Barack Obama Visits Berlin as a Presidential Candidate (July 24, 2008)
As the Democratic hopeful for the U.S. presidency, Barack Obama made a stop in Berlin during a 2008 foreign tour that was designed to bolster his foreign policy credentials. The Obama team’s desire to see him deliver a speech at the highly symbolic Brandenburg Gate prompted Germany’s political parties to engage in a discussion about the appropriate venue for his public address. While Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) – apparently out of consideration for incumbent Republican president George W. Bush – rejected a Brandenburg Gate appearance, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit supported the idea. In the end, Obama gave a speech at the Victory Column [Siegessäule]. A crowd of around 200,000 gave him an enthusiastic reception that reflected his general popularity in Germany. According to surveys at the time, 75 percent of Germans considered Obama a better candidate than John McCain. Photo: Rainer Jensen.