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Obama's Unprecedented Trip

By Dan Balz
AMMAN -- Toward the end of his interview on CBS's "Face The Nation" on Sunday, Barack Obama was asked by correspondent Lara Logan how much his foreign trip is aimed at allaying doubts about his readiness "to lead a country at war as commander in chief from day one."

The candidate quickly brushed aside the question. The foreign policy experts and U.S. soldiers he had encountered in Afghanistan seemed not to have any doubts, he said. And then he added something far more revealing about how he sees his trip and his own prospects of winning the presidency.

"The objective of this trip was to have substantive discussions with people like [Afghan] President Karzai or [Iraqi] Prime Minister Maliki or [French] President Sarkozy or others who I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years [italics added]. And it's important for me to have a relationship with them early, that I start listening to them now, getting a sense of what their interests and concerns are."

For a politician just four years out of the Illinois state Senate and a presidential candidate who has not yet officially accepted his party's nomination, it was a telling moment. Others may see foreign policy as a potential weakness in his candidacy, particularly in a contest against John McCain. Obama is not among them. That was revealed even more clearly when Obama expanded on the value of his trip.

"One of the shifts in foreign policy that I want to execute as president is giving the world a clear message that America intends to continue to show leadership, but our style of leadership is going to be less unilateral, that we're going to see our role as building partnerships around the world that are of mutual interest to the parties involved," he said. "And I think this gives me a head start in that process."

"Do you have any doubts," Logan asked him

"Never," the candidate replied.

A veteran of former president Clinton's administration, someone who understands both politics and foreign policy, described this week's seven-nation trip as one of the four most important events for Obama between now and Election Day -- the others being his selection of a vice presidential running mate, his convention and his debates with McCain.

What struck this person was the boldness of Obama's decision to spend more than a week abroad in the middle of a campaign. Not, of course, for the reasons Obama outlined, but no less an example of Obama's self-confidence. "This is a big-league move to directly address a concern that the American people are going to have" about his candidacy, he said.

What is striking is how Obama's campaign differs from past Democratic campaigns. In earlier years, Democratic candidates couldn't wait to move off of foreign policy and onto domestic issues, aware that their party more or less owned the domestic debate, while Republicans generally held the high ground on national security. The more time they could spend focusing the contest on domestic issues, the better their chances of winning.

That was true certainly for John F. Kerry against President Bush four years ago, and it's clear that the polls currently show that national security issues are McCain's one key area of strength against Obama. Obama's advisers believe the economy will dominate the fall campaign, but the candidate shows no indication that he will try to avoid engagement with McCain over foreign policy.

The journey Obama began when he left Washington last Thursday is one wholly unique in the annals of presidential politics. Everything smacks of a presidential trip. The credentials issued to the traveling press corps on Sunday in Chicago -- reporters will catch up with Obama in Jordan later this week -- say "The visit of Senator Obama to the Middle East and Europe," mimicking the language of a presidential sojourn.

Once he is out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama will join up with the press and travel on his newly configured campaign charter, a Boeing 757 that carries the words "Change We Can Believe In" along the fuselage and the distinctive Obama logo on the tail. Never has a presidential candidate been overseas with such visibility.

It long has been said that Karl Rove looked for ways to go directly at the strengths of an opposing candidate, believing that was more effective than concentrating on his or her weaknesses. Obama has turned that around by dealing directly with his own perceived weaknesses is part of his modus operandi.

One of his foreign policy advisers -- he has a stable of nearly 300 -- said the explicit message for the American audience back home will be: "I can be president. I can talk to world leaders. They won't eat me up." The implicit message is equally important: "When President Bush goes abroad, there are big crowds protesting. When I go abroad, there are big crowds cheering."

Whether by the end of this week he will be seen as presumptuous or overly cocky, or ready enough to sit in the Oval Office to satisfy the doubters, is the overriding political question.

Newt Gingrich, the former Republican House speaker, is watching with some fascination as Obama travels this week. He may disagree with Obama but nonetheless called him "one of the smartest people we've ever seen run for president." Obama may have "huge structural challenges on cultural and other issues," he added, "but I think he's very smart ... very formidable."

But for Gingrich, who is no less lacking in self confidence than Obama, two questions arise about Obama -- one short-term and the other longer term. First, to Gingrich, one measure of the trip will be the degree to which Obama is willing to acknowledge that what he has seen has changed his thinking.

In Gingrich's formulation, no one as bright as Obama can spend 10 days overseas and not come away with insights he didn't have when he started. "If he encounters realities different than he expected, is he willing to actually share that with the American people?" Gingrich wondered.

The second measure for Gingrich is any hint of how Obama would react upon discovering that what he has been talking about won't work. From Pakistan to Iran to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gingrich said, Obama may well discover that the ideas he enunciated during the campaign fall short. "The core principle is, 'so what do you do if the world's harder than you think it is?'" he said.

This is not a matter of projecting humility so much as acknowledging the possibility of errors in judgment or the intractability of problems that have eluded resolution for decades. When Obama says "never" about doubts as to his capacity to handle these problems, he projects the same confidence that has carried him through a difficult campaign. But voters may be looking to see what else he reveals about himself and the world during his week abroad.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 21, 2008; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , Dan Balz's Take  
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Comments

Heshmati writes:

>>>Obama is a total fake. He lifts a finger and the American press wags its tail. The American people aren't stupid; or maybe they really are. So naive and easy to believe...

Well the American people elected Bush. Twice. Enough said.

Posted by: Puck | July 28, 2008 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Obama replaced the US logo on his campaign plane with his own logo. Arrogance or unpatriotic?? Would any one else running for the US Presidency get away with such open show of traitor-like behavior? This guy scares me!

Posted by: Sue | July 27, 2008 3:29 AM | Report abuse

I am really confused. Obama was against all war to begin with. Now he is proposing TWO new wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan. So with an Obama Presidency there will be a total of THREE wars because Obama plans to keep some troops in Iraq. Why isin't everyone APPALED by this? Obama and his THREE new wars????

Posted by: Sue | July 27, 2008 3:10 AM | Report abuse

I am really confused. Obama was against all war to begin with. Now he is proposing TWO new wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan. So with an Obama Presidency there will be a total of THREE wars because Obama plans to keep some troops in Iraq. Why isin't everyone APPALED by this? Obama and his THREE new wars????

Posted by: Sue | July 27, 2008 3:10 AM | Report abuse

I am really confused. Obama was against all war to begin with. Now he is proposing TWO new wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan. So with an Obama Presidency there will be a total of THREE wars because Obama plans to keep some troops in Iraq. Why isin't everyone APPALED by this? Obama and his THREE new wars????

Posted by: Sue | July 27, 2008 3:10 AM | Report abuse

8l2h6k3v7 http://www.766645.com/594329.html > xuk8tfldl6774s6v [URL=http://www.143011.com/785562.html] fe0trx9b9o06 [/URL] 5qb617783twzat

Posted by: rm8rxr0fyh | July 23, 2008 1:30 AM | Report abuse

If one looks back at the most successful presidents of the last century (Clinton, Reagan, Kennedy, Eisenhower, and both Roosevelts), the one great quality that always stood out for each was his ability to lead: to convince people that he could be trusted; and once that trust was earned, to use it towards truly positive change (whether in the sphere's of domestic or foreign policy or both).

As I look at each candidate today, I see two whom I respect, but only one who has that 'smack' of leadership, and that's Barack Obama. He doesn't argue along purely partisan lines of argument, but forms his own (often upsetting liberals as much as conservatives), and then convinces with compelling argument.

McCain might turn out to be a decent president, but I'm convinced Obama will be at least a very good one.

Posted by: Sam | July 22, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a total fake. He lifts a finger and the American press wags its tail. The American people aren't stupid; or maybe they really are. So naive and easy to believe, so eager to apologize and to please. Congress is full of spoiled brats who demand apologies from each other; many are so stupid it's incredible that they've been put into office. Welcome to America, soon to be Obama country. The land of nincompoops.

Posted by: Heshmati | July 22, 2008 4:01 AM
-----------------------------

Heshmati is new to this country and has problems expressing himself.

What he is trying to say is that Obama lifts a finger and nincompoops like Heshmati start foaming at the mouth.

Try not to gag, Heshmati. It's hard, but you can do it.

Posted by: mnjam | July 22, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The only thing unprecedented about this trip is the discusting display from the left wing media as they fall all over themselves to be the first to kiss Obama's feet.

Posted by: reason | July 22, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Well said. I certainly don't want a President who has no confidence in his abilities. It's this same confidence and determined focus that ensured him the democratic nomination and will get him into the White House.

YES WE CAN!

Posted by: Terri | July 22, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

obama has 300 advisers for his foreign policy. We should expect that what he will see on the ground oversee will not much differ from what he has expected to see there.

Posted by: maz hess | July 22, 2008 4:33 AM | Report abuse

At the Democratic convention, as Obama begins to read words from the teleprompter, an electrical glitch turns the machine off.

Posted by: Oracle | July 22, 2008 4:12 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a total fake. He lifts a finger and the American press wags its tail. The American people aren't stupid; or maybe they really are. So naive and easy to believe, so eager to apologize and to please. Congress is full of spoiled brats who demand apologies from each other; many are so stupid it's incredible that they've been put into office. Welcome to America, soon to be Obama country. The land of nincompoops.

Posted by: Heshmati | July 22, 2008 4:01 AM | Report abuse

ISOT "The good thing is if McCain wins this November, Hillary Clinton will have a much better chance of getting elected President in 2012."

