Obama makes surprise trip to Iraq

Sam Youngman has the story:
President Obama, wrapping up an eight-day overseas trip, made a surprise visit to Baghdad Tuesday on his way back to Washington.

While on the ground, the president met with Gen.Raymond Odierno at Camp Victory, but weather conditions prevented him from taking a helicopter to meet with Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and President Jalal Talabani. Instead, he consulted with them by phone.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One that the decision to visit Iraq instead of Afghanistan was because of the country's proximity to Turkey, where the president held a townhall earlier in the day. Gibbs also stressed the need to consult with Iraqi officials and to visit with U.S. troops.

"Our men and women who are in harm's way, either in Iraq or Afghanistan, deserve our utmost respect and appreciation," Gibbs said.

While at Camp Victory, the president will present troops with 10 medals of valor, speak with the Iraqi officials by phone and meet with Odierno before returning to Washington.