Recently, I wrote about my own surprise that Barack Obama had not called together a policy or issue-oriented hearing in his role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee/Subcommittee on Europe.
I followed this up with a piece that explored what various presidential candidates were reporting on their travel. Obama’s campaign staff gave me a roster of travel that did not include any mention of Europe (other than the Ukraine).
His campaign sent a friendly note after my early essays amending the notes they sent me — stating that he had been to London during a Moscow-focused trip in a delegation led by then Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar. I had already noted this because other press reports had discovered the London stop over and meeting with Blair.
But what was interesting is that I had reported what the press was saying that Obama had stopped in London “on the way back from Moscow.” But the campaign staff told me that he stopped in London on the way to Moscow and Eastern Europe — so I noted the discrepancy.
Now, Obama makes clear that he visited London on the way back from Moscow — but also shared in an interview with the Iowa Independent this direct comment: “I’ve travelled through Europe extensively.”
I had no idea that this issue would attract so much attention — but it fell into a groove that the Obama campaign had apparently launched — which was to emphasize “identity” over “experience.”
As I’ve written before, I have applauded and criticized Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, but trying to disparage experience as a campaign strategy left me disappointed.
I would just like to see the record set straight now.
Where did Barack Obama go in Europe and when?
And why has the hard-working campaign staff, many of whom are friends, been left to fight in the dark on this issue?
Why hasn’t Obama given the campaign staff all that they need to respond to these experience and travel questions?
Let’s just get the whole story straight now — so that we can move on to other real debates about experience, policy proposals, and vision.
— Steve Clemons