U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D.-Ill.), who calls for speedy withdrawal from Iraq on the presidential campaign trail, appears to have only spent two days in the Middle Eastern country.
Obama was part of a congressional delegation, called a CODEL, led by Sen. Evan Bayh (D.-Ind.), to Iraq in January 2006---a year before President Bush announced his plan to send a “surge” of troops to Iraq in his 2007 State of the Union speech.
Obama’s Senate website links news articles stating it was Obama’s first trip to Iraq. After spending two days in Baghdad Obama broke from the CODEL, which included Bayh, Sen. Christopher Bond (R.-Mo.) and Rep. Harold Ford (D.-Tenn.), early to spend eight days in Israel, Kuwait, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. Bayh's delegation later went on to Afghanistan and Pakistan without Obama.
In January 2007 Obama introduced the “Iraq War De-esclation Act” to require all troops to be removed from Iraq by pre-determined date. It was that same month the President sent 21,500 more troops to Iraq, a decision Obama has decried but has made no return trips to Iraq to see the effects of.
In August 2007, Obama confirmed with The Hill he had only been to Iraq once. Townhall found no subsequent reports indicating any other trips and it is highly unlikely he has taken time away from the presidential campaign trail for a secret visit in the interim.
Inquiries to Obama’s office to find out if the Illinois senator has been to Iraq since August 2007 were unanswered.
A spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs, which oversees foreign travel for members of Congress, said he could not release information about senators’ publicly funded trips to Iraq or other countries. “It’s not a secret or anything, it’s just something they [the senators] should confirm,” he said. “We don’t want to speak for them.”