Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama mulling major speech in front of Berlin's Brandenburg gate; to evoke, Reagan, Kennedy. "Ich bin ein Obama"


WASHINGTON--A German friend passed along the news Saturday that local sources in Berlin are confirming that the Obama campaign was in contact with city authorities to discuss the possibility of presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) delivering an outdoor address in front of the Brandenburg gate. The thinking is Obama would follow in the footsteps of two very famous Cold War-era speeches of U.S. presidents speaking in Germany: JFK "Ich bin ein Berliner" and Reagan "tear down this wall." It would probably be Obama's only public speech during upcoming visits to Germany, France and England on a swing to include stops in Israel and Jordan. There is still no date for the trip. German news sources are reporting the Obama team is working on a visit during the "second half of this month".
Spiegel Online International reports that an Obama visit to Berlin his month "looks likely" with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Spiegel Online Excerpt.....

Germany's ambassador to Washington, Klaus Scharioth, has reportedly worked for weeks to convince Obama's campaign that the candidate's only large European appearance should take place in Berlin. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier talked to Obama by phone last April and learned that he might visit Germany. In the meantime, according to SPIEGEL sources, Steinmeier's staff has set plans in motion for an Obama appearance in the capital by the end of July.

Both Steinmeier and his boss, Chancellor Angela Merkel, have expressed willingness to meet Obama. A member of Obama's campaign has already met with Berlin's mayor, Klaus Wowereit, and the Secret Service has reportedly started to investigate security questions surrounding a visit.

No location has been announced, but the Berlin Senate has reportedly been asked whether Obama can speak in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where former US President Ronald Reagan gave a famous speech in 1987. Reagan made a show of asking then-Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down" the Berlin Wall.


and they complain about Bush for appearing on the aircraft carrier? At least he was President and it WAS technically the end of the effort to oust Saddam.

This Obama guy is the height of arrogance!

...and, the idea came forth via the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Most respectful and politically wise.

I'd like to see Obama pull a rabbit out of his hat.

Well, hopefully he won't make the same mistake JFK made when he said "Ich bin ein Berliner," which literally means "I am a type of jelly donut." The proper way to identify oneself as a resident of Berlin is to say "Ich bin Berliner," without the definite article.

"Ich bin ein Chicago wardheeler!"

Now this is presidential.. I can only imagine how great such a speech would be from Obama, especially considering the circumstances and who he would follow as prior speakers. Obama is suchj a great motivator and right now he would be exactly what the world needs. What we dont need is a president who says "i was breifed" after an heroic rescue in Columbia that had nothing to do with him.

Obama was made for this moment in history!!! He has already shown that he is the best that America has to offer and the world is about to find out.

Don't you have to be president first? This is outlandish.

Is this just kind of kitchy?

Just awesome, the world is looking up to Barack.We here in Canada is right behind him with our support."Fired up, ready to go"

Europe loves Obama, and this trip will open the eyes of many undecided Americans as to who we need as our next President. The Europeans are weary of another war President if McCain is elected (then again aren't we all?), and many Europeans see Obama as very similar to JFK. This trip should put this thing away once and for all, solidifying Obama's lead all the way to November.


I love it :) This is sure to drive the neo-nazis nuts, or more nuts than they are already.

Ich bin ein Obama... hahaha

You are so cute :)

Does anyone else think this constant drumbeat of "the second coming of JFK" is getting a little old? When Obama first came on to the national scene, everyone thought of him as a "fresh face", a different type of politician (mostly because that is what HE was telling people). People trusted his "character and judgement", basically because he had no past performance to judge him on.

However, over the past few weeks (mostly since he clinched the nomination, but even somewhat before that), we have learned his judgement is questionable (Rev. Wright, Fr. Fleger, Tony Rezko, William Ayers and Bernadette Dorn, first and foremost) and his character is no different than that of any other politician (the recent attacks on McCain's military service by Clark, Beers, and Susan Rice; the "refinements" of his statements on Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, 2nd Amendment rights, death penalty, oil drilling, etc.).

I think the lefties have been thoroughly bamboozled by this guy, and are seriously re-thinking their support for him. Hopefully, it is too late for them, and all this trash will lead to a McCain Presidency.

Bad idea. What's he going to say? Goodness knows America's next president needs to chart a new course and explain to the world what that new course is, but he's not POTUS yet. The speech he NEEDS to give to the world once he's in power is not the same speech he could give as a candidate. He'll be taking the wind out of his own sail, so to speak.

Hope his teleprompter doesn't quit on him cause everybody will see what a ignoramus he is.

By the looks of the whining already going on the
neo-nuts will be jumping off bridges. Can you even
imagine, a guy that WANTS the best for America and
ALL the people, not just the top 5% of the people
giving a speech where Ronald Reagan went to try
and over shadow Kennedy's speech. Just a few years
ago the chances of a black american being President
was only a story in the movies. Todays reality
Obama will not only get my white male vote, he will
get an overwhelming majority of votes of the people
in my area and nationwide.

