Obama Embarks On Tour Of Europe, Mideast
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's own Don Gonyea has covered the Obama campaign for many months, and he's on the line. Don, good morning.
DON GONYEA: Good morning.
INSKEEP: What's on the official agenda here?
GONYEA: We are all kind of assuming that will be part of this trip. It has not been announced. Obviously, if that happens, it'll happen amid, you know, great security and, likely, secrecy.
INSKEEP: And you do have to ask, if he is going on this trip or a later trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, how much can a presidential candidate learn when trailed by three network anchors, all the security and everything else that's necessary on a trip like this?
GONYEA: The official campaign part of the trip will be that official itinerary that I mentioned. But even so, it is, you know, a quick stop. It is a chance to meet with commanders. It is a chance to sit down with soldiers and look them in the eye and hear their concerns. It's a chance to get some sense of the place and what it feels like today. And again, he will be able to, you know, sit down face to face with Iraqi leaders, which is always an important thing to do. And maybe just as importantly, it takes away an attack from Senator McCain during the campaign - that Senator Obama just hasn't been there in so long and that he's never been to Afghanistan.
INSKEEP: Well, let me get to a question of substance that surely will be addressed at whatever time Barack Obama comes back from Iraq. Is his position on Iraq and getting troops out of Iraq changing or evolving as the situation on the ground seems to change?
GONYEA: He has said he still sticks by that plan, but he is going to get a lot of questions once he sits down with these leaders. So we'll see if there is shift.
INSKEEP: Okay, Don, safe travels.
GONYEA: All right, thank you.
INSKEEP: That's NPR's Don Gonyea, who has been covering Barack Obama's campaign. Senator Obama is expected to begin a journey to at least five nations in the coming days, and one possible place that he could go is Iraq. We'll wait for more details as we learn them.
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