I was proud to be a Hillary supporter, but we have to accept that she won't be back. (though I'd love to see her as VP). Much the same way that Gore didn't come back. I don't think we've heard the last of her, but I don't think she'll return to this arena and supporting that neocon retread McCain is just ludicrous(he's made a deal with the devil and those tentacles spread wide). Look at what the Beast did with Bush in power. Democrats in Congress felt as duped and betrayed as the rest of us. Just remember how many of them voted for the war. Obama wasn't my number one choice, but he and Hillary agreed about 98% of the time so he is definitely my choice now, along with a democratic Congress to hopefully fix all the things that have been going so wrong.

Posted by: ObamaNow | July 22, 2008 3:53 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Reality Check | July 22, 2008 1:27 AM

How about looking in the man's past to see if he has actually accomplished anything.
------------------------------------------
Yeah lets look at the past... I campaigned for McCain back in 2000 when he was "the maverick" running against a failed business man/coke head/draft dodger who had nothing going for him, but name recognition. I was appalled that Bush was even considered a candidate. Back then McCain represented a sensible moderate against big money and for reform. Now look at him taking any help he can get from who ever offers it, denouncing everything he once stood for, suddenly conservative and in the pockets of the very organism that put Bush in power. Promising more of the same. You can learn from a candidate's past, but the present can be even more telling.

Posted by: McCain fails | July 22, 2008 3:25 AM | Report abuse

David, Obama is not even a motivational speaker. He reads his script or teleprompter. Anyone can deliver such speech with some practice. Trust me.

Posted by: premier | July 22, 2008 2:13 AM | Report abuse

How about responding to the comments. If Barack becomes POTUS, it'll be you who gets screwed, because you actually believe him. To me, he's just another blowhard, promising the world to idiots like yourself.

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 1:58 AM | Report abuse

Wow. David has serious issues. Seen a doctor lately?? We're gonna have to put him on a suicide watch from Nov-Jan once Obama wins the election.

Sucks to be you.

Posted by: Reality Check | July 22, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

You people who judge a candidate for POTUS solely on his ability to give a speech disgust me. How about looking in the man's past to see if he has actually accomplished anything. Look in the man's past to see who he associates with. Look in the man's past to see if his words match his actions. I could understand a teenager becoming smitten with Obama, - but adults? If you want to elect a motivational speaker to be your next President, why not Tony Robbins. If you want a minister, why not Joel Osteen. Each of these men at least have been successful in running large organizations. All Obama has done is look like a genius as an arm-chair quarterback. Maybe one day he'll have the resume to be POTUS, but not for a long time.

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Again, the man has accomplished nothing and yet the headlines read as if he has cured cancer. And all this time I've been reading the NYT and WaPo and thought I was getting actual news. Silly me. What happens if the unthinkable occurs and Barack actually becomes POTUS? Then we'll have a novice in the White House with an economic downturn beginning, a War on two fronts, and a porous Southern border with millions streaming in to take advantage of our welfare state. Someone without a backbone to protect our privacy. Someone who aligns himself with moveon.org and Rev. Wright who is CIC. We will never learn - this after GW Bush. You can elect someone who knows about taking a stand, courage and sacrifice or you can elect Obama.

Posted by: David | July 22, 2008 12:40 AM | Report abuse

This trip has been more successful so far than I could have imagined. On Iran and Afghanistan Bush has moved toward Obama's position. On Iraq, Maliki has endorsed a short-term withdrawal. McCain is left grumbling about the surge. The fact is that the surge is only a part of the reason for the drop in violence. More important was the Anbar Awakening and Sadr's ceasefire - both of which occurred independent of the surge. The real smart decision of Bush was not to surge 30,000 troops but to put General Petraeus in charge. At least he understands counterinsurgency.

The anti-Obama commenters are as deranged and borderline racist as always. Losing an argument? Throw in Reverend Wright. Mention his middle name. Talk about Muslims creeping in everywhere. So predictable.

Posted by: Elrod | July 21, 2008 11:58 PM | Report abuse

JP Vanderbilt...
You can thank Bush all you want, but the rest of the country will hold its applause.

Main problem with your argument? Oh, that is easy: you talk about Al Qaeda being shrunk from 12,000 to 1,200 troops in Iraq in the last two years. Sounds nice, but here's the problem: Al Qaida did not even exist in Iraq until 2004, AFTER your idol's war. He CREATED Al Qaida in Iraq, so any number greater than 0 members indicates an increase in Al Qaida presence in Iraq due to Bush. Bragging that he got rid of 90% of the problem he created doesn't sound so great. I would rather have a President that doesn't create problems personally.

This one is easy, but there is more, much, much more. The fact is exact Al Qaida strength in Iraq has never been known, and your idol has never estimated their force levels as 12,000, so your "peak" is in dispute. Your idol's administration also says that Al Qaida's overall strength is growing as of April of this year, and that Iraq is one battlefront on the (singular) war on terror, so how this is taken as a war won I don't know.

If the war is won, then we can bring our troops home, right? That was your idol's statement oh when to bring troops home, so it sounds good to me.

Thanks for being another Republican claiming victory where victory does not exist. You might need to go back and edit out the banner of victory in six months when US forces are still dying in Iraq.

Posted by: APissedAnt | July 21, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

"The credentials issued to the traveling press corps on Sunday in Chicago -- reporters will catch up with Obama in Jordan later this week -- say "The visit of Senator Obama to the Middle East and Europe," mimicking the language of a presidential sojourn."

I call BS on those credentials until you can come up with a picture of them. And no, I'm not gonna do your job for you by researching 'em on the Web. C'mon, Mr. Fact Check - show us some facts. I'd love to stand corrected.

Posted by: George B King III | July 21, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Only the neocons like Bush & Cheney and now McCain along with AIPAC want this war to continue. We found out today that even Iraq wants us to leave in 16 mos just like Obama wants. Our troops are just pawns to the neocons....

Posted by: Scam for the Rich | July 21, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

For JP Vanderbilt -

THIS is the reality of Iraq:


Travel Warning
United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This information is current as of today, Mon Jul 21 19:39:01 2008.

The Department of State continues to strongly warn U.S. citizens against travel to Iraq, which remains very dangerous. Remnants of the former Baath regime, transnational terrorists, criminal elements and numerous insurgent groups remain active throughout Iraq.

Posted by: Steve J. | July 21, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

The article states Obama's "confidence". I calll it arrogance, stupidity, egomanic, overconfidence, immaturity and just plain bad judgment. He is too inexperienced for the biggest job in the world. He would be a disaster as commander in chief. On this trip Iraqi P.M. al-Maliki is running circles around him. What will happen when we leave Iraq permanently? Iran will just step in, and we'll really have terrorist training camps in the Middle East. Europe has gotten inself in a terrible fix by allowing the Muslims to immigrate freely in the '80s, now Europe is full of Islamic breeding ground for terrorist, a breeding groud and safe haven for Islamic terrorist. It is predicted that Europe's majority population will be Muslim by the end of the century. The Muslims who came to Europe in the '80s have had many children while the native Europeans have not produced many children. The European-Muslims now have European passports valid for travel in the U.S. How will we keep out the European born Islamic radicals?

Posted by: June Jamison | July 21, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what this trip proves other than that Obama has finally learned how to dial his travel agent. Your average American back-packer knows more about the other nations of the world than Obama. This is ludicrous.

Posted by: dyinglikeflies | July 21, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Although, this trip is nothing more than a campaign Photo-op, the cost is being billed to the American TAX-PAYERS.

Unprecedented, you call it but this is nothing more and nothing less than Obama's well-rehearsed mojo with a lusting press hot on his heels.

Posted by: Cantabrigian | July 21, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

A week abroad. That oughta fix any questions about foreign policy experience......dusting hands, walking away.

Posted by: Ed | July 21, 2008 10:16 PM | Report abuse

JPvanderbilt:

Interesting point and information you have posted there.

Posted by: Obama2008 | July 21, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

At this time, it appears that no matter who the next president is,
most of Americas troops will be out of Iraq in 2 or 3 years. The Bush vision of establishing a lot of bases there to project power in the region is a non starter with most Iraqis.

Posted by: rk | July 21, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

I support Obama!
Obama is the next great President of the United States of America!
Obama has been proven right every time!!
I support Obama, and I vote!!!
See www.bravenewfilms.org

Posted by: Ron | July 21, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Gatoron, I was not going to post my EXACT thoughts, but you have and a portion of it word for word as I thought it.

"This trips major purpose, I think, will turn out to be to load up on ammunition to deal with McCain during debates."

I thought Obama would come back with some "ammunition" for a volley with McCain. I was stunned to see you've written just that. That is my thought that I didn't intend to post until I found that one did it already!

I anxiously await to see how events unfold after Obama's arrival. I am definitely pleased about this trip. I figure it is definitely more of a benefit for everyone than not. With that said, I'm smiling big time. Go Obama, Hagel and Reed. Gratitude for the welcoming foreigners. Major support, appreciation, and consideration for our troops.

Posted by: Obama2008 | July 21, 2008 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Prove what??? This isn't the Washington Post of Bob Woodward-Carl Bernstein fame. The quote, "to lead a country at war as commander in chief from day one." Right, a one-two punch. The convenient vote against the Iraq War was the first. And now, visting Iraq and Afghanistan gives the knockout blow. Give me a break. The Obama that listened to Reverend Wright for 20 years is still there folks. As an 8 yr old back in 1962, I remember the (Cuban Missle Crisis) nuke drills. Draw the curtains and crawl under your desk. At least in a kid's eyes, President Kennedy's leadership was never an issue. Obama's is...How f**king naieve.

