July 24th, 2008
09:16 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama prepares to deliver much-anticipated speech in Berlin

Obama will speak in Germany Thursday.
Obama will speak in Germany Thursday.

BERLIN, Germany (CNN) – Without offering up too many hints, Senator Barack Obama told reporters that his much-anticipated public address here later today will not be "a wonkish policy speech."

Obama sought to "tamp down" expectations of crowd size and did concede he was seeking out a larger audience beyond the one that will gather in Tiergarten Park.

Watch: Christiane Amanpour previews Obama

"No doubt that part of what I want to communicate on both sides of the Atlantic is the enormous potential of us restoring a sense of coming together," he said. "The people in the crowd aren't voters so in that sense it's not designed to get them to the polls, it's not a political rally. Hopefully it will be viewed as a substantive articulation of the relationship I'd like to see between the United States and Europe."

Related: Obama to reach out to Europe in key speech

Obama said speech writing started about two weeks ago and demurred when asked if he had looked to the Berlin speeches given by Presidents Kennedy and Reagan for inspiration. "They were presidents, I am a citizen," he said.

The Democratic presidential candidate chatted with reporters aboard his campaign plane shortly before takeoff for Berlin, the first European stop of Obama's overseas tour.

In Jordan and Israel, the media attention and public interest in Obama's visit was intense and Europe will likely be no different.

"I think the world is keenly interested in this election and I think they're hungry for a sense of where America is going, certainly there's a curiosity factor involved,” Obama responded when asked if he was surprised at the attention he has received.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. John

    "Typical White Person": he's probably trying to avoid having one of your Klan buddies try to take him out.

    Vote Obama
    All I'm Sayin' Is, Give Smart A Chance

    July 24, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. gg

    Obama the BLOW HARD.
    DEMOCRATS FOR McCAIN

    July 24, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. Typical White woman for Obama

    Can't everyone see what a transparent ploy Senator McCain's campaign tried to wage against the media? Hillary Clinton did that too and it is pathetic.

    Senator Obama is getting attention because he is saying things that people want to hear and because we believe in his policies.

    Stop the hate.

    July 24, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Jeff

    Poor John McCain. Goads Obama into world tour to make him look small and Obama makes McCain look well worn and tired. The GOP is pretty sad.

    July 24, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Doug, New Jersey

    Fitting that he is speaking in Berlin. What Obama wants to bring America has already been tried in Germany 60 years ago. History repeats itself, funny how the young in America who are ignorant of history support Obama but older Americans who have heard the Obama talk before from Germany and Cuba in the last century know who Obama really is and won't support him.

    July 24, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. Joe Reg

    Obama's presidency is going to be a fresh start for America.

    A new era of constructive diplomacy as well as the spread of democracy will take sail around the world.

    Obama 08 & 12.

    July 24, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Culture Warrior

    "substantive articulation of the relationship I'd like to see between the United States and Europe."

    I heard this involves apologizing for global warming, the Berlin Wall, David Caruso's departure from NYPD Blue, and all attendees will receive a puppy and a "Let's all cuddle" smiley pin

    July 24, 2008 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. DD, New York

    Obama has 300 advisors? 300??!!!!

    July 24, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. NewYorker Magazine Rocks

    I think Obama should move to Asia, Africa or Europe.

    Annoy the Media, say NO to Obama.

    July 24, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. HENRIE WARE

    YOU GO OBAMA THIS IS ONE FAMILY OF AMERICANS THAT BACK YOU. MR MAGOO COULD NEVER COME UP TO YOUR STANDARDS

    July 24, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. kent

    CNN,please carry the speech live to the cabin outside Sedona, Arizona for the viewing by McCain and political allies and fundraisers from around the country as they gather to watch and listen to America's next President. What a great way to begin the barbeque.

    July 24, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Nikki, Florida

    CNN, where's your article on Larry Hunters (R) endorsement of Obama????????

    July 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. linda n carolina

    Barack Obama will show the world today that even though we kept a buffoon in office for 8 years, Americans know a true leader when we see one. Obama represents the American dream that we all strive for. It will be great to have respect again instead of saber rattling we've had the last 8 years. The huge crowds today will only point to the fact the whole world is wanting a change for the better. Yes We Can....Obama 08

    July 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. Kate

    The USA really really needed this. I'm not sure whether you realize how badly your image has been tarnished across the world. You ought to be proud.

