The Note: Obama Trip Has McCain on Defensive

By Alexa Ainsworth

Jul 23, 2008 8:18am

ABC News’ Rick Klein Reports in Wednesday’s Note: Some lessons at the approximate midpoint of Sen. Barack Obama’s week overseas:

The success of a surge is something Obama can’t really account for comfortably.

But that probably won’t matter — since for purposes of the national debate, he’s essentially ended the war.

Sen. John McCain has found a voice in criticizing Obama over the surge  (not to mention one in ribbing the media).

But that probably won’t matter, either (and the reason is only tangentially related to the media coverage Obama is getting).

Obama has moved on — and he’s taken the campaign debate with him.

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.

He has grown in stature through his foreign trip — and only partly because he’s been received like a world leader by his hosts (how many people ride shotgun with the king of Jordan?), been cast as a president by the news coverage, and has acted like a president by remaking the discussion over the issue that continues to pose the biggest single threat to his candidacy.

Obama jokes with ABC’s Charlie Gibson Wednesday that he’s “cropping a lot of gray hair over the last year and a half” to deal with worries that he’s too young and inexperienced.

“There is no doubt that as somebody who has not been in the national political scene as long as John McCain, that people are going to have more questions, and I think that’s perfectly appropriate,” Obama said, in a portion of the interview broadcast on “Good Morning America” Wednesday.

On a nuclear Iran (a huge issue in Israel): “I’m going to do everything in my power not to have to make that choice. If Iran gets a nuclear weapon, it triggers a potential arms race, nuclear arms race in the Middle East, that is not only life threatening to Israel but it is a profound, a game-changing shift when it comes to our national security. We have to do everything we can to prevent it.”

(More of that interview later Wednesday, on the “World News” broadcast and Webcast. And ABC’s David Wright sits down with McCain for an interview in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Tuesday.)

Continue reading today’s Note by clicking HERE.

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

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