The Note: Obama Seeks New Image in Foreign Travel

By John Santucci

Jun 30, 2008 8:29am

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports in Monday’s Note: What — 50 states aren’t enough for these guys?

The latest odd turn in the race that’s seen everything has Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain seeing places that presidential candidates just don’t visit very often.

McCain is next up with a three-day trip to Colombia and Mexico that starts Tuesday, after two previous foreign trips this year brought him to Europe and the Middle East.

Obama is planning an extensive itinerary for next month: Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Jordan, England, France, and Germany — just as foreign policy is set to resonate on the trail again,  as Obama talks patriotism,  and as Democrats seek to grab the national-security mantle from McCain (under the cover of downed fighter planes). 

This latest Obama introduction starts at home, with a “major speech” on patriotism scheduled for Independence, Mo., Monday morning. (Fun game: Count the American flags — including the pin on Obama’s lapel — at the event site.)

Read the rest of The Note — and get all the latest on the 2008 election, Congress, the White House and the wide world of politics every day — from Rick Klein by bookmarking this link.

Independence Day means patriot’s week for Obama: “The message will be that love of country is not defined only by such traditional measures as serving in the military or tracing one’s ancestors to the Mayflower,” John McCormick writes in the Chicago Tribune. “Patriotism, he and his supporters will say, can be reflected in living the national dream, which in Obama’s case means rising as the Hawaiian-born son of a Kenyan father and Kansan mother to professional and political prominence.”

“In the coming days, Obama is expected to visit some traditionally red states as he seeks to broaden the electoral battleground,” McCormick writes. “Over the weekend, his campaign also announced a trip this summer to Europe and the Middle East, where Obama’s popularity could be on display and his standing as a diplomatic figure boosted.”

We’ve done the math for you: The candidates’ foreign destinations award a grand total of zero electoral votes.

But the coming trips provide opportunities for both men in the tentative definitional dance of the early stage of the general election. And risks: Gaffes carry a multiplier of approximately three when committed abroad, and the visuals are not always under the control of a campaign operating in foreign territory.

Continue reading today’s Note by clicking HERE.

ABC News’ John Santucci and Alexa Ainsworth contributed to this report.

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