Obama’s Voyage

That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.

Barack Obama’s international tour started over the weekend, in what will undoubtedly be a highlight of this year’s campaign as one of the more unusual moves on the part of a presidential nominee-to-be.

Lara Logan was the first reporter to land an interview with Obama on his overseas trip, in a sitdown that aired on “Face the Nation” and across many different CBS News platforms. And despite war-zone romances that have landed Logan in the gossip pages, Obama benefited from being interviewed first by a foreign correspondent rather than a member of the traveling press corps or even one of the network news anchors. If his trip is about establishing credibility in an area of his greatest weakness — foreign policy and national security — he was able to lay out his agenda in their interview, concentrating on his plan for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and transferring them to Afghanistan, where insurgent attacks have begun in recent months. The “silly season” of American politics was a world away, and against a studious backdrop of bookcases, Obama told Logan that he “never” had doubts about his foreign policy experience.

As many have pointed out, Obama’s trip is being carefully stage managed, starting with a newly outfitted campaign plane. Every word will be measured, something the candidate already got a taste of when he referred to his possible administration tenure as a span of “eight to ten years.”

McCain’s Ad: John McCain, meanwhile, will struggle to get attention this week, but he introduced a new ad this morning that hits Obama on gas prices and his failure to support offshore drilling. “Who can we thank for rising prices at the pump?” the narrator asks, as Obama’s picture appears and a crowd faintly chants his name. “Don’t hope for more energy. Vote for it.”

Hollywood Friends: Top of the Ticket reports, amusingly, “All four Hollywood Republicans give to McCain.” The donors include Tom and Jillie Mack Selleck, Kelsey Grammer and Jerry Bruckheimer.

Wardrobe Rethink: A federal appeals court has tossed out a $550,000 fine for the infamous “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl. The court ruled that the FCC acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in issuing the sanction against CBS. This is a second major victory for the networks as the FCC has taken a hardline on indecency. A federal appeals court in June 2007 overturned a fine against Fox on a “fleeting profanities” that were uttered by Cher and Nicole Ritchie (on separate occasions).

Church Appearances: The Rev. Rick Warren has lined up Obama and McCain for interviews and even a joint appearance at his Saddleback Church in Orange County on Aug. 16.

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