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Friday, July 18, 2008

Controversy Settled In Germany Over Where Barack Obama Will Speak

(The Victory Column)

Today a column came out in Washington Post from Charles Krauthammer discussing Barack Obama's intention to speak at the Brandenburg Gate and calling that intent the "Audacity of Vanity".

What Obama does not seem to understand is that the Brandenburg Gate is something you earn. President Ronald Reagan earned the right to speak there because his relentless pressure had brought the Soviet empire to its knees and he was demanding its final "tear down this wall" liquidation. When President John F. Kennedy visited the Brandenburg Gate on the day of his "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, he was representing a country that was prepared to go to the brink of nuclear war to defend West Berlin.

Who is Obama representing? And what exactly has he done in his lifetime to merit appropriating the Brandenburg Gate as a campaign prop? What was his role in the fight against communism, the liberation of Eastern Europe, the creation of what George Bush the elder -- who presided over the fall of the Berlin Wall but modestly declined to go there for a victory lap -- called "a Europe whole and free"?

He goes to explain why he feels that Obama has an "elevated" opinion of himself.

Read the whole thing...

That type of criticism has been heard around the conservative blogosphere and Obama's intention of trying to use the Brandenburg Gate for his planned speech, also caused quite a stir in Germany.


What became a controversy within Germany over Barack Obama's desire to speak at the historical site of Brandenburg Gate, has been resolved and the location of his speech will be the Victory Column instead.
The Victory Column at Grosser Stern in Germany is second most well-known landmark of Berlin, with the Brandenburg Gate being the most well known.

It was announced weeks ago that Barack Obama planned to give a speech in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate, which became a hot button topic in Germany with conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel criticizing the proposal and the Social-Democratic vice chancellor and foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, speaking out in favor of it.

The official statement from Merkel's office, via her spokesperson Thomas Steg, regarding using such a historical site being used as a way to pull a potent symbol of German division and reunification into the American elections, was, "To use the Brandenburg Gate in some ways as a campaign backdrop, she has a limited sympathy for this and expresses her skepticism over pursuing such plans."

As the Germans fought this issue out within Germany and it became apparent that it was becoming highly controversial, Obama's campaign weighed in, via his spokesperson Bill Burtonm saying, "Senator Obama looks forward to his visit to Germany and his opportunity to meet with the chancellor. He has considered several sites for a possible speech, and he will choose one that makes the most sense for him and his German hosts."

The internal German struggle continued and as a result a compromise has been reached, where Barack Obama will speak at The Victory Column instead with the Brandenburg Gate as a backdrop.

The Brandenburg Gate is the spot where Ronald Reagan gave the speech where he told Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall", and John F. Kennedy visited the landmark site in the 1960s.