McCain says Obama Europe trip amounts to politics
( Reuters ) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday he believes Democrat Barack Obama's upcoming trip to Europe is tantamount to holding political rallies abroad.
McCain, speaking to reporters, also ridiculed Obama's vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 16 months as risking losing the hard-fought gains won by U.S. soldiers under a troop build-up ordered 18 months ago.
Obama is soon to leave on a trip that will take him to Europe and the Middle East. At some stage the trip is also expected to take him to Iraq and Afghanistan, the two thorniest foreign policy challenges that will face the next president.
McCain sought to clarify remarks he made on his campaign bus in Kansas City, Missouri, in which he said he disagreed with his communications director, Jill Hazelbaker, who told the Fox News Channel that Obama's trip is "the first of its kind campaign rally overseas."
The McCain campaign had emailed out Hazelbaker's statement.
McCain said he did not consider Obama's upcoming visits to Iraq and Afghanistan political, saying he had offered to go with Obama. But Obama's other stops abroad, he said, seemed to have a political element, particularly a planned event at Germany's Brandenburg Gate.
"If he's going to have a rally at the Brandenburg Gate, which is what is being publicly stated -- of course if you have political rallies, it's a political event," he said.
McCain visited Colombia and Mexico earlier this month.