Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain.
Quite the vacation itinerary, really.
Recent polls, however, suggest that Barack Obama's whirlwind tour of the Middle East and Western Europe has done little to influence the American electorate. Not that this should come as any huge surprise.
The spectacle of an American presidential candidate playing to a massive standing-room-only crowd in front of the Victory Column in Berlin can strike some as a bit on the odd side, as well it should. Last time anybody checked, none of Obama's foreign destinations held any electoral votes. Granted, there are large detachments of the American military strung out across map in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Germany, so perhaps those were warranted -- but Israel? Obama's visit to troops at the Landstuhl military base in Germany also ended up being canceled on the advice of the Pentagon.
Despite those military stops -- which every candidate for any federal office should at least consider -- one must question the expediency of expending valuable campaign resources giving speeches and making appearances in Israel, France and other locales where the American electorate really isn't a large demographic force.
The McCain campaign has, of course, tried to spin Obama's trip as a "premature victory lap." While that characterization might be a little extreme, the logic behind Obama's trip seems a bit strange: Take a trip in the midst of a heated and close election -- the independent poll mentioned above has Obama leading by a mere five percentage points -- to play to huge masses who can't vote for you. Odd.
With both candidates back on this side of the North Atlantic, the campaign is sure to heat up yet again in the coming weeks. More commercials, more speeches, more positioning and repositioning, more posturing and reposturing. Sieh Sie an der Wahlurne. See you at the ballot box.