For the second time in the last two weeks, John McCain is going out of the country, as he heads today to Colombia and then goes to Mexico on Wednesday to meet with world leaders.
Back on June 20, McCain spoke in Ottawa during a visit to the Canadian capital. His speech there focused on trade, which certainly will be an issue with the Colombian leader today.
A free trade agreement with Colombia is on hold in the Congress, because Democrats object to it, citing concerns about sending US jobs overseas.
Republican leaders and the White House have aggressively countered that such deals will open more avenues for US exports, but they don’t have the votes to push the deal through the Democratic Congress.
Tomorrow in Mexico, one would expect that immigration will come up. That is a testy issue for McCain with in the GOP, after he was a big backer of comprehensive immigration reform legislation, which many activists charge is nothing more than amnesty.
McCain though has made the argument that he got the message from members of his own party, and says he understands the need to fix the border gaps first and then start talking about how to deal with millions of illegals already in the US.
Realistically, that issue could help McCain in November, because an anti-immigration candidate for the GOP would have certainly driven Hispanic voters to the Democrats. But McCain cannot be easily dismissed on that count.
As for Barack Obama, he also will be going overseas soon, though no specific dates have been announced.
I assume that’s because the Obama camp will be sending him covertly to Afghanistan and Iraq as well for a quick visit. No need to disclose when or where he’s going obviously, but it seems logical to think that if Obama is in Europe, he can fly a little further and get a first hand review of efforts in those two theaters as well.
The aftermath of the Iraq visit will be interesting, especially if Obama begins to modify his views on Iraq as he has modified his views on other issues recently.
Not many of my media colleagues believe that Obama is going to walk into the White House and sign a withdrawal order for Iraq, especially since violence has gone down there since the US surge.