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. Straight Talk for America

    Again, the right winged Republican Media machine and Murdoch (News Corp) distort Obama's record again. It was the pentagon on a last minute recommendation by the right wing republicans is why Obama didn't vist the troops. Murdoch, Fox, Wall St Journal, Washington Post and John McCain exposed again for their illusion and deception games.

    July 27, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Senator Obama needs to call out McCain on his countless lies!

    July 27, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. G. Penley

    Obama went on a world tour because he has no qualifications. Purely political BS, and quite transparent.

    July 27, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. Dan

    If Obama likes to make speeches in large crowds so much, he should become a preacher or a rock star. Nobody will criticize him for just talk and no action.

    July 27, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. gladis

    I feel sad that he did not visit the Netherland. Most people loves him.
    wish he become presedent.

    I wish him good luck.

    July 27, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. H.

    Why is CNN trying to hard to push the story about the PUMAs?

    They are a relatively small group with almost no influence whatsoever and the interview with their leader clearly shows that these people are goofy. Their arguments are silly and detached from reality and it's hard to imagine logical people being convinced by anything they have to say , but CNN covers them like they represent some sort of crucial swing voting bloc.

    I think it reflects a strong bias against Obama.

    and another thing...how come CNN factors FOX news polls in their poll of polls. Has not Fox completely revealed itself as a propoganda tool of the GOP? Would not then any coverage or reported polls from FOX clearly reflect that conservative bias? Is the Fox poll balanced by a poll from a more Liberal group? I think not. So what is CNN up to trying to make this race look closer than what it really is?

    It seems CNN is always covering negatives on Obama while ignoring negative stories about McCain's major foreign policy gaffes.

    ITS TRUE THAT OBAMA GETS MORE COVERAGE THAN MCCAIN, BUT MOST OF THAT COVERAGE IS NEGATIVE, and many times the negative stories are stretches things like "Obama still has problems with white voters" dumb memes like that which clearly serve only one purpose: to undermine Obama.

    So once again I ask.........what is CNN up to?

    July 27, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Olivier

    This was an amazing trip for future President Obama. It was revealing to see the international response. The entire world wants the USA to be respectable again !!!

    July 27, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Kay

    Of course Obama's overseas trip is a huge success and the Reublicans are green with envy and jealousy. Any honest observer would admit to that. Mccain's campaign will come up with all sorts of stupid reasons why this trip was bad for America!!!! Mccain is not in touch with reality. I do wish there were more Republicans like Chuck Hagel who put country before party!!!

    July 27, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Nick, Rochester, NY

    Yeah, real wel as Judy of the German media Bild reported...

    July 27, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. yousef Hamad

    I do not know how americans can vote for Sen McCain. there is no compairson.

    July 27, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. KE

    But first he needs to win American people.

    July 27, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. bibi

    Oh, yes, he did it very well. Europe is very impressed by him. It was another brilliant interview. Whenever Obama speaks, I drop everything to listen to him. He has the ability to inspire his audience. He looked so at ease with the European leaders. Most of them are about his age too. I went to see him in London. I only saw him from a distance. We could not get close enough to shake his hands. But it was worth travelling to london and experience the excitement. The world will become a better place with barack Obama as president. America is very lucky to have him.

    July 27, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. pam Eugene OR

    It was VERY well done and America is proud of you, with the exception of the McCain folks who are green with envy.
    They are so jealous they are chocking it. It is fun to watch.
    As poorly as Hillary's campaign was run McCain's is making hers look stellar. McCain needs to dump every thing he is doing and just start. They should get fired.
    This will be a shoe-in for Obama!

    July 27, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  14. Martha Hussein Baker for Barack

    Grandpa McCain should be careful what he wishes for in the future. He just had to needle Obama to travel abroad and look how it turned out! Congratulations to our future president for making Americans proud again. It sure was nice to see people waving our flag instead of burning it!

    OBAMA '08

    July 27, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. carol

    God bless you Obama. You sure will make it because you have been chosen by God to lead.

    July 27, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. lila

    The trip did go very well for Obama.
    McCain had a 'dukakis in a tank' moment behind the cheese back-drop and knocking over jars in the grocery isle. McCain looked feeble and lost. Obama looked like a leader. The rightwingers will shrill Ovbama is arrogant and presumptuous because they can't call him incompetent.

    July 27, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Katy

    Oh please Obama. Your trip was the most presumptuous of any presidential canddiate in history. Pretty pictures is all you accomplished. Cocky moments- like the speech in Berlin (what was that actually supposed to accomplish) and your sinking the three-point shot. What was the purpose of that except to show how cool you are. You are an insecure image monger. Your rpesidency will be all about media pr. Most importantly, you are truly naieve about what the foreign leaders think of you. Here's what they think: we'll be able to push this guy around easily. Yahoo!

    July 27, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. ogei

    with Obama as president of US, the world would respect & honor US' leadership again.

    July 27, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Peter

    Go Obama!

    July 27, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Hannah Stevens

    I agree, it was a phenomenal trip and even if Barack's opponents say otherwise, he did a wonderful job. I want him for my president. Not the old whining, sputtering, living in the past, war mongering McCain. Obama will take us into the 21st century. Granted it is coming 8 years too late, as the bush administration wanted to continue in the old ways with oil. But bush did one thing that was totally new to the US; pre-emptive war. Oh and torture. That was new as well.

    July 27, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  21. poppy

    Well done President Obama

    July 27, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. xddy4u

    First, do the man have energy? We don't need a "rest home"
    President at this time, we need someone like Obama, that's
    energetic and keen minded
    Obama been out of the country almost two weeks, and that's given McCain plenty of time to establish his domestic agenda. Have he done so?NO, He's been too busy trying to criticize every move Obama makes. McCain have NO domestic agenda. The people should see that by now. Obama is back, and domestic issues will be his agenda, watch McCain now will have so much to say. He's following Obama like a hungry dog following a bone. Everything Obama said he would do in Iraq, Bush have adopted them. Yet some say he have no experience. Some of his ideas were laughed at, saying this shows you how much experience he has. Yet, they are being discussed by the Pentagon as plauseable. Give the man a break. Welcome Home Obama. We truly missed you here.

    July 27, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Pat

    Maybe some voters who saw Obama's trip abroad Adacious were the same voters who found the rescue of home owners a Bailout of Reckless home owners! I can't understand how over 70% of voters perceived the question by CNN as a Reckless Bailout of Homeowners no more than I can understand how many voters perceive Obama's trip abroad as Adacious.

    I'm beginning to believe that voters just like to annoy CNN and other Media Networks by taking a stand o these issues that is directly opposite to how they truly feel. A bit bizarre to say the least.

    July 27, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  24. Rob indetroit

    World Leader's like and trust Obama, Mcsenile is too much like Bush.

    July 27, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  25. psittacines

    McCain would criticize a photo of Obama holding a tiny baby if he thought it would win him one more vote at the polls. How is Barack responsible for the fact that 200,000 Europeans wanted to come and hear him speak? McCain just got back from a tour of Mexico and Colombia, did he not? I guess it must be as elder Pres. Bush remarked "jealousy!" 🙂

    July 27, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
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