Posted by: Marquis de sade | July 21, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Guess the McSame CAMP are kicking themselves in the AS for suggesting Barack go to Irag.

Luv U BARACK, U ROCK!

Posted by: KO | July 21, 2008 9:52 PM | Report abuse


What would happen if the U.S. won a war but the media didn't tell the American public?

Apparently, we have to rely on a British newspaper for the news that we've defeated the last remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq.

London's Sunday Times called it "the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror." A terrorist force that once numbered more than 12,000, with strongholds in the west and central regions of Iraq, has over two years been reduced to a mere 1,200 fighters, backed against the wall in the northern city of Mosul.

The destruction of al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) is one of the most unlikely and unforeseen events in the long history of American warfare. We can thank President Bush's surge strategy, in which he bucked both Republican and Democratic leaders in Washington by increasing our forces there instead of surrendering.

We can also thank the leadership of the new general he placed in charge there, David Petraeus, who may be the foremost expert in the world on counter-insurgency warfare. And we can thank those serving in our military in Iraq who engaged local Iraqi tribal leaders and convinced them America was their friend and AQI their enemy.

Al-Qaida's loss of the hearts and minds of ordinary Iraqis began in Anbar Province, which had been written off as a basket case, and spread out from there.

Now, in Operation Lion's Roar the Iraqi army and the U.S. 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment is destroying the fraction of terrorists who are left. More than 1,000 AQI operatives have already been apprehended.

Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin, traveling with Iraqi forces in Mosul, found little AQI presence even in bullet-ridden residential areas that were once insurgency strongholds, and reported that the terrorists have lost control of its Mosul urban base, with what is left of the organization having fled south into the countryside.

Meanwhile, the State Department reports that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has achieved "satisfactory" progress on 15 of the 18 political benchmarks, a big change for the better from a year ago.

Things are going so well that Maliki has even for the first time floated the idea of a timetable for withdrawal of American forces. He did so while visiting the United Arab Emirates, which over the weekend announced that it was forgiving almost $7 billion of debt owed by Baghdad, an impressive vote of confidence from a fellow Arab state in the future of a free Iraq.

But where are the headlines and the front-page stories about all this good news? As the Media Research Center pointed out last week, "the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 were silent Tuesday night about the benchmarks" that signaled political progress.

The war in Iraq has been turned around 180 degrees both militarily and politically because the president stuck to his guns. Yet apart from IBD, Fox News Channel and parts of the foreign press, the media don't seem to consider this historic event a big story.

Posted by: JP Vanderbilt | July 21, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

angriestdogintheworld wrote: "Aspergirl, suffering from Toxic Shock syndrone, as she has not been able to change her maxi pad since HRC..."

And I see that you have the same obsessive, personally offensive and sexist way of being abusive toward those who post political comments you don't like, as you had during Primary season.

Posted by: AsperGirl | July 21, 2008 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein OSCAMA. Flip Flop extraordinaire. I cannot believe how Dumbocrats still swear by this guy time and time again when he has shown he has no position. What a joke. OSCAMA has arrived.

Posted by: zap | July 21, 2008 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Bold? Bold? Are you kidding me? Good Grief. Guy travels to a few countries and that is considered BOLD? Your writing is as soft and as thin as his experience. BTW, does it bother anyone that Barack Hussein Obama had only 127 days experience as a Senator before he began his run for the Presidency? Does that not bother anyone?

Posted by: zap | July 21, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

So Obama has added shooting hoops with troops, drinking tea with foreign heads of state (what he ridiculed Clinton for), and participating in the dog and pony shows the military puts on for every congressional delegation to his four years on the play grounds of Indonesia between the ages of six and ten to his 'BOLD' foreign policy credentials - thank God he has such an adoring press corps following him along and attempting to manufacture his election in the same way they assisted the manufacturing of this nations invasion of Iraq.

16 months ago this yahoo was vigorously opposing the very change in strategy that has allowed this visit, and now wants to replicate the 'surge strategy' in Afghanistan after failing to conduct even one oversight hearing to work with our European partners in NATO to lend their efforts toward a surge in Afghanistan before the Taliban and the terrorist reconstituted themselves.... what a great legacy of continuing the same lack of strategic leadership from the current administration.

Obama isn't qualified to be commander in chief - no matter how many pictures he takes with our brave men and women - they deserve better than someone who uses them as a campaign backdrop - they deserve someone who actually voted and supported the funding of the MRAP vehicles' and Gen. Petraeus' efforts - someone who shared in the sacrifice to secure this nation, and someone who has demonstrated the leadership to work with the other side of the aisle and push through legislation to address serious issues confronting this nation - they deserve a genuine American hero like Senator John McCain.

Posted by: clawrence | July 21, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"As a result, I prefer voting for McCain for President and voting for Democrats for Congress to counter McCain. It is my strong belief that the Democrats will obtain their filibuster-proof majority this November.... The Democrats will be able to override vetoes on most legislation."

@8:31

This is wildly misinformed. Current polling projects to a 5 or 6 seat Democratic gain in the Senate. The odds of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate are about 10-15%. The odds of a veto-proof majority are 0%.

Current polling in the House projects to a 5-10 seat Democratic gain, also far short of a veto-proof majority.

A Democratic Congress + a McCain Presidency is a recipe for four more years of the same crap we've got going on right now.

Posted by: w05 | July 21, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

This toxic avenger sounds strangely a lot like a Sean Hannity wannabe from Fixed News while this aspergirl must be an Ann Coulter wannabe from the same cable network I never watch.

Posted by: Jake | July 21, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Lucy,

I agree with you in that Hillary Clinton was the better candidate. However, if I had to pick between Obama and McCain, I actually trust McCain more. Obama has disappointed me with his flip flop of voting for the FISA bill that gives telecommunication companies immunity. Hillary voted against the legislation. To me, Obama is exactly what he claims not to be, an inexperienced, but expedient politician.

As a result, I prefer voting for McCain for President and voting for Democrats for Congress to counter McCain. It is my strong belief that the Democrats will obtain their filibuster-proof majority this November. As a result, a McCain presidency will be far more mild compared to what Obamaniacs claim it will be. The Democrats will be able to override vetoes on most legislation (though I don't see McCain as uncompromising as Bush has been) and they will be able to vote down any ultra conservative Supreme Court nominees.

The good thing is if McCain wins this November, Hillary Clinton will have a much better chance of getting elected President in 2012. However, if Obama wins, then Hillary has no chance of every winning the presidency because Obama has practically stated, by his actions, that he will not choose Hillary for his VP. Thus, if you really want Hillary Clinton as president, it is in your interest to vote for McCain while voting for Democrats for Congress.

ISOT

P.S. How do you feel about Obama charging the American people for his campaign photo ops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, etc.? In case you didn't know, he's charging the American tax payer for the cost of his campaign trips overseas. You would think with all the money he's been receiving in donations, he could afford to pay for his own trips instead of forcing us to pay for them by lying and saying that his trips are not a form of campaigning.

Posted by: InSearchOfTruth | July 21, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Gator. Bush sucks. He's so bad that he has actually scared me. Bush and Rove have run roughshod over the Constitution and used the White House as the main office for the Republican Party. And your solution - allow Obama and Axelrod to do the same. What kills me is that GW Bush has set the bar so low that a Barack Obama actually looks qualified.

As far as visiting a War zone to prop up your foreign policy credentials, while running for the POTUS, only after the other candidate has pointed it out - it's a publicity stunt, otherwise he would have already gone. What the hell else was he doing? It's politically advantageous to him, so he goes. Call a spade a spade, Gator. Obama has learned much from Rove and Bush - about how to manipulate the media and us.

Posted by: David | July 21, 2008 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Obama is 100% winner. McBush "pushed" him over to the Middle East to learn that Obama is in his element wherever he is! The same with town meetings. There is no venue where McBush has the upperhand. McCain is wrong to push his surge strategy as a big success. Big successes mean massive troup withdrawals, not endless involvement. What about Afghanistan? Oh, how the world turns. How the Republicans spin! Go! Go! Go! Obama.

Posted by: Earl C | July 21, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a winner, right win troglodytes have to live with that. You guys have much lower IQ than papa Obama

Posted by: gus vidal | July 21, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

The Toxic Avenging Racist says that black people are too stupid to vote Republican.

Man, that's about the funniest thing I've read in a long time! Ahahahaha!!!

The fact is, it's really getting to the point to where, who COULD be stupid enough to vote Republican?

Posted by: Brent Mack | July 21, 2008 7:49 PM | Report abuse

David,

Your statement defies logic. The Bush is the CIC. So why are you not complaining about Bush

If Obama did not make the trip you would have complained about that. McCain has made at least six trips to Iraq, you failed to complain about that.

If the Democrats tried to withhold funding, they would not have the votes to pass let alone override a filibuster without the support of a dozen Republicans. You indignation is created by a desire to attack and not by a realistic objection.

What is it about you Republicans? You attack Obama but never say anything specific that is good about about McCain. Has he anesthetized all of you?

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 21, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse


"...I expect to be dealing with over the next eight to 10 years...."

Kool. Two five year terms as president of all 57 states.

Posted by: WylieD | July 21, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who has noticed the "inexperience" of the past two Presidents when it comes to the military?

Typically, I would say it doesn't matter. But at a time when there is a war going on - I think it does.

This is why I still can't believe that Bush pulled out a victory in 2004. I was told that America doesn't like to switch their leaders during a time of war. And the majority vote reflected that.

