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. ThePhoenix

    Modesty and humility are not among his qualities.

    July 27, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Chris From California

    What is this guy doing using campaign money that people contributed for the purposes of campaigning to take a trip overseas? That was not campaigning. The people he met with cannot vote in our election. I think he needs to send his campaign donations back to the contributors. I purchased some things from his "Obama Store" on his website. I'd like my money back! He does not even seem to care about our own country any more!

    July 27, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. Marjon

    Sen. Obama pls. take a good rest! We miss you already here in europe!

    July 27, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Godson

    I admit, McCain felt left out, but the rest of us Americans were there with you, You were wonderful, I loved the way you towered over all the Head of States, America always stand tall, and now we must stand tall for what is right...................morally.
    Obama... USA

    July 27, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Jennifer from Atlanta

    What a hard working guy. He doesnt take a break! This is the type of person we need in the WH. Not some senile, ancient whiner.

    July 27, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  6. amabobama

    Bloggers here and abroad continue to scoff at Obama's supposed gaffe weeks ago when he referred to the "57 state primaries." Of course, Obama meant the 57 primary CONTESTS. Besides the 50 states, seven other places had primary votes. They include American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, one (?) of the Virgin Islands, and Washington
    D.C. Where were the other two primaries–in Europe, and somewhere else for Americans abroad?

    July 27, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Marty

    Good job Mr. President!

    July 27, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. arlene, CA

    What a huge success!! You did it very very well. & welcome home Obama. Obama for Prez 08. Change We Can Believe In.

    July 27, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  9. probama in paradise

    This man is steady, level headed, thoughtful, and incredibly presidential. He clearly has deep spiritual faith and honors American family values...I don't understand why the polls are even close.

    God Speed and God Bless, Senator Obama, in the next 100 days. My family's prayers are with you...

    July 27, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. Mamadou Diawara

    This is the right president to lead America and the all world. Barack Obama is smart, charismatic, polite, funny, truthful, sympathic and down to earth and a real gentleman. Beside that he is a leader and h even talk to his enemy and that's leadership.

    This guy is very very special.

    Best regards,

    MD (Amsterdam)

    July 27, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. Tennessee

    He is more dangerous than Bush!

    Democrats Against Obama '08

    July 27, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. Hillary got screwed

    Aaahhhhh, now he is ready to be potus.

    July 27, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. john ruckman

    Mr. Obama impresses me more the further we get into the campaign season. His judgement and his organizational skills are likely better than any candidate who has run for the office of president in recent times. This judgement and organization and his ability to judge people–and be right far more than not–are skills that all modern leaders need to have.
    I hear a lot about experience being key from some. If you look at our history, some of our best leaders have had next to no international experience and most very little economic background, yet some of them have been truly great leaders in times of severe adversity in our country, both nationally and internationally.

    July 27, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. Slowpoke

    He looks rediculous in gray

    July 27, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Chris From California

    And...he used campaign contributions to fund his trip??? Where are the authorities on this one. There will be contributors who will want their donations back. This was not a campaign trip. It was a publicity trip, in my opinion. Those he was meeting with cannot vote in our election. So, how was this a campaign trip for which campaign funds were used???

    July 27, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. jonathan, naperville IL

    why do you feel he is more dangerous than bush?

    July 27, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  17. Vladimir

    Sen. Obama has a great judgment and leadership for America, Sen McCain does not know what hell he is doing. In addition, he is lost.

    July 27, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. khulthum

    u really did well mr universe.for the first time ever america produced one man that is accepted acrdss the glove.and for obama sake peopleare begginning to love america again.

    July 27, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Dems 4 McCain

    Perhaps he should wait until he's elected to take a lap of glory around Europe as opposed to speaking to the American people or seeing our wounded soldiers (without cameras present).

    July 27, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  20. emma

    He is going to be a great leader! Go 'bama

    July 27, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. Phil, FL

    This man is the real thing. NOT a power hungry control freak like Bush and McCain.

    Our first half white president – instead of the wealthy old white men of this country keeping people down, this man (Obama) will help everyone.

    I'm so proud of him. While he was overseas we recruited a lot more volunteers and signed up more voters for Obama.

    Keep your eye on the ball, Barack – McCain is scared, that's why he puts you down so much. McCain is so pathethic.

    July 27, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. The Dark Knight

    Re: Tennessee's post

    First of all, your comment is pretty ridiculous.

    Secondly, is Obama more dangerous than a man (McCain) who sings Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran? Singing that little ditty not only reflects poor judgment but it betrays the seriousness of the Office of the President. A man who would do such a thing does not deserve to be my president. And I'm shocked and ashamed that it came from the mouth of Navy pilot who knows first-hand the horrors of war.

    July 27, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  23. McCain for President

    The man finds time to give a political speech to adoring fans in germany but won't visit our wounded soldiers in hospital unless he can take a press entourage with him to record the moment for our viewers at home.

    That's why he has to defend his trip. His ego is bigger than his campaign plane and that's why he'll be giving his acceptance speech in a football stadium.

    July 27, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  24. Todd

    Obama is a statesman. I think we can use a statesman right now don't you? Juging by his trip, I can see that the world is ready for a a diffrent foreign policy and a better country and world. Bye bye Bush.

    Mabey we should all organize an international calebration on the day that Bush leaves office whether Obama or McCain wins.

    July 27, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  25. debkansas

    Go away Hessin Obama. You will never be President. Who made you President already, you are to be elected not selected by the media.


    Hillary for President

    July 27, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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