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. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    It appears that 80% of Europeans like him. He should probably stay.

    July 24, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  2. New Yorker

    Of course, the world is waiting to see if we'll stand against terorism or fall. Put a democrat in and we're more likely to cave in to those who want peace at any price, including our freedom and sovereignity. That's simply because many liberals don't realize there are truly evil people with warped ideology who want all the power, ie: Hitler to name one of many.

    July 24, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  3. Michael Turner

    Yes we can! We are so proud of the way you carry yourself.
    You are very inspirational Senator Obama.

    July 24, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  4. randy

    Barack is the man of the people.go barack i will vote for you.

    July 24, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. Anna

    lets see...
    The other nations of the world resent America because they perceive us as arrogant, shallow, over-commercialized, insincere, self-indulgent, and always able and willing to exploit our Wealth and Power to get what we want no matter who gets the shaft because of it.

    I am SO GLAD we now have SENATOR OBAMA to change that image for us.

    He is using other people's hard earned money to create that 'attention' around himself. OMG.

    And when he gets all he is asking us to pay for...when his eight years are up? What then? I suppose Gov. Richardson (or some other pander-puss) will be there to pick up the reins and take us onward to...

    oh brother.

    Keep the hard questions coming, Media People.
    katie couric for president!

    July 24, 2008 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  6. Ellie

    Great to hear it.... I'll be listening.

    July 24, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. Craig Stroman

    Senator Obama is the most inspiring, thoughtful and intelligent politicians I've seen in a long time. For those media hawks, like Couric, your news programs and "Faux-News" who continue to try and ride him about the so-called "surge" success, you need to pipe down on critisizm. I don't know if some of you listen but he keeps saying that there is a drop in violnce in the surge but there are important measures that havne't been met. For one, there still is no conciliaiton between the various groups on how the oil monies will be distributed. There really is no political reconciliation between the parties which the surge was supposed to help with. I am tired of politicians and the media talking to us as children instead of talking to us like adults and have adult conversations like Barack offers us. The surge has worked minimally with other serious factors that haven't been met because of the surge. Don't let the Right dictate this debate with stupid rhetoric about successful surges. We shouldn't be in Iraq in the first place. Ask them about that!

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

    It is about time barack is the man for the country please please america vote for barack obama.

    July 24, 2008 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  9. Lourdes

    I'm looking forward to watching this on TV or the internet, and I am curious to see how the McCain campaign will desperately try to continue to sling their venomous empty insults at Obama out of pure jealousy.

    McCain has been more un-presidential this week than I ever would have expected, and Obama has proved himself to be a true American statesman and patriot.

    July 24, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  10. 68 year old voter

    Quiet every one ;he is going to speak ! This media fawning bias is sickening!

    July 24, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  11. lila

    It feels so good for America not to be treated like a "pariah nation".
    I thank Obama for that. Even if he goes this trip as only a united states citizen and senator.

    July 24, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  12. Jason

    sure is refreshing to have the world once again look upon the United States and feel a sense of hope. i guess they are as eager for change as we are. republicans have no one else to blam other than little bush for their election misfortunes.

    July 24, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  13. Texas trail puppy!

    Give it to them Barack and make America proud!!!

    July 24, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. casey

    The media is trying to hype this up talking about a million people, I mean that is just ridiculous, they want to have a story of "only a few thousand showed up" as if ANY would come to see McCain or Bush for that matter!
    NO matter what the crowd size....this is amazing for an American leader to be viewed so positively on the other side of the world!! Go Obama, continue to make us proud!!

    Obama 08

    July 24, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  15. Kris

    So can we watch the speech on CNN?

    And if you do– how do we know you will show the whole thing?
    (you have cut off major speeches before)

    If you are showing it, and do plan on running it in its entirety, I hope you say so. If I cannot count on watching it in its entirety, I will watch elsewhere.

    I know RTE (for one) is running it live. I hope you do.

    This really is an historical "where were you then" moment..

    July 24, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. Tim

    Truly brilliant and humble man who will make a great President.

    July 24, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  17. pakuna

    Obama is NOT our President. Every day while he is over seas he makes it clear he is Campaigning . (((it's not a political rally)))) The trip is NOTHING but a political rally !!!!! who does he remind you of. How bout Hitler, Stalin.

    July 24, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  18. s. heizer

    We would like to watch this "much anticipated speech" live. Are you broadcasting it live? We really wish someone would say. Thanks.

    July 24, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  19. Kenneth ochogo

    I know Obama is a Great leader. Not only Europe and Middle East excited but African cöntinent too. I suggest that the senator to pay us a visit here in Africa.

    July 24, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  20. Politicsasusual

    Husian Obama is just showing his rock star side again. He didn't make this trip to gain experience, he went to get more votes. He makes me sick to my stomach. He has never held a real honest to God job in his life. His policies are weak and fuzzy so they can always be changed.

    Husain Obama is DANGEROUS for America. McCain gets my vote, he served his country as did I. Experience matters!

    July 24, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    My question is what topic will the speech be on? Is there something that is so important that should be said in Europe rather than here in the US? I can understand him visiting these places and meeting with leaders of those countries. I am not sure that anything more need be said other than things that have already been said.

    July 24, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  22. Ron L

    It is just a SPEECH. One of several 100 he has probably given in his life time. You know the News Media needs to get a grip and focus on more important issues and events. I am an Obama supporter and I really think the news needs to get into the details of both candidates plans about health care. The one thing that could REALLY help this nation as a whole is getting health care cost under control. It is a weight around the necks of both the American public and American industry. FORGET the SPEECHES...GET into the FACTS

    July 24, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  23. aj

    This speech is going to be so good and inspirational, that I predict McCain has to pick his VP within 10 hours of it as his only response.

    July 24, 2008 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  24. Mike, TX

    Of course it won't be a "wonkish policy speech". Obama has NO policies. It will be another empty speech offering no solutions and void of substance. Europeans will love it, because Obama lowers the United States down to the level Europe.

    This trip of Obama's is typical of his campaign: very long on photo ops and zero substance. Hillary must be livid.

    Obama offers nothing except $ 1 trillion in tax increases, but people love a sideshow.

    July 24, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  25. Jay

    Much Anticipated to CNN. No one cares CNN. Stop pushing him on us!

    July 24, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
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