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. Belle

    Tooooo funny, Obama is very slick....speaking to 200,000 people is more like a President venue vs. a candidate venue. McCain did meet with the same leaders...the difference...he went as a senator. Behaved like a senator vs. behaving like he is already President.

    July 27, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. Belle

    Congrats Obama! Your book is THE NUMBER ONE BEST SELLER!

    July 27, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. William, from Cali!

    I will reserve "my thoughts", til after 1/20/2009. When "Realtime" starts, for the "actual real Presidential winner"; of this season of "political flip-flopping, on the real issues".......................................... in combination, with a touch of European and Middle Eastern pandering in a "Side show -Soap opera" atomsphere for Media attention", and whether they are handling things "really well or not".............

    July 27, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. David, Mississipi

    Senator Obama, what are the CONDITIONS under which you believe the US should withdraw from Iraq?

    you should give a little more credit to the people.

    we can take it as long as you're honest and straight with us.

    NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the intelligence and courage of the people,

    including the iraqi people.

    it's more than clear to both peoples, american and iraqi, that

    the gap between what the neo-cons want and what overwhelming majority of both peoples want

    is insurmountable and irreconcilable.

    stand with the people if you have courage and integrity.

    July 27, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. TheTruthHurts

    Sour grapes or so apparent from their stench.

    He visited troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, but didn't visit some in Germany and that is a crime sufficient to disqualify him is president? He must be a traitor? Maybe he's a closet Muslim? What a joke.

    He doesn't care about Amwricans because he went on a trip to the middle east (where we're at war with American troops) and then visit our allies who are necessary to that war? Hilarious

    He is getting ahead of himself because a he gave a speech to the world (it wasn't just for Germans) urging them toward a partnership with America on the big issues our generation? How could he? Traitor.

    July 27, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Jim in Calif.

    Obama's trip abroad was a clear win for him and American voters. He demonstrated his firm grasp of foreign policy issues and his ability to build relationships with key foreign leaders.

    I've followed Obama's campaign for months, and am increasingly impressed by his intelligence, poise and leadership skills.

    Do others agree that Obama is well on the way to becoming Time magazine's "Person of the Year"?

    July 27, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Venus

    You did a great job Obama!

    Thank you and welcome home... we miss ya!

    July 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. High School Students for Obama

    Why is McBush criticizing Obama's trip – did McCain not take a trip out of the country – how is what he did and what Obama did different. McBush needs to stop being a hypocrite and start focusing on the issues – something he likes to say alot, because he is already going to loose so why does he want to keep pushing himself farther down in the polls. Oh" Well – let him – More attention for Obama.

    Obama/Clinton '08 !!!!!

    July 27, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Mike, Surrey BC

    Senator Obama, has done exactly as John McCain has said he should do because of his alleged lack of experience. For a man who is supposed to be naive and inexperienced I would like to see the turnouts if he if John McCain deemed that Obama did have the experience. John would have to pack up and retire to flipping hamburgers at his Arizona ranch. He would not stand a chance, almost like doesn't now.

    July 27, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. pat C.

    i watched the interview and i am so proud to vote for this man. he is willing and able to put our country back in the spotlight as being a strong nation with strong and effective leadership on foriegn affairs as well as having such knowledge and understanding of our needs here in america without him not once putting McCain down. he is so presidential in his words and actions. i am honered to call him OUR PRESIDENT!
    john McCain could never fill Obama's shoes and show this much power in a speech or explain what his plan is to make us a powerful nation for all the world to respect.

    July 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Mark Ramsey MD Milwaukee WI

    It is "audacious" that John McCain challenged Barack Obama to visit Iraq and then criticized him for not spending more time at home. Make up your mind you senile old coot! By the way Hillary has alot of experience meeting foreign dignitaries and traveling abroad, so that may be helpful to you. 1/2 of the democratic primary voters chose her, so I really think you should choose her as your running mate.

    July 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Denise

    Yes, we know he thinks very highly of himself. Not news.

    July 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. MakeLoveNotWar

    Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined Dr. King's dream come to fruition. Obama is on the right track to making America whole again.

    Obama 08

    July 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Michael Ogu

    Sure Obama Did it really well,fantastic!

    July 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Josh, Portland

    Here CNN goes again-The Ticker has a bunch of positive stories on Obama and only negative ones on McCain-just like it does every day.

    Luckily there's a public backlash taking place against this ridiculous and unfair bias, and it's showing up in the polls.

    Keep it up CNN (and MSNBC)-you'll put McCain in the White House yet.

    July 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. angelina

    I sincerely feel that Obama has shown his ability to work with other nations and their leaders and all the talk of his lack of experience is finished. McCain is the one who kept pushing Obama to make the trip and now, he, McCain, is probably so sorry because he never, in his wildest dreams, expected Obama to have the unbelieveable success as he did. With the remaining months, Obama needs to continue to share his views on the Economy for America and his resolve to take us with him on his new direction. I'm ready. I've been ready before this election started. The sooner Obama takes over, the better off this entire nation that I love, will be.

    July 27, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. Clint, WA

    Sayin' it doesn't make is so.

    July 27, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  18. Dave Willington

    American are not intelligent enough to be lead the world. Sure, many Americans are intelligent, but the vast majority are not. I never knew this until now.

    Simply put, it would be nice if Bush could run for a third term. But since thisis not possible, I hope John McCain wins the election ... he is what America deserves. Obama is just too good to lead idiots

    July 27, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. David

    People I know don't believe that Germany, France or for that matter any other coutry has any thing to influence US presidency or policy.
    They are wrong. Germany and France did influence US policy and IInd world is a reminder how effective US Governments handle the
    situation. World does not need to be reminded of it. When a would be candidate of Democratic party goes with his tail between his leg to bolster standing in US and abroad to Germany and France and is elated by clapping and cheering, it has got to be sad day for US and Democratic party. Every body cheers a clown. Obama should face US public and show what he is made of because he will be elected not by Germans in Germany or French in France. Trip had no substance and neither has Obama

    July 27, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Susan

    You mad us proud, Senator, no matter what the Republicans and the bed partners the MSM try to say! For the first time in a really long time, I was proud of my country!

    July 27, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. joe

    Senator Obama is a paragon. Just what America and the world needs.

    July 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. Rao, Clarendon Hills, IL

    It's now a fact that he was able to visit both ISRAEL AND PALESTINE on the same trip and still not make any major gaffe. That's no mean feat! McBush conveniently sidestepped Palestine on his trip. The best part is that even with all the media in tow and everyone watching his every move, there wasn't a single slip-up. What a perfectly choreographed trip.

    All McCain can keep harping about is Obama canceling a visit with the troops. Beyond Jordan, it was a political trip, not anymore a fact finding mission. And it would have been inappropriate to make the wounded troops mere props for some photo ops. Ah well, they'll spin anything against him.

    July 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Dr. J

    Way to go Obama. I like that answer.

    July 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Kpawlak

    He has to admit he did really well. This is all part of the image. It's the bow on the nicely wrapped package.

    Oh by the way when is CNN and the other media outlets going to report on John Edwards little affair? Hmmmm if this was a Republican I am sure we all would have heard about this by now.

    July 27, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. john

    Obama is so FULL OF HIMSELF – – SO ARROGANT that he will not get my vote

    July 27, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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