So I'm looking at the situation now and thinking - aren't we in the same scenario? And is McCain the absolute worst thing that could happen to America?

I liked McCain in 2000 and wished the Republicans could have seen the light back then. But they didn't - and here we are.

The point is - we are where we are. And who could best lead us through this transition?

My gal, Hillary won't be one of the choices this November, although I still think she's the best candidate for the place we are right now.

There's a lot to ponder - and I have to weigh the scales on a lot of issues. And what matters to one woman, may not matter to another. I'm really tired of hearing about "women's issues." That means nothing to me. Some women are pro-choice. Others are pro-life. And both are "women's issues."

So McCain or Obama?

I'll keep pondering.........

Posted by: Lucy | July 21, 2008 7:39 PM | Report abuse

obama's pr trip to afghanistan and iraq did not prove that obama is qualified in foreign policy...

Posted by: Dwight | July 21, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Unthinkable. Disgusting. A candidate for POTUS traveling the world during War time to prop up his foreign policy credentials. Are we so anesthetized that we don't see blatant political posturing. The Press seems too charmed to call a spade a spade - useless as usual. If Senator Obama and the Democrats had committed themselves to ending the Iraq War instead of using it as an issue for the upcoming election, we would be out of Iraq already. How many soldiers have died while the Democrats in the majority have sat like flies, rubbing their hands together, dreaming of a super-majority and the Presidency.

Posted by: David | July 21, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama had to make this trip whether he wanted to or not, McCain made it a requirement with his challenge. I think Obamas purpose is very complex and refuting journalists is one part but not the main part.. By his going there, Maliki made statements about our exiting Iraq that might not have been made without this trip. How Obama deals with the voters, the press and McCain will give some idea of his purpose. Another substantial speech on foreign affairs that contains new foreign policy initiatives would suggest that his purpose was more than proving a point on knowledgeability.

This trips major purpose, I think, will turn out to be to load up on ammunition to deal with McCain during debates.

Posted by: Gator-ron | July 21, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Did Senator McCain or the liberal media attack Gov. bush in 2000 for never having traveled out side North America?

Imagine if bush had traveled more he just might have a different attitude about the rest of the world.

Posted by: JAC | July 21, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

DEM now IND, your comments are just inaccurate. As you should know, Obama has chosen to accept no federal funds, he is using his own campaign funds to finance this expedition, so all the money contributed by "taxpayers" were voluntary contributions. I'm sorry if you see a candidate's willingness to engage with the world as egotistical, but at least he knows the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan and has a more constructive plan for world affairs than "bomb bomb bomb Iran."

Posted by: Chris | July 21, 2008 7:11 PM | Report abuse

A week in the Middle East and Europe does NOT make anyone an expert in Foreign Affairs. And the only reason that TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING for this Obama Campaign Rally is for Obama's Ego. When is enough, enough?

Posted by: DEM now IND | July 21, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The sad truth is that Obama's political judgment is made of lead, while McCain's judgment is made of gold.

Bullcrap.

McLame has had to distance himself from two pastors who had whacko views, and had to dump economic advisor Phil Gramm after he called America a nation of whiners.

McLame has flip-flopped on every single issue of importance. Somebody posted a list and it is incredible.

McLame's judgment is made of CRAP.

And anybody who votes for him is full of crap.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 21, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well..."

The Repukes already have one of those.
He's in the White House.

Chimpy can dance and sing, but he doesn't speak English very well. He'sh alwaysh schlurring hish words.

Posted by: Tom3 | July 21, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

If a monkey could sing, dance and speak English well, the world would be excited and the liberal media would be the first to cover it as great news.

If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well, it would be something everyone would love to see, specially other monkeys who can not sing, dance or speak English well.

If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well, the liberal media would make lots of money covering he news. But the talented monkey would belong in a circus where the world could be entertained.

If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well...............

Posted by: Manolete | July 21, 2008 5:06 PM

--

And if a monkey were a better candidate than anything the GOP has to offer, the people would make him president.

Fortunately we have Senator Obama, so no monkeys are required.

Get used to it.

Posted by: DFC | July 21, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Compare and contrast this trip with John McCain's yawner a couple of months ago where he strolled through an Iraqi market in flak jacket and with air cover, declaring the place safe as can be. McCain looked like a retired tourist; Obama looks presidential. Thanks, Sen. McCain, for nudging Sen. Obama into taking this trip so he could show us all his foreign policy expertise. For as anyone knows -- it's not what's on the resume, it's whether you can do the job. And Obama is clearly showing he's ready on Day 1, lol.

Posted by: omyobama | July 21, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich the Grinch wonders, "If he [Obama] encounters realities different than he expected, is he willing to actually share that with the American people?".

That's what you get for being a Republican yes man, you aren't told what is really going on, or you're lied to.

Next, Gingrich the Grinch said, "Obama may well discover that the ideas he enunciated during the campaign fall short. The core principle is, 'so what do you do if the world's harder than you think it is?'" he whined.

Funny Grinch, I was about to ask you the same question about both Bush and McSame, since both have found that out to be true, at least the world's harder for the Fascist Neocons because they make it that way.

Posted by: Kevin Schmidt | July 21, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks BB,
Newt was wrong to have done what he did. He was blasted by the MM over it. I personaly felt shame for him. But if we are giving Barrack a pass for GD AMerica then Give a pass to Newet too and listen to what he says. Yes he would like a Conservitive elected. He does not consider McCain a conservitave. Go to American solutions and see what both side of the political spectrum have to say. It will open your eyes if you have an open mind. Mitch

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Look, Gingrich is a toad but he actually uses more candor than most Republican leaders (or former leaders). I like what Obama is doing here and has done throughout this campaign: he takes perceived weaknesses and turns them into strength. Current events are supporting Sen. Obama's plans, not Sen. McCain's. Sen. McCain is looking confused and intransigent -- and today's article about McCain's time in the Senate keep talking about how he'd walk across the Capitol to get into a fight. There have been no gaffes by Obama-- only by McCain (Iraq and Pakistan share a border? Really?). A win-win for Obama and for the country.

Posted by: straight talk my a** | July 21, 2008 6:07 PM | Report abuse

It took awhile, but you finally wrote an excellent article. Well done Mr. Balz!

Posted by: No McCain | July 21, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

If a monkey could dance, sing and type, it might be on this blog as Manolete.

Posted by: straight talk my a** | July 21, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

For some reason the German government is nervous about politicians with a cult-like following. Perhaps it reminds them of the 1930s.

They fear that euphoria in politics is an invitation for disappointment. Obama's inexperience also makes them nervous. He is just a blank slate or tabula rasa.

Posted by: alance | July 21, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

mitchs - Actually, I believe it was Gingrich who dumped his wife while she was in the hospital. He's a smart cookie and a very interesting speaker and writer, but not exactly a paragon for the Moral Majority.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | July 21, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

mynamesyow, You must be another "Approved racist boggot" from the D party. RICH old white man?

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Why is Obama going to visit just now? So many other non-Presedential office seekers from the Senate have visited to get their information first hand, but Obama needed to be dared and double-dog dared to go. I believe that it will be hard to double-dog dare him to do anything right once he gets elected.

Posted by: Bat21Man | July 21, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

The only thing McCain camp should be worried about is keeping grandpa and his surrogates from making daily gaffes. I'm starting to lose track. Just today he said Iraq and Pakistan share borders...he's starting to show his age and incompetence. Not surprised he finished in the bottom 1% of his graduating class.

Posted by: Ryan | July 21, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

So, You hate Newt because he cheated on his wife? Where does that leave Billy "bob me" Clinton in your world.

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"The candidate quickly brushed aside the question. The foreign policy experts and U.S. soldiers he had encountered in Afghanistan seemed not to have any doubts, he said."

Dan, after each sentence, use a direct quote. Yes, "brushing aside" is Senator Obama's rhetorical tactic when he faces a tough question.

If I were Senator McCain's advisor, I would watch all of his debates with Senator Clinton for your own strategies.

Posted by: premier | July 21, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

If a monkey could sing, dance and speak English well, the world would be excited and the liberal media would be the first to cover it as great news.

If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well, it would be something everyone would love to see, specially other monkeys who can not sing, dance or speak English well.

If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well, the liberal media would make lots of money covering he news. But the talented monkey would belong in a circus where the world could be entertained.

If a monkey could dance, sing and speak English well...............


Posted by: Manolete | July 21, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

As someone informed enough to stand in the middle of politics on most issues, instead of blindly following a party line, i find it deeply,deeply satisfying to see Karl Rove's name came up in discussions about Obama. Imagine if, for the last 8 years, we had had a competent respected intelligent person as president, instead of the smirking puppet that we have had. If we had had just a nromal, even mediocre, president would Americans be so hungry to embrace a black president, or a woman president, or even a maverick anti-republican such as McMcain was before his handlers made him the biggest flip-flopper since........
no, the status qou would probably have been maintained and the democratic party would never have put up such a 'radically different' canidate.
BUT because of the Machiavellian manipulation of Karl Rove's disasterous desire to prop up right-wingers by any means necessary the American people have turned so hard and fast against it that it has opened the playing field up for anyone BUT a rich old white man. I love it. Good job Karl! Good, good job!
It takes a lot of manure and dung to grow roses and that is exactly the crap that Karl laid down when he went about re-designing the Executive Office to meet his demands for unfettered power for his cronies and puppets. I can't wait to drive them all out and see the fine flowers of TRUE freedom that will bloom there after the stink of corruption is gone.

