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. NPA

    So after McCain secured the republican nomination, he went on a world tour and met with all the leaders that Obama met on his world tour. In addition, McCain went to Canada, Mexico, and Columbia. So what is McCain complaining about? Is the grumpy old man actually hating on Obama because Obama did a much better job than he?

    July 27, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    "The student whose identity was obscured, after admitting he stole a prayer note written by Barack Obama apologized on Israeli TV2 and said he returned the note to its place. He added that he hopes Obama wins the U.S. presidential election."

    Yes, we all hope he wins the presidency but we are also glad you returned the note to the Western Wall and CNN was despicable for posting it!

    CNN should be next to apologise to Barack Obama and for desecrating the the oath of Western Wall !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Griff

    You just don't seem to have got it Mr Obama... When all the Odds are againt you winning.. It means you will lose the Election..
    All you met in Europe were loser's like you. Gorden Brown will lose his Leadership, even thought the Same party will win again. The Tory leader you met will never be a Leader of a Country. And France are just Anti Bush. Their Leader is also a Loser.. All you did was Waste Peoples time and Money...

    July 27, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. bk

    They like Obama because he is weak and inexperienced. Good for them and bad for the US.

    July 27, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. the prophete

    This Man has proven he is a leader.
    To see those Germans waving the AMERICAN flag was wonderfull.

    God Bless AMERICA

    July 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. lady in michigan

    I saw the interview. To quote "I admit we did it really well" without citing the context is supremely odd. How is any reader going to gauge that statement without knowing what surrounded it? Just to fill y'all in: Obama rejected criticism of his trip as grandiose or presumptuous by pointing out that McCain had met with all those people he had met and had given speeches abroad during the pre-election season, that, in other words, Obama was criticized for doing the same things McCain had been doing, when nobody had criticized McCain for them. It is in that context that Obama said, laughing, "I admit we did it really well." I.e. much better than McCain. Which is, I submit, beyond dispute.

    July 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. MikeH

    The Republicans have had 10+ years to saturate media, polling organizations and voting equipment manufacturers with their secret, and not-so-secret operatives (e.g. Diebold, Wall Street Journal,). Polls at this point are being corrupted by these operative in every way untraceable to suppress or distort presentation of opinion contrary to their intent.

    Obama has a mostly terrific international tour (I think the Berlin speech was too much of a circus), while McCain stumbles repeatedly, is caught lying about the surge, and has his essay rejected by a newspaper that endorses his candidacy. Yet the polls show nothing.

    Ignore Opinion Polls for now, and MAKE SURE voting machines are not set up to delete valid Democratic votes and manufacture false Republican votes, as happened in Florida in 2000.

    July 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. S. Boatman

    Mccain Whined The Whole Time You Were Gone! He Barked, Cried, Whined, And Threw A Tantrum! He Is Not Presidential At All!

    July 27, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Maggie

    wow. he went abroad and met some people... now's he's uber qualified with his foreign policy... This trip does nothing for foreign policy other than continue to demonstrate that even though he does give nice speeches, the substance lacks. I wish he would spend some time in America, talking of substance. Perhaps some of those town hall debates that were once promised.
    I feel like this election is all about who's cooler– cooler, like in highschool terms, not in Commander in Chief terms.

    July 27, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  10. obama is unfit to be president of this country

    I think it's very telling that England,France and Germany would NEVER elect this black man or any other black to lead their country.NEVER!! They know better. obama is such a joke. Too bad the DNC chose you over Hillary Clinton. I will not vote for you and I will not allow the media to ram you down my throat.

    July 27, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  11. kim hussein smith

    our messed-up economy, our failed invasion of iraq, our dependence on foreign countries for oil AND money, etc. ARE world issues! how anyone can see obama's visit as negative is ridiculous; we live in a global economy. and lets' face it, the repugs have done A LOT of damage to the economy-among other things-SOMEONE has to start repairing our reputation and credibility, and that sure aint gonna be grampa mccain! do you really think 200k people would show up to see mccain? of ocurse not! not to mention that anyone who DID show up would be there protesting the unted states!

    THANKS TO BARACK OBAMA the united states flag was WAVING in the crowd, as opposed to being BURNED like it is b/c of the neoCONs and their expensive, FAILED policies!

    July 27, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. tigerakabj

    Welcome back Barack. You are so right. We need to be effective partners to solve global issues like climate change, terrorism, genocide, etc. We can't do that if we are isolated and hated around the world.

    B/c we are such an influential country, what happens here (bad economy, high gas prices, etc.) happens to a certain extent around the world.

    Keep up the good work Barack. Can't wait to hear who you've selected for the VP. God Bless.

    Obama/Sebelius 2008.

    July 27, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Steven

    Great Job Obama, The 200,000 in Berlin showed up because they wanted to. No Apology needed.
    The Haters Are So Jealous.

    July 27, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. An Independent Voter

    Oh yeah. baby. How can you argue with 200,000 people waving Amreican Flags? What is the problem with that? The trip could not have gone any better.

    July 27, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. RyanD.

    Yup, they did great!

    McCain went to the warzones and made gaffe after gaffe...gave Canadian speeches and visited Columbia and Mexico and then had the nerve to attack Obama for doing the same things, albeit much better.

    Gallup has Obama up 49-40, highest ever. The american people are smarter than McCain thinks.

    Obama 08'

    July 27, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Lynn in NM

    Oh, it went well. Too bad you wouldn't see the troops, in the hospital at Landstuhl, without the cameras. Guess you're just like Bill Clinton – only use the troops for photo ops. Anyone remember Bill marching the troops across the White House lawn?

    July 27, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. randy

    BARACK THE VOTE AMERICA COME NOVEMBER 4.and plz tell your friends

    July 27, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. NBC

    Bush Sr. said it best....they're jealous

    July 27, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. bk

    More arrogance! I can't stand Obama.

    July 27, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. Brenda

    Well say Senator..

    July 27, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. insanity

    haha.. great response Sen. Obama. McSame was doing the same thing before and now he has the Audacity to complain about Obama's trip.

    July 27, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. Ken, LA California

    This guy is so presidential its not funny, No MacCsenile, No MacCwar, No MacCsurge, No MacCbush, No MacCOilCompanies, No MacClobbyst the list continues with every Gaffe.

    July 27, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Diane

    i think Obama's trip abroad went very well. what I am really getting tired of is McCain at every turn comes back with some kind of snide remark about Obama and everything he say or does. McCain talks DOWN it seems to everyone, especially the American people AND Obama. It is really becoming distastful and SILLY. McCain is just a cranky old man, and how he could ever be elected is beyond me. He acts as if he knows everything and he is tthe only one who is right. WHAT IS OUR AMERICA COMING TO=–GOD FORBID IS HE GETS ELECTED.

    July 27, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. 100 Days!!!

    Good TRIP Senator !!!!

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  25. Julie from Minnesota

    He is right! He did do it very well!! McCain and others are just jealous.

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
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