Of course we couldn't let the Obama-thon World Tour go without analyzing just a little bit... So we officially present to you:
The Obama World Tour Report CardIn the interest of not re-hashing everything that has been on every cable-news channel and news report for the past two weeks this will be a quick strike report card. Quick, clear, and fair. What did Senator Barack Obama want out of his destination, what he got, where that got him, and a Grade. An overall grade is given at the end.
What was the objective: Land the plane somewhere "safe", Visit the troops, feign watchers into thinking he was going to Iraq
What actually happened: Visited troops, didn't play basketball because he was hurt
Problems: Low media reporting (in part due to clamping down on information about his next destination), not a lot of coverage of him with the troops (besides the picture above and a few more)
Grade: C-, people barely even know he was there.. or that he visited the troops there.
What was the objective: Face time with President Hamid Karzai; Talk about importance of "original" War on Terror
What actually happened: Superb photo-op of Obama (walking with Karzai) looking presidential (above); Obama appears to be brave arriving days after 9 US troops are killed in Afghanistan; visits Bagram Airbase
Problems: Not a lot of face time with troops or commanders; only stays in safest part of Kabul; email about his alleged disrespect on his visit to Bagram sets the blogosphere on fire
Grade: B+/A-, First real coverage and pictures broadcast in the US show a confident Obama, followed by Sen. Hagel (R-NE) and Sen. Reed (D-R.I.) talking with President Karzai and looking very much at home What was the objective: Prove his plan on Iraq is based on facts on the ground, meet with US Generals, meet with the Iraqi Prime Minister (and have him agree with the 16-month plan); battle McCain ads bringing up his two-year absence from Iraq
What actually happened: Picture perfect. Another Superb Photo of Obama, Gen. Petraeus , and Hagel in a copter over Baghdad; Iraqi PM al-Maliki basically endorsed Obama again.. (this time accompanied by a press conference)
Problems: Sticks around the Green Zone
Grade: A-/A, sticks to his message and seems genuinely Presidential while chatting with Gen. Petraeus and Iraqi PM What was the objective: Visit an Arab Ally in the region, Meet with the King of Jordan - Abdullah II, Talk about Mid-East Peace
What actually happened: Met with the King (another great Photo-Op), got Chauffeured by the King (in his Mercedes S600 S-Guard), got lectured on the history and imperatives of Middle-East Peace, visited the ancient Amman Citadel (pictured above - Hagel on right, Reed on Left)
Problems: Getting told what to do by a King without actually being President sort-of hurt, talking about democracy and then visiting and commending a Monarchy is a bit ironic
Grade: B+, not very high-publicity visit but looked very comfortable in the Royal setting and fluent in Middle-East concerns. What was the objective: Calm American Jewish concerns that he is not Pro-Israel enough, appear interested in solving the Israeli-Palestinian question
What actually happened: Met with PM Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak (pictured above - on left), and FM Tzipi Livini(pictured above - on right); visits a Holocaust Museum (and looks moved); goes to the West Wall wearing a Yarmulke
Problems: Had conflicting messages about his view for Jerusalem, his youth creates the impression that he is not fully aware of the long painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
Grade: C, meh.. he didn't do too bad but it seemed too formulaic without much real substance.
To be continued...
Please leave comments! Part II is coming withing a couple days.