With the very distinct possibility that he may draw a gathering of well over ONE MILLION Germans to hear him speak at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate ~ far eclipsing the largest rallies even Adolf Hitler himself ever staged in that city ~ Barack Obama’s visit to Germany could set the tone for the rest of his upcoming EU-Mideast tour, seeing him address equally colossal audiences in Britain, France, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and Afghanistan and further underscoring the fact that his will be a Messianic Presidency which will transform the Earth and propel America to stratospheric heights of international regard never before scaled in her history. Brandenburg will be the “game changer” in this election and leave John McCain spluttering in Obama’s fiery wake.

Not this Canadian - I think he is an inexperienced, arrogant,
no ethics upstart.

this is getting creepy. Don't know if there are any ole JFK undies on e-bay but hope not or Obama will be wearing them. Obama is NOT JFK and the ole lady is not Jackie so can we move on here? I thought this was about change, not going back 50 yrs. Is it possible to plagurize another persons life?

Hold on there, Senator. You're not the president yet you know and, personally, I don't want you speaking on behalf of the United States. The audacity of an ego that apparently knows no bounds.

Has the candidate considered that a majority of American voters cast a rather skeptical eye towards the Continent? The fact that Obama is the overwhelming favorite over there gives many of us more than a little pause. Can so many Europeans be wrong? Why, yes, yes they can...and frequently are. Weenies welcoming one of their own.

You Obama haters might want to prepare yourself. He will be the next President of The United States. Bank on it.

"...all this trash will lead to a McCain Presidency"

Let's "hope" to God you are wrong. McAncient is no war hero as you suggest. He was nothing more than a spoiled brat that received every undeserved "honor" that daddy's rank of admiral was able to have bestowed upon 'little johnny'. The extent to which he cooperated with the NV during his captivity makes Jane Fonda seems like the 2nd coming of Patrick Henry. He ranked 5th from the bottom of his class at the NA - just imagine what would have happened if daddy was not an admiral. Then as a laggard coming out of the NA, he requests and receives a prized assignment to train as a carrier fighter pilot. Let the "swift-boating" begin because much is to be said regarding Mc's hero status.

What a joke, can't this man do anything for himself, why does he take what others have done and put himself in their place. I will never vote Obama, not today, not tomorrow and surely not in November, keep following him blindly...

At least he can read a teleprompter. That's much more than McBush can do. I think it's great he's going to make a major speech in Germany, especially since it was their idea. Obama has higher poll ratings in Canada than their own PM. With Obama as President, this country can once again be liked around the world, not just in Saudi Arabia.

The pro-Obama folks here should get off the crack pipe or is it legal where they live?

Kennedy almost got the US into a massive war with nukes to boot when he wasn't cheating on Jackie and Reagan actually did stand for something and got the job done.

Why would we want an "empty suit" pretending he is something he is not. Just one more Obama charade and many of the folks are enjoying the kool-aid.

For you Obama fans, Progressive means Fascist. Can you say Lenin or Mussolini? Indeed!

"and they complain about Bush for appearing on the aircraft carrier? At least he was President and it WAS technically the end of the effort to oust Saddam.

This Obama guy is the height of arrogance!"

Rachel, what "this Obama guy" (whom most of us with a modicum of respect call SENATOR) might be planning in Berlin is nothing like Bush's aircraft carrier stunt. It's not going to cost the US taxpayers millions of dollars to orchestrate; it's not going to use US troops as nothing more than cardboard-cutout scenery; it's not going to involve a speech full of lies; it's not going to have a big "mission accomplished" banner put up, and then have the troops get blamed for it when it was the White House press office; it's not going to take an active military asset out of commission for two days.

Shall I go on?

Another big difference: There will be tens of thousands of cheering Berliners at the Obama rally. If Bush even dared to, the best that would happen is he would get resoundly booed.

Great - so, he doesn't have time to have town hall meetings with McCain, but he DOES have time to take make a publicity seeking trip to Europe. Senator, Europeans are not electing the next president of the United States. If it were up to Europeans, we'd probably have a president George Clooney by now. But, I agree, if he's going to make a speech, he should wait until AFTER he's president (if he is). Between this and his "presidential seal," Obama is really full of himself.

" Posted by: John H. Olsen | July 5, 2008 08:04 PM

Well, hopefully he won't make the same mistake JFK made when he said "Ich bin ein Berliner," which literally means "I am a type of jelly donut." The proper way to identify oneself as a resident of Berlin is to say "Ich bin Berliner," without the definite article."

Actually, I hope Obama makes this sort of mistake. Even decades later, Germans still appreciate the attempt that JFK made to at least seem like he was trying to understand a foreign culture. Living in Germany, I have found that Germans welcome this 'mistake' and make light of it...a far cry from their impression of Herr "Bring'em on".

