President-elect touted by staff as a seasoned world traveler
AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) -- As President-elect George W. Bush began to name members of his international policy team, facing questions about his own experience on the world stage, his staff released a list of all the countries he has visited, a list significantly longer than previously had been reported.
Gordon Johndroe, a Bush spokesman, said Sunday that Bush has been outside the United States "more than a dozen times" with trips to Guatemala (business), France (vacation), Bermuda (vacation), Italy (with family), Israel and Egypt (both with the National Governor's Association), Gambia (part of a delegation during the Bush administration), England and Scotland.
Johndroe said Bush has also been to Mexico and Canada "many, many times," and traveled to China when his father served as a U.S. ambassador, stopping in Japan on his way home.
The Bush team did not say why many of these trips had never been disclosed to the media before. The list was released in response to a reporter's question at a briefing last week.
In response to another question also asked last week, Johndroe said Bush currently has a valid passport.
Many of Bush's critics have charged that his limited experience in international affairs makes him unfit for the presidency.
His nomination of retired Gen. Colin Powell as secretary of state and of Condoleezza Rice as national security adviser should reassure world leaders about Bush's own limited experience, some international affairs analysts have said.
"I think it is good that he is appointing a seasoned, experienced team, but he must not give the impression that he is delegating on the tough questions of foreign policy," former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton told CNN in an interview Saturday.
As of late Saturday afternoon, Bush had received a total of 18 congratulatory calls from world leaders.