There was never any doubt that Obama is popular in Europe, but the arresting visual of him appearing before a crowd of some 200,000 people in Berlin will endure as an iconic image of the 2008 presidential campaign, no matter who wins. It may also be that foreign Obamamania ends up hurting him with the very demographic he most needs to woo: white working-class voters. But with American voters overall, the portion who consider the US's tarnished image abroad to be a major problem is on the rise – 56 percent, up from 43 percent four years ago, according to the Pew Research Center.
"Tactically, the trip was a smart thing to do," says Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas, Austin. "There was a possibility that he would make a mistake, but he didn't.... In addition, it allowed him to address the thing that McCain was hammering before – his lack of foreign policy experience. This does not constitute the equivalent of two years in the presidency, but it does demonstrate that he's certainly not out of his depth."