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. Vig

    I see Mr. Glad Hand is back defending himself. Dump Obama.

    July 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. GBoateng

    McOLD has given speech in Canada, Mexico, Columbia and has visited almost all the countiers Barack visited. The fact that his campaign was horrible at it doesn't mean Barack should apologize. OLD man can't catch up. Tough!!

    July 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. E. Scott

    I have to admit that CNN has ceased to be a news organization and has become an arm of the democratic party. The bias is unbelievable.

    July 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Steven

    McCain New Ad Is Wrong and Very Distorted,

    Senator Obama and I visited the combat support hospital in Baghdad to thank those nurses, those doctors, to see patients that were there, to bring a bit of greetings from home and profound thanks," he said. "That should be in the ad that Senator McCain is running.

    In Baghdad, Senator Obama made a point, at the end of a very exhausting day, to go in and see these magnificent young Americans and those doctors and nurses that give such tremendous care – without a lot of fanfare, just to say 'Thanks.'

    They went to Jalalabad to see the soldiers of the 173rd. They stopped in Basra to see our soldiers down there. They went into Anbar province to see soldiers there.

    July 27, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Nick, Rochester, NY

    You bet it went wel, especially the work out in the gym as Bild reporter Judy described...

    July 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. Change

    Obama did every thing well and he was treated as president...
    The media, particularly CNN, tried to down play this to keep the race competitive... I believe it will be a landslide for Obama.
    In the last 2 weeks, watching CNN, was very similar to watching Fox news.

    July 27, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. IGM

    yes he did =) he will be one of the greatest presidents also

    July 27, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. eam

    he is like the devil trying to influence everybody, then he says this was not part of the campaign, here is a qoute from one of his advisers: "comfortable with the decision (to not visit troops)because he did not want to make the troops part of a campaign event." hows that for a liar. i'll give the OBAMA NAZI YOUTH three seconds to justify it as great wisdom from thier messiah. SHEEP ALL JUST SHEEP BEING LEAD TO SLAUGHTER.

    July 27, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  9. Enlightened Voter

    You did it brilliantly Obama! If you manage this country like you've managed your campaign we will be great again. the repuglicans and mccain are just insanely jealous – he visited the exact places you did and more the only difference is the world did not welcome him as they did you.

    July 27, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. I saw it with my own eyes...

    How is it that people actually think that Obama refused to meet with American troops while overseas? Did they not see him standing in front of all those men and women in fatigues? Did they not see him make the three-point shot while all the TROOPS applauded??

    It's interesting how one story about Obama not wanting to politicize a visit with WOUNDED soldiers in Germany turned into a refusal to spend time with all troops. The blogosphere is littered with words like "snub" and "overlook" and "ignored."

    Come on people, open your eyes! Take a look at a television set once in a while. And stop perpetuating such obvious and flagrant lies!

    July 27, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Winston

    You did a good job Barack. I'm proud of you. All made all Americans proud.

    July 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. Mila

    So eager to PROMOTE HIMSELF like such a SCHMUCK!!! SO ARROGANT!!!! Running around like he's already president. This is the same type of behavior that George 'W' Bush had prior to becoming president and the arrogance grew worse over his presidency.


    We've already had our fill of arrogance from a president that just does whatever the heck he wants. We don't need that again!!!

    Mccain is the better choice, the ONLY choice.

    July 27, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Ridgeway

    Keep telling yourself how great you are Hussein. You've got the ears to listen. If you can convince yourself you've done something to warrant being President let us know. I can't get your supporters to innumerate anything so perhaps you can. Eh??

    July 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Willy

    I want to thank all the big media outlets who made this huge free campaign advertisement for me and for tucking me into bed each and every night . You know it’s not about politics, it’s about change. Yeah right.

    July 27, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. John in Iowa

    These are Obama’s friends:

    William Ayers (Anti-American Radical)

    Larry Sinclair (Homosexual Drug Addict)

    Jeremiah Wright (White-Hating “Reverend”)

    Tony Reszco (Chicago Slum Land-Lord)

    Louis Farrakhan (Muslim Fanatic)

    What else needs to be said?

    Anybody but Obama ’08!

    July 27, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Marj,Paso Robles, Cal

    The Messiah has spoken.

    July 27, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. gp

    Hei CNN seems to be you will need to work very hard in order to acheive equality between effect Obama does on the world and Mc ame does from grosery store speaking about surge....poor poor man he even is not aware what disservice media do to him when thay cover him....we might think better of him remembering him from past than seeing hin now.

    July 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Tayo, New York

    I wonder why John McCain always like to contradict himself.

    Initially he blamed Obama for not going Iraq, Afganistan and other places to see things for himself.

    When Obama finally took a trip abroad, albet with a stride, McCain blame him for being better at his terrain.

    Above all, John McCain need to wake up to the reality on ground. Barak Obama is better in all ramifications (except in age, of-course.)

    I my opinion this trip re-enforced my belief, and that of most Americans that Obama is up to the task and will make a better Commander in-chief

    July 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. conspiracy theorist

    you have done most everything well.i've never seen such an honorable campaign,by such an honest man since mccain was defeated by lincoln.

    July 27, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  20. Dave in Illinois

    Obama's arrogance and naivety is amazing. He has a brief meeting with the leaders of various countries and can state that he's "established relationships and a certain bond of trust " with each of them. That sounds equivalent to saying he was able to take every blind date he had to bed on their first night out.

    Maybe as chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on European Affairs he could have visited Europe previously and been on his second date by now.

    July 27, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Basil

    I wish Canadian politics was only this exciting....I would vote Obama if I could!!


    July 27, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  22. Sally

    Really well??? He hit it out of the park!

    July 27, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  23. Songbird McCain

    “Now, I admit we did it really well,” he added to laughter from the audience, “but that shouldn't be a strike against me.”

    John McCain take note: THIS is how a joke should go over, with honest laughter from your audience, not the uncomfortable silence and awkward thuds your jokes are know for.

    July 27, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. sacto joe

    Yes, you did indeed do it really well. And, except for the McCain supporters who never will say anything positive, everyone else now sees that you are more than capable of representing this country's interests around the world.

    Bottom line, electing you would be a big plus for the country compared to electing McCain.

    July 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. John

    If this were 2000 I'd vote for McCain in a heartbeat over Gore, but McCain's changed way too much for me. I haven't heard him say anything about his presidential policies in the last week – just attacking Obama for everything. I'm waiting for him to say something along the lines of "Obama thinks he's better than the average American because he's more than six feet tall" or something. I'd say McCain needs to grow up, but his age already seems to be a problem with getting himseld elected.

    July 27, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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