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. Jess48or9

    He did great – it can do nothing but help him.

    July 27, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. CW

    This blog is usually reserved for comments, however i have a question that i think needs answering, what exactly are these so-called "values" some people have that they say are not reflected in Mr. Obama's candidacy for President? I am not surprised at the obvious double standard being held toward Obama but i really would like an intelligent answer to this question (if one exists), my instincts tell me that he is deemed unqualified because he has african blood in his viens and it has nothing to do with "values" at all. Prove me wrong, PLEASE prove me wrong.

    July 27, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Chuck

    There he goes telling us how wonderful he is again....

    Last time a nation voted a man into power based on a book he wrote about himself, we got Hitler.

    Be careful what you ask for...

    July 27, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Kyle in San Diego

    The anti-Obama strategy is to knock everything he does well, as well as anything he does wrong. He shows his leadership ability by continuing to take the high road and set the agenda for this election.

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

    Idol Worship or American Idol on a World Stage.

    Wow – the audacity of Barrack Hussein Obama

    Please don't act humble at all and represent the American people

    July 27, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. KE

    We lost Barack Obama long time ago, when we heard him say “words? Just words?” line.

    What’s next Obama’s big Berlin speech? the free concert in the Invesco Field?

    July 27, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. dj

    obama will be president, no doubt, question, or mistake about it
    he will be the best president america has seen in 20 years

    God is good

    Obama 08

    July 27, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. Sherry, Atlanta

    And YES HE DID. The problem that Senator Obama faces, is that he's not suppose to be Intelligent. A high percentage of American's see that as a threat. That percentage of American's whom fear him...don't understand that President Obama, works for us ALL. Unlike Senator McCain.

    July 27, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Judy Cantu

    How refreshing to have an American politician who was well received in Europe and the Middle East. That is what we need to heal the world.
    Thank you Senator Obama.

    July 27, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. ex republican

    Now that Obama is back, he needs to stress the OIL SPILL that the media is covering up in order to help john mcCANE!! This is a winning issue for Obama as its mcCANE's only topic other than iraq that makes him look electable.

    July 27, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Mauri

    Yep, he sure established a relationship over there, especially with Mr. Cameron in Britain, who told him to "hit the beach."

    July 27, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Sabrina

    Great JOB Obama down here in GA we are proud of you!! Keep up the good work and don't let hateful people discourage you!!!

    July 27, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. Evan Caster

    Our country was very well represented by Barak Obama. I read European newspapers and I can only say that he made a great impression!
    He was welcome everywhere, unlike some other official visitors that only get demostrations and nasty reviews.
    We are finally going in the right direction.

    Eva

    July 27, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. aaaa

    obama is the men. no matter what MCWAR said Obama is a bright person.

    July 27, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Dave from MD

    Job Well Done Obama!

    McCain is just upset that no one showed up to hear him while he was in Europe, South America or Canada. He's old news with old tactics.

    July 27, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. smile :-)

    CNN just for the record: Sen. Obama was wearing a tan suit not the ugly color you are displaying on this picture.....Get It Right

    Presidential.....Sen. Obama

    Pathetic and forgetful............who do you think?....smiles like bush and forgot that he went to Colombia, Mexico and way before that to Canada.....very convinient to FORGET or shall we call it CRS (Can´t Remember S__t)

    July 27, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  17. Evan Caster

    Our country was very well represented by Barak Obama. I read European newspapers and I can only say that he made a great impression!
    He was welcome everywhere, unlike some other official visitors that only get demonstrations and nasty reviews.
    We are finally going in the right direction.

    Eva

    July 27, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  18. Jay Jay - Informed Voter

    The is no doubt we can trust this guy without of future. People might believe he does not have enough experience but he has a bigger thing to compensate for that and this is foresight and looking forward to the future. McCain definitely lacks this.

    Vote for Your Future

    Vote for Obama

    July 27, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. 100DaysLeft

    Yes, he did it very well.

    Get some rest tonight , Barack Obama because tomorrow, it's back to the Campaign Trail.

    Ah, the benefits of being young. We need a President that has the physical stamina to deal with all the problems in this day and age.

    Obama has proven that he is well capable of multi-tasking.

    July 27, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. Carol, Lansing MI

    Can McCain or any of his supporters please explain to me why they are criticizing Obama for making his trip when McCain has visited the same countries himself this year?

    Can someone please explain why he is criticizing Obama for not visiting the Vet hospital when McCain didn't either in March when he was in Europe. Obama was told by the Pentagon it would appear as political, so he chose not to put the troops in the middle.

    McCain chose not to go because he had a fundraiser hosted by a British Lord to get to.

    McCain, you are a hypocrite to the tenth degree.

    July 27, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Jay Jay - Informed Voter

    The is no doubt we can trust this guy with our future. People might believe he does not have enough experience but he has a bigger thing to compensate for that and this is foresight and looking forward to the future. McCain definitely lacks this.

    Vote for Your Future

    July 27, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. KE

    Poor German people now, those 200,000 people at the Obama speech looked like many Obama maniac but they were there for free beer and the free concert.

    July 27, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Delphine, Netherlands.EU

    Senator Obama did an outstanding job, abroad.The more he starts to act and walk like a (future) president, the more we see Mccain shrink.

    The only thing Mccain had to offer was sitting and complaining in a fake german restaurant, and go-out-and-play-golf with Bush sr.Now that's exactly the politics you can expect from Mccain, boredom, the same thing again, stupid mistakes and clueless politics.He has really no future.

    At the other hand, with all the media overexposure, Senator Obama managed very well to be himself, no matter what.His message is clear and he's not afraid to show he's only human too. That's what it's all about, people are fed up with things from the past and same mistakes over and over again.
    The only wall senator Obama needs to tear down asap is the wall of a lot of americans; the wall of hidden racism.That will be his toughest job the next few months...even we, dutch folks were told to 'go home' when we stayed as expats in the US for a few years!

    July 27, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  24. ex-Republican for Obama

    We need Obama now!

    July 27, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. kimberly

    You shore did, hell , you made my mamma proud!

    July 27, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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