German Chancellor Tells Obama "Nein" on Speech Location

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has sought permission to deliver an address at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany later this month, but though Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit has given his approval German Chancellor and unwitting President Bush-massage victim Angela Merkel is inclined to say "nein."

Merkel spox Thomas Steg told reporters that "it is unusual to hold election rallies abroad. No German candidate for high office would even think of using the National Mall (in Washington) or Red Square in Moscow for a rally because it would not be seen as appropriate."

Ja, wir können, indeed.

The Brandenburg Gate is where President Ronald Reagan told Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" in 1987.  Bill Clinton spoke at the Gate in 1994 declaring "Berlin is free!"

(The Gate is NOT where President John F. Kennedy in 1963 declared to the world, "ich bin ein Berliner" (which, despite urban legend, few locals likely interpreted to mean that the president was declaring himself a jelly-filled pastry), but Kennedy visited the Gate during that same German sojourn.*)

Obama spox Bill Burton says the senator "has considered several sites for a possible speech, and he will choose one that makes most sense for him and his German hosts."

- jpt

* Corrected since posting.

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