Obama asks Sens. Hagel and Reed to accompany him to Europe, war zones

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama expects to be accompanied on his battlefront tours of Iraq and Afghanistan by two fellow senators who are military veterans and often mentioned as potential running mates. Sens. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican, and Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, are experts on foreign policy, Obama told reporters while flying to California late Saturday. Hagel served as an Army sergeant in Vietnam and was twice wounded in 1968, earning two Purple Heart medals. Reed, a West Point graduate, was an Army Ranger and paratrooper. "They reflect, I think, a traditional bipartisan wisdom when it comes to foreign policy. Neither of them are ideologues but try to get the facts right and make a determination about what's best for U.S. interests - and they're good guys," Obama said. Obama planned to visit Europe as well, and he told reporters that he hoped to resolve concerns expressed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel about using the Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop for a speech in Berlin. Merkel questioned the propriety of a foreign political figure using such a historic backdrop to deliver a campaign speech.