The Note: Moving On

Everyone's not convinced: "By Mr. Obama's own account, neither U.S. commanders nor Iraq's principal political leaders actually support his strategy," reads The Washington Post editorial. "Yesterday he denied being 'so rigid and stubborn that I ignore anything that happens during the course of the 16 months,' though this would be more reassuring if Mr. Obama were not rigidly and stubbornly maintaining his opposition to the successful 'surge' of the past 16 months."

Does this mean he didn't need the trip, after all? (No.) "I asked if he learned anything that changed his mind about any part of his thinking on foreign affairs," ABC's Jake Tapper reports. "The answer was basically: No. . . . Obama learned a few things -- all of which reaffirmed his already established views. Nothing that changed his mind about anything."

"I feel as if I had a good grasp of the situation before I went. It confirmed a lot of my beliefs with respect to the issues," Obama told Time's Karen Tumulty on the flight between Amman and Tel Aviv.

This is what he's got to watch, particularly with the Berlin speech looming Thursday: "For the second time in as many days, reporters traveling with Mr. Obama on his overseas trip corrected campaign staffers for saying White House practices also govern his campaign in dealing with the press, or in delivering speeches," Donald Lambro writes in the Washington Times.

"[Obama] advisers said that a major speech planned for Thursday in Berlin -- at an outdoor park with the public invited no less -- barely was connected with getting Obama elected president," Lynn Sweet writes in the Chicago Sun-Times. "Maybe when the U.S. president gives a speech it is not political, but when Obama does, in the midst of his race with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), of course it is political."

"As the presumptive Democratic nominee tours five countries in five days, he brings an entourage that would make a pop star envious," Politico's Carrie Budoff Brown writes. Says McCain spokesman Brian Rogers: "Who does he think he is? Clay Aiken?"

A few days into the trip, McCain seems to have settled on his response -- the one that makes it up about the surge more than the broader war. "I had the courage and the judgment to say that I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war.  It seems to me that Sen. Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign," McCain said in Rochester, N.H., Tuesday, per ABC's Jennifer Duck.

(Time's Joe Klein: "This is the ninth presidential campaign I've covered. I can't remember a more scurrilous statement by a major party candidate. It smacks of desperation.")

"McCain spoke with vigor during a town hall meeting at the Rochester Opera House yesterday afternoon, touting his experience over that of Obama's as he distinguished his own policies on Iraq and energy from that of the Democratic senator from Illinois," Clynton Namuo writes in the New Hampshire Union-Leader.

Stepping it up: "Randy Scheunemann, Mr. McCain's chief foreign policy aide, sarcastically asked if Mr. Obama's foreign policy credentials were based on his attendance at a junior high school in Indonesia or a trip he took to Pakistan during spring break in college," Elisabeth Bumiller writes in The New York Times. "Mr. Scheunemann added that Mr. Obama 'seems to forget that we have elections in this country, not coronations.' "

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