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. Raymond Duke

    I know this will be deleted because anything critical of Obama on your articles always are. It did go well for him in them countrys . His socialist views and butt kissing to these countrys fit in with their agenda. As a twenty year veteran he can't fool me on how the european countrys feel toward america or the american people. The french especially hate america. Their importance and language that use to be world wide is becoming extinct. As far as the american citizens who are not liberal in this country and hate america it didn't score any points with us when he said "PEOPLE OF THE WORLD , IT IS NOW OUR TIME" I want an american president . I don't want to be a socialist and I do not want a monarch. That is the reason our fore fathers fought the revolutionary war. They did it to make us indepedent from them . It just confirmed my vote for McCain even though I dislike him. I am an indepedent and would have voted for Clinton but I will not vote for that arrogant man who sees us as a world first and america second.

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  2. Garth

    I'd like to note that Senator Obama's approach is positive and forward thinking, while Senator McCain has a negative approach and is more focused on what Senator Obama is doing wrong rather than on what he can do well.

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. Stating the Obvious

    What? Obama thinks highly of himself?
    I will alert the media.

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. oneil mcneil

    can someone tell me,is race a problem for voting for the right person?

    July 27, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Proud American

    At this point in the game only an idiot would vote for McCain. Nuff said.

    July 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Janey/Michigan

    I just don't understand why a candidate is encouraged to go to foreign countries with the express purpose of putting down America simply to promote himself as a candidate. He said some things in those speeches and press conferences that seemed a little traitorous. I realize he is promoting socialism and wants the world to know it–it smacks of anti-Americanism and makes many of us angry. That French President is a coward and does not deserve this kind of promotion.

    July 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. randy

    Come together and unite to vote obama in november even all you haters.

    July 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. Edith Arkansas

    I think Presidential Candidate Barack Obama 's Trip was Spectacally, fruitful and beneficial to his Presidency showing that he does have the ability, the experience, the judgement and all that it will take to lead as as President. Most of all he has gained the trust of the Middle East and can work effectively with them in world peace. He is very visionary and knows how to make his way around. YES WE CAN, YES WE WILL OBAMA JAN.20 2009.

    July 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. LT for Obama

    Wow, CNN buckling under the pressure to go negative with this headline?

    That's right, he did it very well and I for one think there is nothing wrong with rubbing it in McCain's face since he spent the last week complaining about the coverage over a trip that he harped on Obama taking for months.

    I anticipate the arrogance comments from the haters. Go ahead, he will still have my vote.

    July 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. Adriana

    Barack, u did good.We still love you no matter what McCain says,hes out of touch.Establishing a good relationship with the rest of the world is good since the reason we lost the trust of the majority of the countries cause of Bush's lies.

    July 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Ron democrat turned independent

    Obama has affiliated himself with JF Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King, ect. incorperating many parts of their achivements his own campaign to try to show a resemblace to the great men in our history. What he fails to realize is that they were real people who accomplished their legacy by deeds not by using great men as means to advancement. I think sen. obama will soon realize that by not letting voters know him and ignoring his past they simply will not trust him

    July 27, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Bill From Florida

    What a pompus cocky person he is...He is never going to get elected.

    I wouldn't trust this man as far as I could throw him.

    AMERICA BEWARE.

    July 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. OBAMAMANIA

    well spoken by our next president... obama'08

    July 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Gary Chandler in Canada

    When will the surge be considered over? How many more surges will be required to achieve victory?

    July 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. David Goldman for OBAMA

    WE ARE PROUD ABOUT THE WHOLE TRIP & EVEN

    PROUDER THAT WE DIDN'T GET PICTURES BACK HOME

    OF YOU HOLDING HANDS WITH OTHER MALE LEADERS.

    BUT MCBUSH KEPT THE PRACTICE FOR THE REPUBLICANS

    ALIVE & WELL BY WALKING AROUND HOLDING HANDS

    WITH THE DALAI LAMA. WHAT'S THAT ABOUT?THEN THEY

    VOTE AGAINST GAY RIGHTS? I LOVED IT WHEN MADELEINE

    ALRIGHT REFUSED TO HAVE SOME LEADER KISS HER.

    SHE WASN'T SOME BEAUTY DEBUTANTE. HE WAS THE

    SECRETARY OF STATE OF AMERICA.

    July 27, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. shannon

    I have to admit he did do it really well!!! Obama has been completely presidential this week, while McCain did not. The overall success of the trip is quite stunning on many levels. He should be proud of what he accomplished.

    July 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Banko

    Be careful for what you ask for. John McCain slammed Obama for not going to Iraq & Afganistan and now McCain is whinning.

    July 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Perla

    Obama not only "did it well" but was STUNNING in his ability to communicate the promise of intelligent leadership. McGrumpy's people will feel they have little choice but to throw every stick and stone they can find or contrive at Obama, because they simply don't have anything else to work with. McGaffe is no match for Obama and they know it.

    July 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Sue

    Why does the media continue to treat this Presidential election as a game show?? John McCain made several trips abroad and no one questioned his motives. Why the double standard?

    Whatever happened to reporters actually reporting the TRUTH? All these so called reporters give us today are the talking points of the Right.

    Fed up

    Obama 08

    July 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Silvester Nyaberi

    I think the way he was received and the treatment has to do with the kind president the world needs.The world is tusty of a leader who is not only a us president but on who is also flexable. In democacy people have to be listened to . their idears might change but let us sit together as one and that way we will achive.

    July 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  21. Wang LI

    Go Obama !
    You are by far the best candidate and the world knows that.

    July 27, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. RJ, CA

    Sorry, Obama - you haven't been elected president yet - so cut the self-serving bull! At this point it matters diddly what anyone overseas thinks of you! It's the American voter you have to convince - and so far I don't see a huge bump in the polls for you. We know it was a nice dog-and-pony show, but that's already yesterday's news.

    July 27, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  23. Nicki from AK

    Barack Obama was accepted by the people and leaders of all the countries he visited at least ten times better than John McCain or President Bush were in their recent foreign visits. Our problems with the economy, global warming, immigration, and trade are not just local – they are international. Obama appears to get along with and work well with other nations. That will be very necessary when working to find solutions to the United States' problems, which often have international connections and consequences.

    July 27, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Fed up with the lies

    I think Sen. Obama came off as very Presidential during his trip. He was warmly received by numerous heads of state, and let Europe and the middle East know there will be changes; and soon.

    July 27, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. Alexis

    Yes you did do it very well and I couldn't be more proud!! Congrats Job well done im sure your haters will call you arrogant and every other name in the book but that's okay it comes with the terriorty just brush your shoulders off and keep it moving and keep PRAYING!!!

    Yes he did and YES we CAN!!!!

    July 27, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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