Arts + Culture

The Presidents as Travelers

by Ted Widmer

Barack Obama

Where The Eagle Landed: Afghanistan, France, Germany, Iraq, United Kingdom

Home and abroad: Barack Obama gets massive attention wherever he goes, be it a foreign destination like Berlin in July 2008, where he spoke to more than 200,000 people (perhaps trying to bask in some of JFK's aura); on vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands (where he risked the "elitist" tag by staying at the Ritz-Carlton); or visiting his grandmother in Hawaii. His most recent trip to the Aloha State (pictured), in August 2008, was for a family holiday after 18 months on the campaign trail, although the political reporters remained at his side—even if it was merely to document a splash in the surf. But what would Obama be like as a presidential traveler? If elected, he can be expected to spend more time than usual in the developing world, from Africa, his father's birthplace, to the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. And there may be quite a few visits to Hawaii, which, if it were to become a regular stopover, would become our most extreme "Western White House" yet.

NEXT: The reluctant tourist

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