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July 18, 2008

CBS defends Barack Obama trip coverage

TCA -- The CBS News team defended their plans to extensively cover Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe next week, sending their star anchors along with the nominee.

"This has never happened before," CBS correspondent Jeff Greenfield said of Obama's trip. "We've not had a nominee this close to the nomination going on a trip like this -- particularly into a war zone."

"I know there's been a lot of discussion about Barack Obama's upcoming trip," Couric said. "Editorially, if you look at the fact that there have been questions about his foreign policy expertise and about his national security experience, prompted largely, quite frankly, by his Republican critics, and the fact that Iraq remains front and center in terms of how the United States may or may not extricate itself from that theater, then this is a really important trip in terms of really being able to pin down Barack Obama on his foreign policy vision."

"It's not going to be all Obama, all the time," she added. "It's not as if it's going to be, 'How do you like the weather in Jordon, senator?'

Sean McManus, president of CBS News, said: "I would call it the biggest news of the week. It's a very important trip for us to cover."

"Face the Nation" anchor Bob Schieffer asked, "What if he changes his mind about Iraq once he gets on the ground and sees what the situation is? We want to be there. It's one thing to criticize us when we don't cover the news enough -- that's when I think the criticism is a little more valid. But this is a big story, and we ought to be there and I'm glad Katie is going to do it.

CBS News has been criticized by conservatives for its plans to cover Obama's trip, after having spent considerably less time covering Republican nominee John McCain's Iraq visit.


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