Main | Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Obama To Get His Reagan Moment

Barack Obama is planning a visit to Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel isn't sure it's a good idea to let him stage a planned appearance in front of Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate, the place where Ronald Reagan famously demanded: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has signaled unease over the prospect of a possible speech by Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama at Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate, a spokesman said Wednesday. Merkel has "only limited understanding for using the Brandenburg Gate as an election campaign backdrop, as it were, and has expressed skepticism about pursuing such plans," Thomas Steg, a spokesman for the chancellor, told reporters.

However, Steg stressed that the chancellor is "very happy" for Obama to visit Germany and meet her and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.Berlin city officials said this week that members of the Democratic candidate's campaign had contacted them about what permission and security issues would need to be resolved before Obama could speak in front of the monument.
Only sitting U.S. presidents have previously used the Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop. A spokesperson for Merkel said that no German candidate would expect to use the DC National Mall or Red Square as a backdrop because it would be inappropriate.

Despite Chancellor Merkel's reservations, the decision lies with the city of Berlin. A spokesman for Berlin's mayor said the city is "delighted to have Mr Obama take advantage of speaking at the Brandenburg Gate to spread his message."

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