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Obama to Give Foreign Policy Speech Ahead of Crucial Overseas Trip

U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama will deliver a foreign policy speech in Washington Tuesday outlining his views on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The presumptive Democratic nominee laid out his plans in an opinion piece published Monday in The New York Times. Obama called for a reduction of U.S. forces in Iraq, and for deploying more troops to Afghanistan to deal with resurgent Taliban and al-Qaida forces.

The speech is part of an attempt by the Illinois senator to bolster his national security credentials. A new poll, taken by The Washington Post and ABC News, reveals a majority of Americans prefer Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, to serve as the nation's commander-in-chief over Obama.

Obama is planning to visit the Middle East, including Iraq, Israel and the West Bank, later this month.

Meanwhile, McCain has defended himself from charges that he backed away from his commitment to reform the U.S. immigration system.

During a speech Monday before a leading Hispanic civil rights group, National Council of La Raza, the Arizona senator asserted his support for fair, practical and comprehensive immigration reform.

Obama has charged that McCain has abandoned his support for immigration reform.

For his part, Obama spoke Monday evening in Cincinnati, Ohio to a leading civil rights group representing the interests of black Americans, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Obama criticized economic inequality in the United States and called on black Americans to do more to improve the condition of their families and communities.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.