Posted by: mynamesyow | July 21, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

What I found fascinating was Obama's comment about dealing with foreign leaders for the next "8 to 10 years"? Where does the "10" come from? The presidency is a 4 year term capped at 8 years. Is this neo-soviet little socialist pig telegraphing something? Or is this more Obama stupidity like his promise to visit "all 57 states".

Posted by: marc christophe | July 21, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder if all of you puritian Newt haters will hold Barrack to the same standards of conduct. Please do.

Posted by: Mitchs | July 21, 2008 2:34 PM "

Isn't Newt the one who was dating his future wife while married to his previous wife while pursuing Clinton's extramarital affair, all the while proclaiming how righteous and moral he was? You do know who the Puritans were, right?

And, finally, if Obama behaves the same way as Newt, I would be leading the charge to have him removed from office. I did what I could to get rid of Newt, unfortunately there just ain't 'nuff edjumacation to learn some people.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the chances of McCain winning this election are pretty slim ... about 30% at best and the problem with Obama is that he is quick, bright and his only accomplishment so far is that he has demolished the Clinton political machine which up until now was regarded as formidable.

So the problem for a lot of us trying to scope this out is Obama a David and Goliath kind of guy who can do things or is he another little guy in short pants who can do neat things with a Rubric's Cube (and when do we have to step in to intervene because he is allowing things to become an even bigger mess.)

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The most worrisome statement by Obama in the article was "Never" in response to the interviewer's question, "Do you have any doubts."

More confirmation that Obama's campaign is running on hot air, and little more. "Change you can believe in?" What does that MEAN???

Posted by: Richard Jarvis | July 21, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

How rough must it really be for McCain? He's got four months to go but by late August it will be over. Much like Big Bush back in 1992; the inner circle, intense and, look to the floor and almost imperceptibly shake their head like serious surgeons meeting with family members to describe a somber prognosis...
The big donors sigh deeply, shed a tear, and look to the future.

They better get their glasses.

The naked political cannot see so far and they're taking election-related mortality checks...calculating what their ages will be at the completion of Barack Obama's second term.

The rank and file supporters...pseudo-mavericks, flag-freaks, religious drones and assorted warmongers and knuckle draggers all, will, of course, be led to think that McBush has a shot just to fill up the photos at upcoming rallies and their big St Paul convention in September. Oh man...those hot republicans are going to turn St Paul (Minnesota) into an undulating mass of steamy, depression-laden, alcohol-infused, conservative flesh pot (!) of desire for power that only their frantic, furtive groping during those anonymous moments after the speeches in the hotel lounges will provide.

-Because they are not going to win.

Not this time.

Not this year.

Posted by: Kase | July 21, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I don't see him giving Mrs Merkel back rubs or spraying listeners with crumbs as he gives his appreciation of global issues. So far he's playing this just right, very low key and scored a tremendous coup when the Iraqis essentially endorsed his policy. Basically the implicit message will be Bush behaves like a buffoon and has to be protected from booing crowds, Obama is cool and collected and met by adoring crowds. No wonder the Republicans are apoplectic.

Posted by: John | July 21, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Balz misses the point here:

"It long has been said that Karl Rove looked for ways to go directly at the strengths of an opposing candidate, believing that was more effective than concentrating on his or her weaknesses. Obama has turned that around by dealing directly with his own perceived weaknesses is part of his modus operandi."

What you're leaving out is that Obama is going directly at McCain's strength. The only issue on which McCain consistently outpolls Obama is foreign policy/commander in chief. Obamaa travels to Iraq, and prime minister Maliki puts out a statement saying "yes, I agree pretty much completely with Obama's position on withdrawal," fundamentally undermining McCain's position on the issue. I don't see how he recovers from this. What's his response - that he knows better than Maliki what's right for Iraq? Please. Game. Set. Match.

Posted by: pinson | July 21, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thankfully Obama knows how to send a positive message to the rest of the world, unlike the Republican's who act just like the terrorists.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I heard that McCain will raise taxes on everone who makes under $250,000 dollars by 4-5%!

I heard that McCain wants to give this money to the people who make more then $250,000.

I heard that McCain's tax break on gas takes money right from the street repair funding. This amount of money it takes to fix a road has double with the price of gas also!

I heard that McCain wants to drill offshore. I also heard that the amount of oil he will get is like 1-2% of what america would need for a year. I heard that this amount of oil won't effect the gas prices at all!

I heard that McCain's budget for presidency would increase the dept by $500,000,000,000 by the end of his first term.

Posted by: I heard some truth. | July 21, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Obama's trip is more than publicity. It is fact finding. He needs to talk to the principals in our foreign policy.

He can get nothing of substance from George Bush's team. But he can get a lot from foreign leaders who will respect him undoubtedly more than they do Mr. Bush.

Posted by: paul taylor | July 21, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is person we can be proud of when he travels overseas. He is articulate, educated, sensitive to other cultures, informed, bright, smart and inclusive. The opposite of the other candidate and his cronies in the White House who are a disgrace to this great country we call America.

Posted by: royals1 | July 21, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Bitter small towner | July 21, 2008 3:39 PM

"It's unimaginable that someone with such little experience, with such a thin resume is exalted as the future President of the United States. Wake up, people! This is not some stupid Hollywood made for TV movie. This is real life, as in ALL of our lives, that are on the line.
_________________________________________
John McCain has 40 years of experience being dumb. He has had 40 years to learn about the issues facing our country like the economy and hasn't done anything to learn about it. He said in 2000 he didn't know much about the economy and in 2008 he's repeating it. He still hasn't learned anything and his economic policy is to say that the people who have lost their jobs due to them being shipped overseas and people who have had their homes foreclosed on are whiners and its all in their heads. Only this week is he starting to figure out that 95%+ of the people George Bush has been killing in Iraq are not international terrorists. They are mostly Sunni, Shiites, former Baathists, and a handful of revolutionaries who have nothing to do with international terrorism. They just want us out of their country and want a piece of the power. He has been voting on issues like the economy, social security, and foreign policy for decades when he clearly does not understand them. He still thinks Czechoslovakia is a country. It hasn't been for well over a decade. He is simply a talking head for the greedy special interests and will do whatever they say. His campaign is bulging at the seams with corporate lobbyists who are hoping to take a ride on the McCain gravy train. He is so senile that he can't think for himself and will do whatever they want. Whenever he cannot read from his script written by someone else, he sounds like a blabbering, incoherent fool. When someone isn't there telling him what to say, he can't even remember what his position is. Sometimes he changes his position several times in one day, he simply can't remember what he's supposed to say and isn't smart enough to figure out what he should say. He graduated at the bottom of his class in the naval academy and continues to show that he has no intelligence at all. He constantly confuses foreign policy with military strategy and doesn't see the difference. He likes to fight wars but has no clue what wars we should be fighting. He already announced that he wants to bomb bomb bomb Iran and indiscriminately kill people in Iran with weaponized cigarrettes. He even has a theme song about it. He hates women unless he is screwing them and likes to sit around with his rich good 'ol boy friends telling rape jokes. He thinks the idea of an ape beating and raping a woman is funny and that she would like it. His friends joke about rape being like the weather ... might as well sit back and enjoy it. He calls his wife a trollop and a C@nt in public. He will turn over our country to the special interests and start yet another war with Iran. His idea of good government is no government. He likes to "let the market work." If there is a salmonella or mad cow outbreak, the government should just do nothing. People will die, but they will know not to eat tomatoes or cow, so the market will work. In short he is an old fool with nothing going for him except having been a prisoner.

Posted by: GoHomeMcCain | July 21, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Aspergirl, suffering from Toxic Shock syndrone, as she has not been able to change her maxi pad since HRC, I want to say dropped out, but that is impossible, let's say what she say's "suspended", as in I'm still in it if you will send money me now....

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 21, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Military experience does not equal a good commander in chief.

U.S. Grant was a great general...a lousy President

FDR never fought in a war...and lead this nation to world victory in 1945

Ronald Reagan played soldier in Hollywood during WWII and was a better than average President

Bill Clinton never served and was also a better than average President

George W. Bush served in Texas and Alabama during the Vietnam War and is a mighty poor grade President.

History proves one thing clearly, military service is not a strong indicator of how well someone will perform in the White House.....FACT.

Posted by: A.Lincoln | July 21, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Military experience does not equal a good commander in chief.

U.S. Grant was a great general...a lousy President

FDR never fought in a war...and lead this nation to world victory in 1945

Ronald Reagan played soldier in Hollywood during WWII and was a better than average President

Bill Clinton never served and was also a better than average President

George W. Bush served in Texas and Alabama during the Vietnam War and is a mighty poor grade President.

History proves one thing clearly, military service is not a strong indicator of how well someone will perform in the White House.....FACT.

Posted by: A.Lincoln | July 21, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post calls Obama's trip "unprecedented"
and the Obama Channel - MSNBC calls it "a political tsunami." Obama walks on water.

The sad truth is that Obama's political judgment is made of lead, while McCain's judgment is made of gold.

Posted by: alance | July 21, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tim, most folks do not just pull the D or R lever when they vote. The guys who Call Barrack Barrackie or McCain McShame are simple minded lever robots.

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Military experience does not equal a good commander in chief.

U.S. Grant was a great general...a lousy President

FDR never fought in a war...and lead this nation to world victory in 1945

Ronald Reagan played soldier in Hollywood during WWII and was a better than average President

Bill Clinton never served and was also a better than average President

George W. Bush served in Texas and Alabama during the Vietnam War and is a mighty poor grade President.

History proves one thing clearly, military service is not a strong indicator of how well someone will perform in the White House.....FACT.