    July 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. April

    This is ridiculous. Are those people citizens of United States? If they are not, then why are they telling us whom to vote for? Do we tell them who to choose as their President or Prime Minister? Do they in any shape or form consider ouropinions when they head to the polls in their country? IF THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTIONS ARE, NO, NO, NO, AND NO, THEN, WHY SHOULD WE CARE WHAT THEY THINK? ARE THEY GOING TO LIVE IN THIS COUNTRY AND TOLERATE OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY IF HE WINS, WHICH MOST OF US HOPE NOT? OBVIOUSLY NOT. WHO ARE THESE FOREIGNERS, WHO HAVE THE ODASITY TO COME INTO OUR HOUSE, OUR COUNTRY AND TELL US WHO THEY LIKE AND WHO THEY THINK WE SHOULD VOTE FOR? WE DO NOT DO THE SAME TO THEM DURING THEIR ELECTION NOR WOULD THEY EVEN TAKE OUR DECISION INTO CONSIDERATION. WOULD THEY ELECT A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE TO BE THE CEO OF THEIR MOST IMPORTANT REVENUE GENERATING COMPANY? OFCOURSE NOT. WOULD THEY ELECT "AN INTERN" TO BE THEIR PRESIDENT? AGAIN, OFCOURSE NOT. BUT BECAUSE AS THEY CALL US "CRAZY AMERICANS", WE ARE SO GULLIBLE AND DO NOT HAVE ANY BACKBONE BUT TO CARE FOR AND DO AS THEY DIRECT AND TELL US. THEY THINK, WE WILL BE STUPID ENOUGH TO GO WITH A CANDIDATE WHICH EVERYONE KNOWS IS “NOT QUALIFIED" FOR THE JOB. THEY KNOW, ELECTING OBAMA IS TO THEIR BENEFIT. IT IS NOT FOR OUR BENEFIT BECAUSE "THE CLOWN" HATES AMERICANS ACCORDING TO HOW HE WAS BROUGHT UP AND TAUGHT BY REFEREND WRIGHT AND TRINITY CHURCH. IF THESE SO CALL FOREIGNERS SO "LOVE" HIM AND WANTS HIM FOR "A PRESIDENT" THEN, WHY DONT THEY INSTALL HIM OVER THEIR COUNTRY AS "THEIR PRESIDENT"? AS DAVID LETTERMAN PUTS IT WHEN HILLARY WON PUERTO RICO, "PUERTO RICO SHOULD MAKE HER THEIR PRESIDENT." SO NOW, LET OBAMA "THE CLOWN" STAY THERE AND BE THEIR "PRESIDENT". HERE IN AMERICA, WE DO NOT VOTE FOR "INTERNS" TO BE OUR PRESIDENT, THERE ARE IMPORTANT ISSUES FACING OUR COUNTRY, AND THIS "CLOWN" DO NOT HAVE ANY SOLID CLUE ON HOW TO FIX IT EXCEPT TO GIVE US "POLITICAL RETORIC" IN ALL ISSUES WITHOUT ANY CONCRETE SOLUTION TO WHAT HE WILL DO TO SOLVE THE PROBLEMS. IF WE INSIST HE GIVE US A SOLUTION TO ANY ISSUE, HE STEALS A LINE OR TWO FROM OTHER CANDIDATES LIKE HILLARY OR MCCAIN. HE FLIPS FLOPS AND PANDERS ALL OVER THE ISSUES TO GET VOTES. THIS IS NOT WHAT WE WANT FOR “A PRESIDENT”. AGAIN, IF YOU OUT THERE IN OVERSEAS LAND LOVE HIM SO MUCH, KEEP HIM AND LET HIM LEAD YOU BECAUSE IT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN HERE. FOREIGNERS CANNOT CHOOSE OUR PRESIDENT FOR US JUST LIKE THEY WILL NOT TOLERATE OUR OPINION TOWARDS WHOM THEY SHOULD CHOOSE AS THEIR PRESIDENT OR PRIME MINISTER. HERE WE NEED A WELL QUALIFIED INDIVIDUAL, PATRIOTIC, GOD FEARING, NON MUSLIM, AND A PERSON WHO LOVE THIS COUNTRY AND NOT JUST PRETEND TO DO SO TO GET VOTES. OBAMA IS NOT THAT CANDIDATE FOR AMERICA, SO KEEP HIM THERE IF YOU THINK HE IS A PRESIDENTIAL MATERIAL FOR YOU.
    MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT 2008 AND HILLARY 2012!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  16. JB

    Did I miss the election? Is he already President? Why is every news organization so giddy about this tour? Why is Obama looking for so many photo ops? Oh, I guess he's doing what every other master politician does... he's just playing politics.

    July 24, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    How splendid he's appearing in the one place that socialist public policy has failed the most in the past 25 years.

    As Germany fights to extricate itself from it's liberal and very costly government entitlements–Obama speaks of adopting their own failed domestic policies here in the United States.