At any rate, contrary to popular belief, the statement "Ich bin ein Berliner" is not false. It is like saying "I am AN American" versus "I am American". JFK used the indefinite article (not the definite article, which would mean "I am THE Berliner"), and it just so happens that in German, foods are often named after their city of origin, like Frankfurter (Frankfurt) or Wiener Schnitzel (Vienna). Let's just be glad that Obama's not giving the speech in Hamburg! (Ich bin ein Hamburger....mmmm...Hamburger...)

It's likely that Obama may speak at that location for security reasons.

Two presidents have already given speeches there, and many other dignitaries from other countries have as well. It's a sight that would be easy to secure- they know the drill.

Do we assume that Reagan trying to be like Kennedy when he spoke in Berlin? I think not.

Obama is exceedingly popular not only in Europe but in Canada, Australia, in fact, all over the planet. The world is desperate for a straightforward pragmatist to lead the way. Obama is likely being asked to give a major speech in Europe. The most logical place is where others with Secret Service have spoken in the past.

Don't make it into something it's not.

One positive of an O.B. visit to Germany: O.B. and the Misses (GOD, I hope they don't compare her to Jaqueline) can compare their racial hatred with the neo-nazies.

- Kennedy comparison. I see a few. Character flaws especially. And O.B. does read well from a telepromter. But JFK Presidency was extremely destructive to America, other than Cuban Missile Crisis.
*** Vietnam
*** Social programs (higher taxes)
*** Opening the vault for urban programs. And that's worked out very well in 4 generations.................NOT!
*** Bay of Pigs

--- Ironic. O.B. wants to be compared to Kennedy. But, his politics are like Carter. And his character is as sleazy as Johnson or CLinton.

Amazing so many Americans can't see what he will do to this country. Bush is bad, but that doesn't equate to voting the other party guy who has so many flaws and zero experience.

Maybe it's just as well that he get some different publicity going. Notice how timid his supporters on the news have been since Tim Russert died? Is everybody trying to show they wouldn't have put a scooter libby in a prison cell? May as well go generate some different press at this point in the campaign at any rate.

Geez, you'd think he would've learned his lesson with the Presidential Seal debacle.

These kinds of efforts make him look like nothing more than a PR stunt junkie and an egoist of the highest order.

And it's coming across as if the campaign is surrounding him with all of this fake president stuff so people can see him as presidential.

Note to Obama campaign: The best PR campaign is when you don't let anyone see that it's a PR campaign.

Who, exactly, does he want to be? Ronald Reagan - conservative icon and punching bag of the American Left? Or JFK - clueless lightweight tragically transformed into a myth, morphed into a legend, and now reduced to a parody?


Can so many Europeans be so wrong?

Certainly they can be. But they were dead right when they took one look at Bush Junior and laughed out loud.

Imagine, an American President who actually knows something about the real world -- wouldn't that be something . . .

It won't happen though. Obama will be shot by some freak from South Central Jesus land before he ever gets to take office.

As a native West Berliner who grew up in Berlin during the Cold War, I consider Obama speaking at the Brandenburg Gate grossly distasteful:

he is coming on 24 July, refer to site [,1518,564455,00.html]
See you in Berlin! Yes we can!

Ummm...all that from a clinching? If he actually gets nominated, what? he'll speak to is from the Moon? In the name of the United federation of Planets? Or more likely, God?

How many people do you think will fall for this outright lie? We live in scary times where many people get their "news" from soundbites on CNN or MTV. Too bad there isn't a current events testlet people have to take before casting a vote.

I wonder if many of these posters have ever traveled internationally. That Bush's popularity is even lower around the world than it is in the US is not becuase he is such a strong leader. It becuase he alienated the entire world with HIS arrogance and where did it get us? A long war, with no end in sight and a screwed up economy. Germans aren't stupid. They KNOW Barack is not President and they still invited him to speak. So I guess it is different. I for one will listen to what he has to say. It was okay for McSame to go to Columbia to sell his US policy. Perhaps if he could draw a crowd you haters might have considered it a problem. McCain is the past and a very poor choice for POTUS. You don't have to to be American to understand that. The POTUS is a global position. The Germans and any other country has a right to invite whomever they choose to speak to their countrymen/women. Barack should accept the invitation and go. I doubt he will introduce himself as TPOTUS so get over it.

Are there no limits to Obama's quest for power? How dare he think that he has earned the right to speak for America? It is unfortunate enough that he speaks about us!

Oh boy, we are still questioning whether JFK made a pastry blunder in Berlin!! First of all, WHO CARES?!?!!? Second, have you ever asked a BERLINER if he was gramatically correct in his speech? They say his choice of words was just as valid as the version you provide. Finally,Obama, as an American exercising his right to free speech, has every right to speak about his plan for America. And, he DOES speak for millions of us!! Thankfully!!

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 5, 2008 1:31 PM.

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