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Published:June 5th, 2008 09:58 EST

Should Obama accept McCain's invitation to visit Iraq with him?

By Robert Paul Reyes

When the Democratic nomination was still unresolved, all eyes were on Hillary and Obama, and John McCain was virtually ignored by the press.

A couple of weeks ago, in a desperate attempt to garner media coverage, McCain invited Obama to visit Iraq with him. This wasn`t a sincere request, McCain couched his invitation in condescending terms, explaining that it would give him an opportunity to teach Obama about the facts on the ground in Iraq.

McCain likes to brag that he`s visited Iraq eight times, but how much can a presidential candidate really learn about that country by going there? To protect him from terrorists, McCain has yet to visit any of the hot spots. How much of the war zone can McCain see when he`s surrounded by bodyguards and escorted to heavily-protected American enclaves?

How should Obama respond to McCain`s publicity stunt? I think that Obama should accept McCain`s invitation for the following reasons:

First of all, it would serve as a teaching opportunity: McCain has a lot to learn about Iraq and the Middle East. Obama can start by teaching McCain the difference between Sunni and Shiite insurgents. Obama could also point out to McCain that their flack jackets, armed escorts and helicopters flying overhead are evidence that everything isn`t hunky dory.

In the second place, it would boost troop morale if our brave warriors saw that both presidential candidates care about their safety and well being. Support for our troops shouldn`t be a partisan issue, all of us need to show them that we love and admire them.

And finally, it would give McCain and Obama a chance to bond, and get to know each other. After a few days together in that hellish part of the world, they might return to America and wage a civil and courteous campaign.

Obama has invited McCain to visit inner cities with him, stand in gas lines, wait in ER`s and, thereby, get a feel for what the average American feels. Turnabout is fair play, McCain should visit a few inner cities with Obama.

Now that Obama has clinched the nomination and Hillary will soon be out of the picture (hopefully), McCain will be getting plenty of attention from the press and he won`t have to resort to publicity stunts.