Arts + Culture

The Presidents as Travelers

by Ted Widmer

John McCain, 2008 Republican presidential candidate

Where The Eagle Landed: Iraq, Vietnam

Home and abroad: John McCain seems less thrilled than Barack Obama to be in other countries—perhaps understandable, given his nearly six-year stay in the "Hanoi Hilton," although he's been back to Vietnam at least seven times since his release in 1973. On his most recent trip in 2000, McCain posed for photographs with fellow visitors at the former prison, now a stop on the city's tourist trail. McCain revels in the comforts of his vacation house along Oak Creek in Arizona, where he entertains guests with his barbecue secrets. However, like other senators, including Obama, McCain has undertaken several highly publicized trips to Iraq (pictured). It would be a simple matter to predict that if elected, he will concentrate on more traditional foreign visits—London, Paris, Brussels, Moscow—stopping at military bases on the way (he's already visited South Ossetia, Georgia). Hopefully McCain's advisors will dissuade him from attempting to visit "Czechoslovakia," as he's referred to it on two separate occasions, despite the fact that the country split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1993.

NEXT: On the campaign trail

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