The reviews of Obama's overseas trip continue to be positive. From today's Washington Post: Obama "has remade the campaign's foreign policy playing field, neatly sidestepping Republican charges that he has been naive and wrong on Iraq and moving to a broader, post-Iraq focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan."
The New York Daily News' DeFrank writes under the headline, "Obama hits grand slam in Mideast tour; 'he's won the week' vs. McCain." "John McCain may rue the day he ever taunted Barack Obama into going to Iraq. Obama's four-day visit to the combat zones was a political tour de force, generating mega-coverage back home that left McCain gasping for traction. 'Unless he screws up in Israel or Europe, he's already won the week,' a former Bush White House aide conceded."
Perhaps the toughest day of Obama's trip happens today. The London Times: "The Democratic presidential candidate, who is struggling to win over Jewish voters in America and is viewed with suspicion in Israel, holds meetings in Jerusalem and the West Bank today during the thorniest leg of his international tour. It will be a far cry from the rapturous public reception that he is likely to receive in Berlin tomorrow." More: "Israelis are particularly suspicious of Mr Obama because of his willingness to talk to Iran's leadership, and a perception that he is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Unlike a visit to the region by his Republican rival John McCain in May, the Democrat will not only hold meetings in Jerusalem, but will travel to the West Bank city of Ramallah to talk with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, and Salam Fayyad, the Prime Minister."
It's surprising to see any domestic issue analysis this week but the New York Times fact-checks Obama's health care promises. "In speech after speech, Senator Barack Obama has vowed that he will lower the country's health care costs enough to 'bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family.' Moreover, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has promised that his health plan will be in place 'by the end of my first term as president of the United States.'"
"Whether Mr. Obama can deliver is a matter of considerable dispute among health analysts and economists. While there is consensus that the American health care system is bloated with waste, eliminating enough to save $2,500 per family would require simultaneous and synergistic solutions to a host of problems that have proved intractable for decades."
An independent, pro-Republican group is now airing a TV ad attacking Obama -- and it's gearing up to run more. The group, Let Freedom Ring, began airing "Both Ways Barack" last night (it was on MSNBC's Hardball) hitting Obama for what they say is holding two positions at the same time, not just being a flip-flopper.
The ad will run for a week on national cable (MSNBC, CNN and FOX), the group's president Colin Hanna told First Read. It is produced by Demos Chrissos at Rapid Response Media, Hanna said.
The group, a 501(c)(4), is four-and-a-half years old and ran anti-illegal immigration radio ads in 2007. It was also behind the 2005 effort called, "We Need a Fence." Let Freedom Ring ran ads then, as Rep. Duncan Hunter was proposing a 2,000-mile long fence in Congress.
Hanna would not disclose donors, saying that their donor list is "non-disclosable." He added that members of the group would have discussions tomorrow about whether they would expand the buy to local battlegrounds.