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.
"They will be saying, 'Yes, as a political candidate, I am doing the things that are necessary to ensure American leadership abroad,'" says Tom Henriksen, a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. "So they reassure the electorate."
Obama to visit Iraq
Senator Obama has announced visits to Israel, Jordan, Britain, France, and Germany. Campaign advisers say he also plans to visit Iraq and Afghanistan this summer, but have declined to release details for security reasons. Obama has visited Iraq only once, on a congressional delegation in 2006, a point of derision for McCain, who has visited Iraq eight times. McCain had proposed they visit Iraq together, but Obama dismissed that as a "political stunt."