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Obama's Overseas Trip Draws Praise, Criticism from McCain

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's plans to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan soon have drawn a mixed reaction from his Republican rival John McCain.

Speaking in the central state of Michigan Friday, McCain said he is pleased Obama is visiting Iraq and will meet for the first time with the top U.S. commander there, General David Petraeus.

But McCain criticized Obama for his opposition to the "surge" of additional American troops in Iraq, a strategy McCain says is working.

Obama has said the war in Iraq is distracting the U.S. from the situation in Afghanistan, which he says is more important in the fight against terrorism.

At the Michigan event, McCain said he was "astonished" that Obama would deliver a foreign policy position on Iraq and Afghanistan before visiting the countries.

No dates have been announced for Obama's visit to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Obama is scheduled to visit Jordan and Israel on his trip. Palestinian officials say he is to also meet with leaders in the West Bank. Other stops are Germany, France and Britain.

The trip is intended to bolster his foreign policy credentials and silence critics who say the freshman senator is too inexperienced in international affairs to be commander in chief.

Top McCain aides have accused Obama of planning to turn the trip into an overseas campaign stunt.

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