Fresh off his world tour, Barack Obama says his trip has served to confirm his views on the Iraq war and other foreign policy topics. Most notably, Obama says his timetable for withdrawal from Iraq will remain in place if he is elected president in November.
Story from Fox News:
Barack Obama said Saturday that his weeklong trip to Europe and the Middle East only reinforced his foreign policy views, telling FOX News that his proposed troop withdrawal timetable and other military strategies will stay in place if he is elected president.
Rival John McCain had criticized Obama for setting his policies toward Iraq and Afghanistan before traveling to the two war zones. He argued Obama was stubbornly rejecting the advice of commanders before even meeting with them.
But the Illinois senator said Saturday, shortly before heading home to Chicago, that his observations overseas affirmed he had a grasp of the â€œbroad strategic outlinesâ€ before going.
â€œWhat happens on a trip like this is, I think, you deepen your understandings,â€ Obama told FOX Newsâ€™ Bill Hemmer in London.
â€œThere was a lot of confirmation of my strategies â€” that we need to get more troops into Afghanistan, and that the Iraqis are willing to take more responsibility â€¦ that Iran is a grave threat.â€
He said his plan to withdraw combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office is one â€œI will abide by fully,â€ though he will take â€œfacts on the groundâ€ into account during that process.
As the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee took off from London, it was unclear what the immediate impact of his high-profile tour would be.
Though polls have fluctuated slightly, the Gallup tracking poll Saturday showed Obama with a 7-point lead â€” up from a 6-point advantage the day before and a 2-point edge the day before that.
Obama told reporters Saturday, after a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, that he doesnâ€™t expect any immediate political impact and suggested he might even see a dip in the polls. He said the point of the trip was to strengthen partnerships overseas.
Meanwhile, here’s a video report from ABC News with some comments from American citizens on Obama’s trip:
Largely it seems Obama scored favorable coverage from his world tour while McCain was largely ignored back here. I was pretty certain McCain was going to pick a VP just to steal some of Obama’s coverage, however, it never happened.