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On the Trail / OBAMA TRIP

Network anchors aweigh

July 17, 2008|James Rainey

Barack Obama's trip to Europe and the Middle East, seen as crucial to burnish his foreign policy bona fides, will play out before big audiences.

All three television network anchors plan to interview the Democratic presidential candidate during the tour.

Political analysts see the combined audience of 20 million as a potential boon to Obama, but also a bust if he makes any major missteps.

NBC News said anchor Brian Williams planned to interview Obama in Berlin; ABC and CBS intend interviews -- sites yet unspecified -- by their anchors, Charles Gibson and Katie Couric.

The prime-time plans provoked some consternation from aides to GOP candidate John McCain, whose recent visit to Mexico received relatively little attention.

Television veterans explained the disparity by noting that Obama is less of a known quantity than McCain, and said the trip would help answer a key question -- whether he is ready to lead on foreign affairs and security matters.

-- James Rainey

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