen

    Yeah, Obama also made great time after skipping a visit with the wounded troops in Germany. Why? He doesn't want the trip to appear politically motivated. Wake up Obama! Everything you do from now on is political. I know they're beneath you, but the least you could have done was shown some respect to a group of soldiers who fought for our country. The cameras didn't need to be there. Maybe the visit wasn't important to you because you don't need their votes. You're going to pat yourself on the back for going on this trip, but the trip has only proven that all you're really good at is being an arrogant self-promoter.

    July 27, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  21. Natasha in tally

    There maybe Americans who dislike the images of Obama traveling to Europe and the Middle East being greeted warming but you can not deny the stark contrast between the American flag being burned and the American flag being waved in admiration. How is being able to work with countries anymore dangerous than a willingness to blow them up based on lies.

    July 27, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  22. Observer

    Senator Obama just proved to the world that he has the intelligence and judgement to be the next President of the United States. He has also shown that he can rebuild an alliance with countries that have been driven away from us for the past seven years. With their help, we can finally begin to deal with worldwide issues. What I see coming from the Republicans is the realization that this good man will win the election. Now they are scared, defensive, and going on the attack against Obama any way they can. Criticizing this trip is just one example.

    July 27, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |

    Why is CNN not giving us his full response,I watched thye interview live and Obama asked why no one questioned Macain about his visit overseas,soon after winning his party nomination .macain met with all these leaders and even more,counting Canada,Mexico and Columbia. Obama went on to say we did exactly tyhe same thing but i must admit we did it well!CNN YOU ARE SO IN THE TANK FOR MACAIN AND YOU HAVE NO SHAME.

    July 27, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. JG from WM.

    Man, Obama is wishy washy. He can't answer questions with a simple yes or no. His answers are crafted in a way to offend the fewest number of voters and stradle both sides of the issue at hand. No matter what he's asked, he will explain the possible ways he can answer a question before providing a non answer. I give him credit for being a great politician but no credit for having core beliefs. Maybe that's why he's so "popular" and at the same time is basically in a dead heat with a man with core convictions but little personality. At least McCain will answer yes or no without trying to nuance an issue to death.

    July 27, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  25. Keith F

    I think CNN needs to be a little more discriminating when it comes to which posts it lets through. A lot of these vague, irrational comments don't really add anything to the conversation, especially when the comments seem to lack proper grammar and spelling, only to ramble off with no clear point. It's frustrating to see comments like these let in while I'm sure there are many readers contributing posts that are much more thought out.

    As far as the situation with Obama's overseas trip is concerned, it's nice to see that at least someone understands the fact that we can't talk about America's problems without factoring in for the world's problems. I can't believe how many people would like to believe that we can fix our domestic security issues without considering where it is they come from in the world. Not to mention the fact that while some people would like to revert our nation to a state of isolationism similar to that of the early 1900s, the truth of the matter is that this is largely a fantasy, given today's state of affairs, and we can't talk about our economy without talking about the global economy. The list of important international issues we should be talking about goes on and on.

    July 27, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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