The two presidential candidates plan trips abroad to build their foreign-policy credentials.
Jae C. Hong/AP
Washington - Globalization has hit American presidential politics.
As never before, the two main candidates have carved out international itineraries that are taking them to major world capitals and hot spots – a diversion from the usual hopscotch campaign map that tends to favor the swing regions of, say, Ohio and Florida.
For Republican John McCain, multiple trips to Iraq, a recent visit to Canada, and a swing through Latin America that begins Tuesday showcase an already strong international profile from his Navy years, followed by more than two decades on the Senate Armed Services Committee. A meeting (and photo op) in Washington last Saturday with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani shows that Senator McCain doesn't even need to leave the country to burnish his foreign-policy credentials.
For Democrat Barack Obama, a multinational tour of Europe and the Middle East scheduled for mid-July aims to add some heft to the Illinois senator's light foreign-policy résumé – and, in Europe at least, tap into the Obamamania that's already in full flower.
America's image abroad has taken a major hit during the Bush presidency, with an unpopular US-led war in Iraq and positions on global warming at odds with much of the developed world. Both candidates seem eager to repair that. But the messages will be aimed as much at American voters as at foreign audiences.
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