The Washington Times - July 21, 2008, 10:19AM

Sen. Barack Obama is in Iraq, talking to top officials there and meeting with Gen. Petraeus. He met with Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki as well, following the official’s endorsement of the Obama troop withdrawal plan (and later backtracking).



Washington Times State Department reporter Nick Kralev leads our paper today with a fascinating look at a memo from Condi Rice demanding little help be offered to Obama and reminding diplomats they cannot arrange meetings for the senator.


Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has instructed U.S. overseas missions to provide only minimal support to foreign visits by the two main presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain, forbidding diplomats to hold events or arrange meetings for them.

In a cable sent late Thursday on the eve of Mr. Obama’s swing through the Middle East and Europe, Miss Rice told U.S. diplomats to treat the candidates as “members of Congress visiting in personal or semi-personal capacities,” but “with additional restrictions based on rules related to political activity.”

“Provide de minimis assistance to the candidate with logistical arrangements,” said the cable, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Times. “If the campaign staff wants to rent a bus for press, tell them where they can rent a bus.”


Read Kralev’s full story here.


The Obama campaign limited the press traveling aboard his plane for the overseas trip, and told several reporters, including me, there was not enough space for them to join.


Fox’s Bonney Kapp offers a detailed look and photos of the remodeled Obama plane, Lynn Sweet blogged last night about the goodie bag given to the traveling press and Carrie Budoff Brown reveals the dress code given by the campaign for the Middle East portion of the trip.


I’ll be leaving this afternoon for Berlin ahead of the big Obama speech and will hop over to London at the end of the week. (Feel free to send me tips on things to see and places to eat in either location.)


Team Obama last week started a new “Americans Abroad” blog on the campaign site promising to “enlist and engage American citizens living outside the United States in our movement to change American politics.”



It includes this quote from the senator that reflects the world view he explains on the campaign trail, “The disappointment that so many around the world feel toward America right now is only a testament to the high expectations they hold for us. We must meet those expectations again, not because being respected is an end in itself, but because the security of America and the wider world demands it.”

“This will require a new spirit … not of bluster and bombast, but of quiet confidence and sober intelligence, a spirit of care and renewed competence,” he said.


The Americans Abroad page also gives voters the details for attending the event at the Victory Column Thursday evening, helping him drive the crowds which some estimates suggest could top 1 million.


Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times


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