    Is this just me. or does anyone else think it's very impractical and a little wierd we are accepting public policy that has failed elsewhere just because of the failures of the neo-con George Bush and his cadre of deception and impropriety? Making things better by making things worse–doesn't seem like a good strategy for me. If McDonald's duplicated the failed strategies of some of their competitors–they wouldn't be the worlds fast food leader today. Why should we duplicate failed public policy which is tearing western europe and canada apart?

    July 24, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. Mandy

    I really think many of you are looking too far into this. He obviously wants to help not just himself (come on, this is politics...expect it), but also his country. What we need the MOST right now are better international relations and I don't understand what you think he's doing wrong.

    I believe this is a landmark step in the right direction and can only help our standing in the world.

    July 24, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. JohnBoy

    I am sure he will read a great speach.

    Vote for a real American

    McCain 08

    July 24, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  20. Jim

    Obama winning all the minority voters......... good bye McCain.

    July 24, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD

    OBAMA IS AN IDIOT. WHY IS HE CAMPAIGNING IN EUROPE AND THE MIDDLE EAST? ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT STUPID NOT TO BELIEVE THIS IS A CAMPAIGN TRIP? ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT IDIOTIC TO BELIEVE THAT ONE TRIP OVERSEAS MAKES HIM A FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXPERT OR THAT IT HELPS HIS FOREIGN POLICY CREDENTIALS? IS THAT LIKE SAYING THAT HE LEARNED ABOUT FOREIGN AFFAIRS WHEN HE WAS A CHILD LIVING IN INDONESIA BETWEEN THE AGES OF 6 AND 10? NEXT THING YOU KNOW OBAMA IS GOING TO ANNOUNCE, IF, GOD FORBID, HE IS ELECTED PRESIDENT, THAT HIS DAUGHTER, MALIA, WHO IS 10 YEARS OLD, WILL BE HIS SECRETARY OF STATE AND THAT HIS OTHER DAUGHTER WHO IS ABOUT 6, WILL BE THE SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BECAUSE SHE HAS BEEN IN SCHOOD FOR 2 YEARS. OBAMA IS A JOKE AND A DANGER TO THE SECURITY OF AMERICA. MCCAIN IS MORE INTERESTED IN DOING WHAT IS RIGHT FOR AMERICA AND FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAN OBAMA EVER HAS IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE. OBAMA STRUTS AROUND OVERSEAS LIKE HE IS ALL THAT AND A BAG OF CHIPS. OBAMA IS AN EMPTY SUIT FILLED WITH RHETHORIC AND EMPTY PROMISES. NOTICE HIS INTERVIEWS ARE ALWAYS FILLED WITH "UMMMS" AND "YOU KNOW". WHERE IS THE GREAT ORATOR? MCCAIN WILL DO AMERICA PROUD. AND FOR THOSE HILLARY SUPPORTERS WHO WILL STAY HOME, PLEASE VOTE MCCAIN. A VOTE FOR MCCAIN IS A VOTE AGAINST OBAMA AND THE CORRUPT DNC, DEAN, PELOSI AND BRAZILLE.

    July 24, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Irma in North Carolina

    I strongly adivse the americans to listen to Obamas speech in Germany, most of all the puma group, who are so childish and stubborn that their canidate lost, and they can not realize if they vote for Mccain, here comes another 4 years of bush. I hope they all wake up and see the light. This just goes to show that this pumma group are all a bunch of racists.

    July 24, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. 33/W/M in Ohio

    I think that it is great that there is a candidate that is respected and liked around the world. Let's not forget that the USA is only one of many sovereign nations on this planet. Let's break from our arrogance and reestablish good relations with our allies and open up broader channels of communication with our adversaries.

    We certainly can't count on people that joke about bombing Iran (though I thought the song parody itself was funny) to lead us forward towards a more peaceful and stable era. We need diplomacy in the White House, not Saturday Night Live.

    This isn't the Roman Empire. Those days are long gone. We can't prosper by conquering everyone. Germany found that out back in the 1940's.

    July 24, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. Aida

    It's also been reported Obama will be performing with the Rolling Stones, The Who and U2 at the Berlin Wall!

    Get over yourselves. Obama is what the media wants you to see and you have so much kool-aid in your system you are falling all over yourselves to crown the king.

    Remember, if you decide to elect this imposter, he will lead you down the path to destruction. A fool to lead the fools.

    July 24, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Calling on Independents, TX

    Hello Independents:
    I am calling each and everyone of you to do the right thing in this election, because I am also an Independent. I can understand why a republican would vote for McCain. I am having a very tough time understanding someone who is a true Independent will have any questions after having seen and heard both candidates. The difference is so obvious that you don't need to spend more than 5 minutes listening to McCain that he should not get your vote. I would have still votted for Obama even if the the candidates had switched their Parties. Come on lets do it!
    OBAMA 08 to bring this country back on track!

    July 24, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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