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Brandenburg Gate remains closed to Obama

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Brandenburg Gate remains closed to Obama


The next stop for Barack Obama is Berlin.

But when he arrives in the German capital, it is infront of the Victory Column that he will make an address.

Obama is hugely popular in Germany and a large crowd is expected. But even that is not enough to earn him the right to speak from the Brandenburg Gate!

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, brought to a close a debate that has been raging for days by stating firmly that while American Preisdents had made many famous speeches at the gate, it was not appropriate for presidential candidates to do the same.

“That might sound a bit antiquated and there may exist different views,” she declared. “But the decision is made.”

White House residents have certainly contributed to the reputation of the city’s most famous monument. Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan both spoke there, and it was the setting for John F Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein berliner” speech.

Even if the gate remains closed to Obama, he can expect a good reception. Polls show 52 per cent of Europeans would vote for him in November’s presidential election if they could, compared to just 19 per cent for his Republican rival, John McCain – a level of enthusiam not seen since the Kennedy era.

That does not surprise Professor Harald Wenzel from the John F. Kennedy Institute of American Studies at Berlin’s Frei University.

“There are certainly parallels with Kennedy. Kennedy was very charismatic, he opened new horizons and appealed particularly to the young, and we find that in Obama today,” he says. “Plus Europeans have had certain experiences with the US presidency of the past eight years, that not everyone is happy about.”

After Berlin, Obama travels to Paris and then London, where he is likely to receive similarly enthusiastic welcomes, before heading back to the States at the weekend.

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