Merkel Denies Bush Interference in Brandenburg Gate-Gate

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel today denied reports in some German newspapers that the Bush administration pressured Merkel to prevent Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, from speaking at Berlin's fabled Brandenburg Gate during his European swing later this month.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported most notably earlier this week: "Es heißt, der außenpolitische Berater der Bundeskanzlerin, Christoph Heusgen, sei auf dem G-8-Gipfel in Japan von einem Berater Bushs angeblafft worden wegen Obamas Plänen."

"The reports are completely unfounded," Merkel's spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said, according to Reuters.

"There were no expectations whatsoever expressed either outright or tacitly in that regard from American President Bush or his staff. It's pure fiction."

Merkel has suggested that it would be "odd" and "inappropriate" to speak at the historic site, though German press accounts say the fabled gate has hosted festivals for asparagus queens in addition to historical addresses.

- jpt

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