While Sen. Barack Obama was being feted in Kabul, Baghdad, Amman and Berlin this week, Sen. John McCain was picking up support in places like Minnesota, Colorado and Michigan.
Obama's tour of the Mideast and Europe has dominated the headlines, and his high-power schedule seemed to dwarf McCain's effort at publicity each day. As Obama spoke before 200,000 cheering Germans in Berlin, the Arizona Republican stumped in the Schmitz Sausage Haus und Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
The publicity mismatch continues on the final day of Obama's whirlwind tour as the Democratic candidate meets with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. McCain, meanwhile, will sit down with the Dalai Lama in Aspen, Colorado.
Success Abroad, Doubts Linger at Home
Despite being treated like a head of state elsewhere, Obama has not yet been able to eliminate doubts among U.S. voters in key battleground states that may decide the election.
Four Quinnipiac/Wall Street Journal/Washington Post.com battleground state polls released this week found that Obama's 17-point lead over McCain in the swing state of Minnesota has been cut to two points.
In a June poll, McCain trailed Obama by five points in Colorado, the state where the Democrats will hold their nominating convention next month. But Quinnipiac's latest survey indicates that McCain has pulled ahead by two points.
McCain has also nibbled Obama's lead in Michigan from six points to four. But Obama continues to hold a commanding 50-39 lead in Wisconsin.
ABC News' senior Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos says McCain's gains in Michigan are significant.
"You have this disconnect between what we see overseas and the fact that some polls are softening at home in some key states," he said.
"Michigan is key to his electoral strategy. If he can steal that state from the Democrats, he's got a great chance of winning," Stephanopoulos told GMA.
Back on Home Turf, Focus on Domestic Issues
The effects of Obama's weeklong world tour, like Thursday's remarkable turnout in Berlin, has yet to be calculated among American voters. It was intended to bolster Obama's standing among voters as a potential world leader, and Obama did not make any gaffes that could have hurt him.
"The trip on its own terms was a clean success," ABC News' senior Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos told "Good Morning America" on Friday.
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told ABCNews.com that Obama's esteem overseas could hurt him at home.
"Any time a candidate from any country is super-popular abroad, he or she has a problem," O'Hanlon said.
O'Hanlon calls this the "Tony Blair Effect." The more popular the former U.K. prime minister was in the U.S. because of his support of the Iraq war, the more disliked he was at home.
O'Hanlon says Obama must be cautious.
"It's worth remembering that Obama is running in a country that has consistently been leery of the United Nations and multi-lateralism and of a... globalized way of looking at the world," he said.
"This could lead to a backlash," said O'Hanlon, adding that the praise Obama is receiving in Europe may make some undecided voters suspicious at home.
Stephanopoulos noted that the Illinois senator and his team realize that the election will also turn on domestic issues.
"They know they have to make a hard turn now on the economy," Stephanopoulos said on "GMA."
The Veepstakes Is Coming!
As Obama returns home and McCain mulls a manuever to wrestle back the spotlight, the candidates are moving towards the next big moment in the campaign: picking their running mates.
The Washington Post reported Friday that McCain is ready to announce his pick and that it would be made before the Aug. 8 start of the Olympics.
The short list reportedly includes former presidential rival and one-time Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is also a native of Michigan, where his father served as a popular governor of the Wolverine State in the late 1960s.
Also at the top of McCain's list: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a young moderate governor of a Democratic-leaning state that McCain could aim to pick off in November, and former Pennslyvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who served as the first Secretary of Homeland Security but whose pro-abortion rights stance could rile conservatives.
Republican longshots include former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, the city's current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and one-time Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.
Stephanopoulos said he believes Obama will announce his pick in mid-August with the leading contenders believed to be Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Stephanopoulos said of Clinton: "Eighteen million votes, it's hard to take her off the list. But all the indications are that she is not Barack Obama's top choice."