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

Obama prepares to deliver much-anticipated speech in Berlin

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/07/24/obama.trip/art.obama.berlin.gi.jpg caption="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. Hms

    Does he do anything well besides "PREAPRED" Speeches

    July 24, 2008 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  2. robert ga

    It should be a good speech as long as he reframes from speaking German.

    July 24, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  3. kevin for obama in Maryland

    Maybe John McGaff will keep his mouth closed next time. Look, he called Obama out on not going to the middle east and now look...........the middle east has embraced and agreed with Obama and now the McGaff camp can't take their own medicine. Hey, McGaff.....Bless His Little Heart for getting mad.

    McGaff, go home andf give this thing up, the country does not want you and the world does not want you as well. Give it up and let Obama bring our troops home and get our economy back on track cause McGaff"s plans for the U.S..........oh lord..............help us all if McGaff is President. We will have a war monger POW who does not know the difference between Shia and Sunnis in Iraq and Iran and who got the time table of the surge wrong and who thinks that Pakistan borders Iraq. Lord help us is McGaff is President........

    July 24, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  4. Texas Trail Dog!

    Who's anticipating it. Germany doesn't care about him unless it's to go and have a good laugh. Germany is a whole lot better off than we are economy wise. They know the animal that escaped from the zoo can not help the United States except to take it down even further.

    July 24, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  5. Tom Swift, Shopton USA


    I am starting to warm up to Obama.

    So far, on this trip, he's looked more "presidential" than the current President.

    Since it looks likely that he will be elected, it's good to see him getting a running start.

    Not only "ready on Day 1", but already punched in & on the job.


    July 24, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  6. Dave

    Who care really? CNN the Obama news network is now targeting just black viewers.... I urge all to move to FOX news, if your sick of Obama gushing all over themselves at CNN....

    July 24, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  7. Jeff

    Barf. This over hyped man with an ego the size of Texas should be on a learning trip rather than one which is designed to feed into his already overwhelming narcissism. If he should be elected it will be amusing to watch him get knocked around and cut down to size. Obama is a national disaster waiting to happen. While their ideology is different, Obama and G.W. Bush are the same type of men; the American electorate never seems to learn.

    July 24, 2008 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  8. Denise Groves

    Looking forward to it. Go Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  9. theflyonthewall

    And yet another stop on the Snake-Oil World Tour...

    July 24, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  10. JP Bless

    Obama proves there are still very articulate, insightful, thoughtful leaders in America; a u-turn from the past 8 years of Bush mediocre communication skill. America is a great nation full of very smart individuals, so you need a smart leader to prod America's smart people into action. Obama will awaken the giant in America once more. By the way, this is a foreigner's view.

    July 24, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  11. Liam Danhof

    I will be the farm that Bush asked Merkel not to let Obama speak before the Breandenberg gate just to make him look bad. I will also bet the farm and the house that if McBush wants to speak in Germany that he will be allowed to gibve his speech right out front of the Brandenberg Gate. Any takers on this bet?

    July 24, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  12. Walt, Belton,TX

    Can't wait for his "Ich bin ein esel" speech.

    July 24, 2008 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  13. gotcha

    The trip hasnt changed my mind. He is still unprepared to be President, and I will not support him. He is like a kid at Disneyland., hasnt a clue, except to flash that kid grin and show his inexperience. Come home and grow up, Obama.

    July 24, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  14. JC, South Carolina

    McCain would be a terrible president.

    July 24, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  15. Kevin

    How could anyone not seriously consider voting for Barack Obama in November? I mean really. It's obvious this is his time.


    July 24, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  16. JIM...TX

    And the SURGE continues:)

    July 24, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  17. jp/michigan

    Obama did not pick Germany as his venue for a rally, because he wanted to change German perceptions about America. He picked it because the pro-Obama mania was already in place and the polls were sympathetic. Oh, he insists it's no campaign rally, but just a speech at the Victory Column, as if every visiting senator does that. Why will they cheer? Because they see a less influential America coming with an Obama Presidency. They see a bigger government, fewer personal freedoms and lower standard of living, in short, Americans more European.

    July 24, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  18. check and checkmate

    JFK was a unique Pres. and a optimistic realist, Barack has with the slanted help of the DNC of which I am rethinking my membership, have come up with a image that is more tell u what u want to hear a opertunist with glib repetitive cadance. The real depth of his message is seen as socialist engineer with a vale of hope rather than substance. Unfortunately Mc Cain, is showing tobe a one dimentional figure. There for if thats my choice I will lean to the notion of a strong majority of Dems in Congress and a Repuke. Pres to offset each other. Call me PUMA, so what Hillary offered a third choice and thats what is need now more than ever.....

    July 24, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  19. Hillary Backer for McCain

    All I know is that while he is out rubbing elbows with these foreign aliens from far off strange lands like Yuuruup, our pal Mac is guarding the fort, searching under every foxhole for the enemy. Thats my kinda leader! Mac baby..Mac...Its called the White House for a reason so lets keep it so!

    July 24, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. Philani Masuku

    South Africa and the rest of the African Continent loves you and is 100% behind you. We Made You. Represent us well!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  21. Kevin

    Deep down inside, you know you want to see Barack Obama as president. And you know you want to vote for him. And you know we need him. Sadly though, more people will be voting AGAINST Obama in November than will be voting FOR John Mccain. There is minimal excitement around a Mccain administration. Conquer your fears people. Vote Obama, you'll be glad you did. Don't you hate knowing you voted for Bush? It's not all your fault though. No one knew he'd turn out this bad. You can make it right, with the smart vote in November.

    Obama 08

    July 24, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  22. Kofi

    Wish u well!

    July 24, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  23. David K in New York, NY

    Can't wait to hear it although I'm sure McCain will poo-poo it somehow. Let's face it, U.S. citizens and european nations that respected and supported us would welcome a change from the current administration. Anything Obama can do (and it would'nt take much given the past seven years) to be articulate and thoughtfulabout a vision of the future of U.S.-Europe relations I think will be greeted enthusiastically by Europe.

    July 24, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  24. J.K.


    July 24, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  25. Anansenet

    I am so certain that Obama will restore America's image abroad when elected. Prior to this administration in office, this country was a super power but George Bush's arrogance has made this county a laughing stock.
    He thinks any country that does not agree to his policies is America's enemy which is not so. I am hoping that Americans do away with racism and elect a democrat into the White House to instill dicipline and bring peace to the world.
    God Bless the USA.

    July 24, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
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