That's my assessment midway through Senator Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe.
The idea of interviewing for the job of U.S. Commander-in-Chief by traveling abroad, visiting with war zone and European allies, accompanied by MSM, is hugely bold and risky. Too risky most U.S. politicians, but not for the audacious Barack Obama -- and it's paying off.
Middle Eastern and European leaders are lining up to meet and be seen with Obama -- the likely next leader of the world's most powerful nation. The pictures being broadcast back home are awesome. And Senator Obama grows in stature with every new foreign dignitary he meets.
Here's what's happened thus far:
1) The soldiers in Kuwait were absolutely giddy to have Obama visit and give them his vow of support. To cap it off, Obama's 3 pointer sent the auditorium of hard boiled military heroes into levels of excitement typically reserved for idol worshipping teenie boppers.
2) The video of Obama's swish immediately went viral and the netroots across the blogosphere nearly fainted in delight.
3) Next came Obama's visit with Afghanistan's beleaguered President Karzai.
Not only did Obama look imminently credible as a potential U.S. President, but more importantly, the Afghanistan leaders looked genuinely relieved to have an American leader make the sorts of commitments the Bush Regime should have been made from the start.
After all, it was the Taliban that harbored and aided the terrorists of 9/11; and it's the Taliban and Al Qaeda that are killing U.S. soldiers and weakening the Afghan government. Duh!!!
4) Most surprisingly, Obama's position of refocusing the 'War on Terror' on the Afghanistan theatre received unexpected support back home from two newly minted converts: George W. Bush and John McCain.
5) Yesterday, Obama met with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders, and walked-away with not-so-subtle endorsements of his plan to phase down U.S. combat troops.
6) Additionally, Obama did a Baghdad flyover with Petraeus and received the general's unfiltered take on the Iraq War. (I'd love to hear what Petraeus said privately to Obama.)
7) Today, Obama held an outdoor press conference in Jordan where he took questions about his trip from America's news heavy weights. A relaxed Obama was in command and looked presidential. Later, Obama meets with Jordan's King Abdullah for talks and photos.
8) Tomorrow, Obama travels to Israel where he'll reassure Israeli leaders and citizens of his support for the Jewish state and for a peaceful and equitable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem.
9) Obama then travels to Germany for a major foreign policy speech in Berlin's Tiergarten; followed by visits with France's Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace, Friday, and UK's Gordon Brown at Downing Street, Saturday.
10) Obama then returns home triumphantly and with enhanced stature--at least that's what the Obama folks hope.
The Obama camp's brilliance is contrasted by McCain camp's silliness. Upset that Obama is getting lots of attention on his swing foreign policy tour, a grumpy McCain campaign is bitterly complaining that the media is biased for Obama.
Apparently, the McCain people have forgotten Ronald Reagan's first PR rule: Give reporters something to write about--and/or, give them great pictures.
Q: Exactly what is McCain offering the press--and news readers/viewers?
For example, McCain travelled to New Hampshire for a town hall meeting--something he's done there over 100 times. Not exactly newsworthy. That's probably why there was only one reporter for the McCain party's arrival in Manchester.
And it's not only the "liberal" MSM that finds McCain recently less than newsworthy. Here's what conservative Jack Engelhard writes about this very point:
This we know. Reporters, by the hundreds and even the thousands, serve as Obama’s fan club and honor guard. They are his roadies, his groupies. But at least Obama gives them a story. McCain has no story and if he does, he’s already given it and there’s nothing more to say – nothing fresh, for sure. That unnecessary smile and those two thumbs up don’t do the trick.The McCain camp is so desperate for attention that allied conservative, columnist Robert Novak, is aiding the campaign by "divulging" that a VP may named as early as this weekend. However, don't expect to see an actual announcement anytime soon because doing so gives away McCain's only newsworthy story too soon. What else will he have to dangle before the media?
What's apparent in this unique week of presidential politicing is that Obama has a campaign plan that he's methodically following--and McCain doesn't. Without his own plan, McCain's is left simply reacting to what Obama--and Obama surrogates, family members, friends, aquaintances, former ministers, neighbors, etc.--say and do.
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