Interactive: Where U.S. Presidents Fear to Tread

Barack Obama is on pace to visit 73 countries, one shy of the number of passport stamps collected by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

  • Share
  • Read Later
Erik Martensson / Scanpix / Reuters

President Barack Obama waves upon his arrival at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm, Sep. 4, 2013.

When President Obama touched down in Sweden early Wednesday morning, he notched his 43rd foreign country visited since taking the oath of office.

The president probably doesn’t need the frequent flyer miles or the sense of worldliness that comes with a well-stamped passport, but presidents are still judged on their global itinerary.  Obama’s two most recent predecessors each visited 74 different nations or sovereign states during their eight years in office, according to the State Department’s history of executive travel. If Obama were to keep up his present pace–a rather unlikely premise, since foreign trips do not accumulate steadily–he would set foot in 73 separate foreign states by the last day of his presidency.

In the following interactive map, you can view each president’s international itinerary going back to Theodore Roosevelt, the first president to slip the border while in office. (He went to inspect the construction of the Panama Canal.)

As one might expect, Africa is by far the most neglected of the continents after Antarctica, which a president has never visited. (One senses a ripe opportunity there for Obama to tally another first.) Of more surprise is that neither Gerald Ford or Jimmy Carter managed to once set foot in Canada.

The dreary methodology

As always, there are a few caveats. This map counts trips taken as President-elect, and in several cases the modern equivalent of a nation is subbed in for the one that existed at the time of the visit, such as when Richard Nixon travelled to Belgrade in what was then Yugoslavia, not Serbia. Vatican City, which U. S. Presidents have visited 19 times, is not pictured.

8 comments
yogi
yogi

Interesting map, wonder with the advances in video teleconferencing will the need to visit in person diminished for future presidents.

forgottenlord
forgottenlord

So American Presidents don't visit America....

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

"Barack Obama is on pace to visit 73 countries, one shy of the number of passport stamps collected by his Bill Clinton and George W. Bush"

I think you accidentally a word, Mr Wilson...