Posted by: A.Lincoln | July 21, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

MIKE

Please vote for McCain. Obama does not need your vote. McCain does. He is kind of folksy and dumb down just like you like them. Someone you can identify with. Go McCain..

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

ApostasyUSA: Slow clap in your honor!

Posted by: seriously? | July 21, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Claudine 1000

You forgot to mention that he has communist/radical muslim/marxist ties with racist pastors wright, sharpton and Farrakhan. Plus he use to smoke cigarettes and tried weed in college. Things that we just cannot except in a president. Vote for McCain. At least he knows where the Pakistan boarder lies. He is soo much on the ball I cant understand why he did not beat Bush in the 2000 primaries. He is definitely on the ball more than bush. Right?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Claudine 1000,

Very poor grammer. Is your main point is that Barrack Obama has a middle name? I tried to read through your comments, but all I saw was 30 different ways you can spell President Obama's name.

So whoever has the most nicknames loses?

I thought this election had to do with intelligence and compassion. BTW, what experience does McCain have in hte military? O, yeah, he almost failed out of military school, his dad was someone important, and he crashed a few fighter planes.

I really don't see McCain's experience all that impressive, maybe you should tell me about one of his other major things he can do as president...oh...you have none eh?

Posted by: Tim | July 21, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Barracky Hussein Obama has no experience - it is quite obvious that the Washington Post wants Obamy

Posted by: MIKE | July 21, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

It sure is funny to hear the 'no foreign experience' attacks on Obama coming from the right-wing nuts who supported the Bush-child. lil Bush never traveled, hated anything foreign (the better to appeal to his tri-synaptic, monosyllabic bible-thumping followers) just wanted to see into the souls and rub the necks of foreign leaders. Imagine the relief of foreign leaders to have an intelligent, well-spoken, well -read and informed adult speak to them with out giving them 'frat-boy' nick names.

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 21, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Unprecedented? Well, other than the precedent set by McCain who has made many such trips I guess.

www.bothinonetrench.com

Posted by: Ray Robison | July 21, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Obama right on Iraq, right on Afghanistan and certainly viewed as the better option by our allies. We want a bold leader and Obama and his moves are proving once again his intellect and his integrity. Senator McCain will stay at home and blame Obama for rising gas prices, lack of jobs, global warming and whatever else he believes he convince the lesser educated is valid. He is also not too happy that the press is turning all its attention to the trip he beseeched Obama to take.

I support to the maximum allowed by law Barack Obama for a plethora of reasons and am encouraged even more by watching him on the global stage listening rather than blundering on who the sunnis and the shias are or who actually border Iraq. Vote for the smart candidate besides who want a President with a bucket list anyways..

YES WE CAN! SI SE PUEDE!

BARACK AND ROLL IN 2008

Posted by: Raul PEDRAZA | July 21, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Dave,

Your Republican party pulled us apart. It's been pulling America apart ever since the Gingrich Revolution.

You guys own it, 100%.

Average Americans aren't going to just sit around while Republicans destroy everything about America that once made it great.

The divide will end when your nutty lunatic Gingrich Republicans are back on the street corner shouting about God and the End Times where they belong.

Posted by: James McDouglas | July 21, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Hey! I spent 2 weeks in Germany! I must have a better feel for forign policy than Barrack. Perhaps he will make me an advisor. I mean, I was down in the Beer halls with the real people, you know? We solved all our problems over a couple of Brats.

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

the guy is a natural. I keep thinking, could you imagine any other Democrat doing this? He makes Kerry and Gore look like robots, and HRC, you just would dismiss anything she says because she is so political and egotistical (empty pantsuit). It really is like a regular guy (obviously very intelligent), being lifted up by us to represent our needs. It is a fulfillment of Democracy. I NEVER thought I would see the day. I know there is plenty of time for the repugs to Swiftboat, but he set's a new standard at this stage. I am a knee jerk Democrat, and I gotta tell you, voting for Kerry last time rather than not vote was emotional for me as I consider Kerry a War criminal. Anyway, regular guy for President, supported by regular people, who'd of thunk it other than a directional objective.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 21, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Bitter small towner,

You are starting to get worried? I have been worried for the past 8 years because i can not belive how many people in this country are like you.

Bitter and biting at the hands that want to help, all the while helping the hands that hold you down.

McCain doesn't like you, but Obama would give you a chance.

Posted by: Tim | July 21, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Obama may have some negatives, perhaps, but all Americans should applaud his sinking of the Clintons, a real danger to our Republic. The real problem in this race is Senator McCain. It's not that he's off course, he seems not to have a course. Marching about in that Navy cap with the opaque glasses make him look like a lost version of Daffy Duck. He and/or the Republicans had better wake up.

Posted by: Adm. (Ret.) Jack P. Offyerbut, USN | July 21, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Im sorry but you can label Obama an elitist all you wish because he comes off smarter than the average guy but do we really want a dumb down president because he reminds us more of a regular guy? Really? This is the president we are talking about. Smart presidents clearly do better for the country. Bill Clinton and George H.W Bush come to mind. Dumb presidents have to be guided by others around him who may have their own agendas. Reagan and George W Bush come to mind. But in Reagan's defense he did know how to act smart and tough. I want a intelligent person to lead the country. If you can't tell which middle east country boarders which, which secular leaders dominate what middle east country and which countries still exist you are probably no smarter than I am. I'm not presidential material intellectually. Nor is McCain. But he seems like a nice person.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Aspergirl

Are you still here on the blogs because you are doing "financial reconnaissance?"

I think you are still here because you are a bitter and angry Hillary deadender.

Give it up girl; you have nothing to add to the conversation anymore except toxic fumes.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Maliki agrees with Obama and his plan to attempt to have troops out of Iraq in about 16 months - 1 -2 brigades a month. Brown of Great Britain also appears to agree. Obama even showed up on the FRONT LINES in Afghanistan. When was the last time Bush did that - or McC? He wasn't just serving turkey to the troops at some safe place in the Green Zone.
Seems to me the media mistakes arrogance or cockiness for intelligence. Other countries seem to appreciate that intelligence over the belligerence of GW. How about we elect the SMART GUY for a change! McC was 4th from the bottom of his class. Obama graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard. I say it's time for a smart president that cares about more than just the richest Americans.

Posted by: Lynne | July 21, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Obama's trip to Afghanistan and Iraq is another serious blow to McCain -- hard to believe he actually asked for it! But there is more to come, for Obama can now base his foreign policy speech in Berlin on his most recent experiences.

Posted by: ergo sum | July 21, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I can't possibly be the only one that's sick and tired of the hatred that's being spewed from both sides. As a registered Republican, I still feel it's my duty to vote for the best candidate -- not simply down the party line. It feels like we're pulling ourselves apart at the seams, and it's pretty disappointing.

Posted by: Dave | July 21, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Claudine 1000 - what language are you speaking? Please pay attention to the political situation on whatever planet you are from and keep your nose out our business.

Posted by: 2EZ | July 21, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Awe.......

Republican = a stunning lack of competency.

The Toe Tapping Republican Propagandist Tools are stuck on this "media-bias" thing today. I guess it will be one of the final cards the trolls can play.

Awe...Toe tappers wonder why the entire world is "biased" against the American Republican.

Yall need a moral boost? Here you go:

The economy has made great progress. Obama supporters are welfare sponges. Democrats are traitors. Republicans are patriots. America is admired around the world. The constitution is for weaklings. Everyone to the left of Dick Cheney is a socialist. We now own Mexico and China. The Saudis beg us for more oil. The millions facing foreclosure are whiners. The largest income inequality since the Great Depression is meaningless. Al-Qaeda has been destroyed. Iran has been weakened. Federal spending over the last 8 years has reduced by a trillion dollars. Scientific facts are a liberal conspiracy. 82% who think the country is on the wrong track drink kool-aid. 66% who disapprove of Bush are communists. Upper-income tax cuts during war make sense. The dollar has never been stronger. NAFTA creates jobs. Only greedy poor people and the media bellyache about skyrocketing gas prices.

After 8 years of the greatest president of all time, Obama will destroy America.


Is that cursory and chimerical enough for you GOPers?

The Democrats win in 08.....there is no debate.

Posted by: ApostasyUSA | July 21, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Toxic speaks for Toxic. Do not confuse his retoric for him being a closet democrat. I know he sounds like one but he has no party affiliation.

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I was surprised by Obama's self-confidence yesterday in his interview with Lara Logan. When he said that he "Never" has any doubts, he essentially told us to remove the safety net below the high-wire upon which he intends he intends to cross.

Well, okay. But I think he should keep two things in mind:

One is that the American people and the world have just endured 8 years of George Bush and Dick Cheney, two supremely confident men;

And two, that the American people are fickle. 80% of us were for the Iraq War before we were against it; and a majority of Americans thought that tax cuts were a good idea and now a majority think that they're not.

The supremely confident Obama will probably succeed in becoming president. But he should know that he better produce the structural and stylistic changes he claims he will bring, because the same American people who vote him him will have no problem dumping the first black president after one term.

He'll be out of office faster than food can pass through a goose because there is one thing of which he can be supremely confident: Americans are tired of the same old ......


Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

This is the silliest article those WAPO
Obama Shill Dopey Dan has dreamed up yet,
as more and more people around the world
realize what a phony lying fraud loser
con man Barack Hussein Obama is and that
Field Marshall Barack von Hussein Obama has
no experience with our US Military and even
less in foreign policy now then. So since
when will a lousy week world tour with only
three stinking days in Afghanistan and Iraq
qualify Herr Obama as a great military
expert? And don't forget General Obama's
big plan to get our US Troops out of Iraq
is,send them Afganistan. What A Liar You
Are Barack Hussein Obama. So,has everyone
forgot how the Viet Nam War Started To
Escaluate Under JFK and LBJ as well? Obama
will draw the US Military into another Viet
Nam War Disaster if Obama is elected President and Commander In Chief of our
Military. So is that what kool aid drinking
Obamafools want here with Obama? NO OBAMA!

