His foreign-policy credentials will likely be tested as he travels abroad.
john sommers II/reuters
The question is, what sort of presumptive Democratic candidate will his domestic audience see? Will it be someone reminiscent of John F. Kennedy – cool, articulate, and the center of cheering foreign crowds?
Or will it be a traveler more like candidate Jimmy Carter – an inexperienced, provincial politician on a learning tour?
For the Illinois senator, the inherent risks in his travel are intensified by the fact that he will visit the Middle East, a place where, for American politicians, every word counts and the smallest misstep can become a huge gaffe.
"For Obama this trip is essential," says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. "If anything trips him up, other than race, it is going to be his lack of foreign experience."
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