Posted by: Claudine 1000 | July 21, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

And, Karen, you needs a grammar checker.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | July 21, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

"A Journey to Prove Himself"
"Obama's trip abroad is a bold response to questions about his foreign policy experience."

Actually, Obama's trip abroad is a perfectly ordinary response to questions by people like Dan Balz about his foreign policy experience.

Let's not forget here, it's either Obama or it's McCain.
Questions about foreign policy experience are quite irrelevant (unfortunately), in view of the fact that the rest of the world simply cannot deal with U.S. Republican corruption, headed by a fool.

This leaves only one alternative:
U.S. Democratic corruption, headed, at least, by a man who is not a fool.

Posted by: wardropper | July 21, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Let Toxic Avenger keep talking his redneck, racist talk. The more people like him get attention the more the mainstream vioters will see what the core of the Republican party has become. Barack wins in a landslide.

Posted by: 2EZ | July 21, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

A "bold" move?? Only those in the fawning media, like the Post, sees this trip as "bold". In fact, it's make-up time for NEVER having been to Afghanistan and missing Iraq for nearly three years!

It's unimaginable that someone with such little experience, with such a thin resume is exalted as the future President of the United States. Wake up, people! This is not some stupid Hollywood made for TV movie. This is real life, as in ALL of our lives, that are on the line.

I'm getting worried here.

Posted by: Bitter small towner | July 21, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

McCain, Party talking points? The press was , when it served its purpose, all over McCain with their slobbery adulation when he was campaigning against George Bush. Now, he no longer serves as a refreshing maverick. They can't use his bi partisan approach to get their guy/party elected. Remember how fawning they were when he was being seriously considered as a Dem VP choice? How wise Kerry would have been?

Posted by: mitchs | July 21, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Another Yoink

Posted by: Huh | July 21, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Chris

Thanks for putting the village idiot in their place. Toxic is one of those wannabe part of the base republicans who thinks being a broke republican gives them the same status as the wealthy ones have. Apparently he is too stupid to realize they (wealthy republicans) think of him as a loser but a vote they can count on. Maybe he and Clarence Thomas can do a skit on JibJab.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Bush and English. Did anybody else see his newest faux pas?

Bush (referring to enemy combatants in Afganistan): They have no disregard for human life.

Posted by: Chris | July 21, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The media never mentions McCain's Keating Five. Why not. Is it pity because he finished at the bottom of his Annapolis class?

Posted by: Fred D Bartleson Jr | July 21, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

AsperGirl


Whaaaaaaaaah!!! Still sore about hillary huh?
Im sure she would have done different, If she were the nominee. But she isn't. What will you do with all your hostility once the election is over and no matter who you vote for or vote against she still wont be president? Nor will she be in 2012. She will never be president. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. You had better go see your doctor because periods aren't suppose to last that long.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

So, to the "Toxic Avenger" whose post appears 2nd on this thread...are you kidding me?

First off, you made a blatantly racist comment. Black people are too stupid to vote republican. I'm sure Clarence Thomas would love to hear that.

2nd of all, anybody capable of trogladydic quips of this level should think really hard before he calls anybody stupid.

3rd of all, Republican voters fall into two categories: Those who are wealthy enough to benefit from the GOP's clearly biased and harmfull economic policies, and those too stupid to realize they're being taken for a ride. So while your president and congress of 6 years have spent most of their time robbing the national coffers blind for their own financial benefit, as well as the financial benefit of their friends and family, you can run around waving your American flag, soiling it all the while.

Racism doesn't play this year. But you will see in November.

Posted by: Chris | July 21, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

From the pictures we're seeing, the military and foreign leaders Obama is meeting with seem to be impressed with the guy. Nothing I've seen so far indicates that anyone over there thinks the world will end if he's elected; some seem to positively like the idea. So if it's true that what is good for Obama is bad for McCain and the Republicans, then that is so only if they choose to make it so. For his part, Obama seems to be conducting himself in a way that most Americans would expect of themselves and their government.

Posted by: thewolf1 | July 21, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

McCain is to geography what Bush is to english.

Posted by: Spectator2 | July 21, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama will win all the intellectual and sane voters but he won't the bible thumper because they have no brain of thier own and that is why they vote republican. Bush won't be a president if there were no brainless idiots in this country.

Posted by: Sidd | July 21, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Toxic Avenger

When will you realize that your anti-obama hater rhetoric will not change anyones minds nor does anyone care to change your mind about him. Just shut up and vote for who you like. Your about as relevant as my last bowel movement yet you're posting like people actually care what you think of Obama. We really don't. Why don't you do a write in vote for hillary and go change your tampon.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama's trip is an attempt to portray a profound flip flop on what he marketed as a principled, visionary stand in Iraq, as a journey, or evolution in thinking. The whole trip and the media's disingenuous coverage of the parade, is a political spin farce.

Posted by: AsperGirl | July 21, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

He may win the black vote, as they are too stupid to vote republican, but it's not going to carry him in November.

Posted by: Toxic Avenger | July 21, 2008

Don't you feel silly sitting at your computer wearing that pointy white hat?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama is not ceding the foreign policy debate BECAUSE HE HAS THE BETTER PLAN, PRINCIPLES, AND JUDGMENT.

In other words, he believes what he says, and says what he believes, and unlike McCain, he's not just spewing party talking points to win an election.

Posted by: Foreign Policy | July 21, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Dan,

Did you hear the McCain gaffe in which he said on ABC news this morning that Iraq and Pakistan border each other.

They don't. McCain needs a geography lesson.

Posted by: Michelle | July 21, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed that the great messiah did not realize that the Reverend Wright was a racist, eventhough he spent over 20 years at his church, but he knows how to predict the end of a war-which is retreat. How the press continues to follow this empty-suit speaks volumes of their lack of ethics. He may win the black vote, as they are too stupid to vote republican, but it's not going to carry him in November.

Posted by: Toxic Avenger | July 21, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Balz need therapy. His days on MSNBC are showing his partisan tilt. His constant awe of Obama, and his lack of scrutiny of Obama is why newspapers are shrinking and the public thinks the media is in the tank for Obama. We have big media censoring the truth and using propaganda to prop up its candidate. We have only to look at Obama's lack of success in serving the people of Chicago and Illinois to see what is ahead.

Posted by: Karen | July 21, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

abhinave did a great job in summarizing Obama's foreign policy prowess: "It seems that increasingly Obama is proving to be consistently right and his foresight is already shaping US foreign policy in a new direction."

The real question is whether the MSM, including Mr. Balz, can rise to the level of Obama's intellect and insight. The old narrative of Obama having to struggle to show his international bona fides is rendered obsolete by his consistent success in guiding and anticipating U.S. foreign policy in the areas where it counts most.

The most important question the media needs to be asking now is can McCain continue to proclaim his foreign policy expertise in the face of daily gaffe, mental recessions, and bone-headed assertions? This is a guy who mixes up Sunni and Shi'ia, who thinks Czechoslovakia is still a country, who wants to bomb, bomb Iran, and who thinks that Iraq and Afghanistan share a border. McCain thinks that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea and has only this week come to the realization that the key front in the battle against al Qaeda is along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Obama said this over a year ago.

Quoting Newt Gingrich at length does not give me confidence that Mr. Balz is up to the daunting task of keeping up with Obama.

Posted by: dee | July 21, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Gingrich's "questions" are shrewdly stated. Any candidate would look stupid to come back and say, as Gov. George Romney somewhat after returning from Vietnam, I was brainwashed. The public doesn't want humble, hem-n-haw; they want JFK or Reagan or FDR confidence. Yet Newt claims that "Gee, I didn't know the world was so biiig!" is what people want from Obama.

The fact that Balz doesn't evaluate Newt's cleverness suggests either 1) he didn't notice it and thought Newt was a just a thoughtful non-partisan librarian from Oshkosh, rather than the middle term between Lee Atwater and Karl Rove, or 2) he wants to amplify Newt's subtle spin.

I listened to Ed Murrow's I Can Hear It Now records as a kid; I long to find commentators/journalists/bloggers who have some real insight and experience of their own they want to share, no axes ground. I was disappointed here.

Posted by: jb23 | July 21, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that was a balanced well thought out analysis. Congratulations to Mr. Balz. Normally all i see here is how could this be bad for Obama. What are the risks for Obama. Is Obama arrogant and elitist! Today we get an anlysis showing how this was a good thing for Obama tempered by the remarks of Gingrich, which i don't agree with, but do have a place at the table.

Good Job!!

Posted by: rbt | July 21, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Of course, Bush and McCain are both following Obama on foreign policy. We now have time "Horizons" in Iraq, we are talking with Iran and McCain says now that we need to send more troops to Afghanistan. These are all areas where Obama has been leading in foreign policy for many months. Now McCain and Bush are catching up. Why don't the news media mention this? McCain cuts down Obama while following Obama's lead... the height of hypocrisy on McCain's part and the media should be pointing this out. But the media stays quiet. Guess who the media is protecting. They are protecting McCain from himself.

Posted by: Goldie | July 21, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

As Barack Obama began his trip to the Middle East and Europe, the media was already speculating about the possibility of a gaffe. Obama's travel "carries political risk," the New York Times reported, "particularly if Mr. Obama makes a mistake."

But the only foreign policy error made in the last few days came this morning on ABC's Good Morning America, when John McCain made ANOTHER geography gaffe while trying to criticize Obama's visit to Iraq. (Just last week, McCain repeatedly referred to Czechoslovakia, a country that hasn't existed since 1993.)

Asked by Diane Sawyer whether the "the situation in Afghanistan in precarious and urgent," McCain responded: "I think it's serious. . . . It's a serious situation, but there's a lot of things we need to do. We have a lot of work to do and I'm afraid it's a very hard struggle, particularly given the situation on the Iraq/Pakistan border."

But as ABC's Rick Klein noted: "Iraq and Pakistan do not share a border. Afghanistan and Pakistan do."

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

What Obama shows is that he is Presidential. As for Newt's comments - who cares.

I think Obama is showing the world that with him as President he will consider their ideas and work with foreign leaders instead of acting like a bad cowboy.

Posted by: Presidential | July 21, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

what I find amazing is that Obama is regarded as weak on foreign policy by most americans. I see it as a definite strength. Because McCain shares Bush's vision he is considered strong on foreign policy? Seriously? Just goes to show you the ignorance of most Americans that after seven and half years of the crappiest foreign policy and international relations this country has had in memory, an approach that McCain wants to continue, Obama is the one who is considered the weak candidate.

And this idiot reporter above is quoting Gingrich as his expert. Apparently neither of them has been reading the papers or following the news this week.

Wow.

Posted by: elizabeth | July 21, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if all of you puritian Newt haters will hold Barrack to the same standards of conduct. Please do.

Posted by: Mitchs | July 21, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

He is not out to prove himself, he is out to change into whatever it takes to get elected. As he out liberaled Hillary to win there, now he will out conservative McCain. Thats the change he is talking about. A true lawyer who will do anything to get elected.

Posted by: frank | July 21, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm,
The KKK and Nazi's are not in the streets to protest McCain. So ALL of the crazies must love him. What a criminal.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

i am indeed troubled by the fact that Newt has been allowed to drive the CW on Obama's trip by Dan Balz, one of the most influential reporters of cable news. The analysis, i think, is on point. Obama sincerely does not think that if he were to sit down for three straight hours with Mccain and have a substantive discussion, he'd lose. He thinks that he'd win it hands down, and having read most of his foreign policy focused interviews in their entirety, i agree. and i think that this trip is designed to bring this CW up front so he can chatter it in rather spectacular fashion, in order to make a more informed vice presidential pick. I think that what he lacked perhaps back in june 07 in terms of how the political media operates, he's amply made up for it, and now that won't get in the way of his expression of his vision.

But i'll reiterate that i'm frankly scandalized that as authoritarian a reporter as Dan Balz would seek out a republican to drive home his preferred version of the CW of Obama's trip. That, i think, was irresponsible.

Posted by: lupercal | July 21, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

He does, secretly with his own press. Stays on the ground for like a few hours pretending to be important, doing phony staged photo op's like the one Mccain did in the market place. Then comes home and lies about what took place. Remember him saying how he walked through the market and it was perfectly safe with people doing business. He said general Petraeus regularly walks around with just a few troops and never wares a vest, that later Petraeus had to issue a statement that it was not true. Then the pictures came out with Mccain in a flak jacket and 100 troops surrounding him and six helicopters above. The whole market place had been carefully prepared for the phony pictures. Not something a senator a has the power to do. The white house put our soldiers in added danger as well as diverted resources for this phony staged political farce. Did they actually think they would get away with it? But why even bother talking about it, we know Mccain is a phony anyway. This was just another example. Amazing what can be done with a military record when your father is an Admiral.

+++++
Why doesn't McCain travel overseas like Obama?

Does McCain even know there is a world outside of his oxygen tank?

Posted by: | July 21, 2008 2:09 PM

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm,
The Communists and Greenies are not in the streets to protest Obama. So ALL of Europe must love him. What a crock.

Posted by: Mitchs | July 21, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

If gas is still $4.00 a gallon come Novemeber, and I have every reason to believe that it will be, then, barring a serious health issue or major scandal, Obama is going to be the next President.

Clinton won in '92, against an incumbent who had just won a war, and despite his own significant character issues, because of a lousy economy.

Will people care that Obama is black? Did people care that Clinton was a cad?

At the end of the day, people care about themselves. They feel the pain in their pockets- and if that continues the Republicans will get punished for it.

Posted by: JR, Boston | July 21, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

actually.... I couldn't read the article. WaPo, if you are going to put Gingrich into a story... please, please put his name in the sub-title so as we don't start reading the story and surprise, find you goo goo gaw gawing with that vapid criminal. Really, I'm serious. Surely you can find a repug to criticize Obama with out digging through the garbage of yesteryear. Plus there is the gross out factor, he is absolutely sickening. I'm thinking of skipping lunch now.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 21, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

You talk about Gingrich asking Obama to acknowledge errors on the trip abroad....

What errors is he atlking about?
- Maybe setting up a timetable (or time horizon) for withdrawing US troops, like Maliki and even Bush agreed.
- Maybe setting up a strategy for withdrawing troops sooner than later, hopefully by 2010, like Maliki's spokesman said today.
- Maybe sending more troops to fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, like military commanders have asked for.
- Maybe calling for surgical strikes within Pakistan in light of actionable intelligence against Al-Qaeda leadership if Musharraf is not willing to act on it, like the US admitted doing recently.
- Maybe making aid to Pak contingent on its efforts to stop support to taliban & Al-Qaeda
- Maybe suggestions for negotiating with North Lorea like the US recently did to the effect of dismantling of some of NK's nuclear refinement facilities.
- Maybe suggestions for staring negotiations with Iran that the US started a few days ago...

It seems that increasingly Obama is proving to be consistently right and his foresight is already shaping US foreign policy in a new direction.

Posted by: Abhinav | July 21, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

This trip and what will follow begs to ask, what is left for Mccain to complain about? Mccain will become so irrelevant over the next few months people will forget who Obama is running against.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't McCain travel overseas like Obama?

Does McCain even know there is a world outside of his oxygen tank?

Posted by: Anonymous | July 21, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I can't say that I believe Newt Gingrich's test is the appropriate lense to frame Obama's trip. Indeed, the fact that Balz chooses to cite Gingrich is troubling in that an individual with a greater degree of "independence" might be more trustworthy and helpful for a reader trying to cut through the politicking. Is there a dearth of such commentators that justifies quoting Gingrich?

Much like McCain's test of "Obama should go to Iraq," and then his following conclusion that "Obama went to Iraq because I told him to," Gingrich's test sets Obama up for failure. If he changes his position, he is a flip-flopper and is adopting "McCain's position." If he doesn't change his position, he's vain, stubborn, and idealogical.

I imagine Obama will come back saying much of what he has been saying, which is that the troops should come home as soon as possible and that the timing depends on the facts on the ground. Certainly he has stated that 16 months is a "goal," but not once has he said that it was somehow written in stone. Again, as regurgitated by Gingrich, is the implicit accusation that Obama is somehow adhering, despite reality, to a firm 16 months date for withdrawal. I challenge someone to show me a statement where he hasn't qualified this goal by stating that he will listen to the generals.

Posted by: ptu | July 21, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I have always and will always believe Fairfax Voter that the government belongs to the people. I suspect the video footage of Obama speeches overseas will show many people cheering him on which will be an entirely different picture from Bush with foreigners yelling and opposing him.

I'm not overly concerned with Newt's analysis of Obama. Newt talks more about how smart and intelligent Obama is compared to McCain.

Also Newt strongly favors "Bobby" Jindal as McCain's vice-president pick. This a clear and fast way for Obama to have a 20pt lead in the polls come Oct 15th!

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 21, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"...to Gingrich, one measure of the trip will be the degree to which Obama is willing to acknowledge that what he has seen has changed his thinking."

In light of Maliki's U.S. out in 2010 statement, it looks to me that Obama's thinking doesn't need much changing.

Now McCain? I don't think he's changed his thinking in years. He thinks we should still be fighting in Vietnam.

Posted by: Wirro | July 21, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

The GOP strategy now, echoed somewhat in this piece, is to portray Obama as arrogant, cocky, too-successful. If Rove aims at the strong suits of opponents, clearly they see Obama's strong suit as the fact that he is almost too perfect--smart, handsome, well-spoken, right on opposing the war etc. Thus, the better Obama does, the more it proves he is not "one of us." Of course, this also allows the McCain camp to finesse the racial issue, because if there is anything (many would agree) that Americans dislike more than a know-it-all, it is a know-it-all African American (ie uppity). I certainly think the racial dynamic energizes the issue without dipping into overt racism.

Of course that leaves our fallback, a loveable failure, near last in his class, John McCain.

Posted by: Cornfields | July 21, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

He's doing well, I think, in the trip so far. Talking quietly off-camera with leaders and listening to what they say, not overstepping his current role as Senator, encouraging the troops. He certainly helps us visualize how he'd seem as president meeting with foreign and military leaders, and it looks right to me.

My one worry is the German speech, which the German politicians have done a pretty good job of messing up with their internal finger-pointing and domestic politics. But I've yet to be disappointed by an Obama speech. He usually understands potential concerns about a given address and knows how to address them at the time.

(Certainly it won't be like President Bush's 60th-anniversary address to the Knesset, using the birth of Israel as a time to take a cheap political shot. Horrors. Talk about setting the bar low for future presidents...)

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | July 21, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

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