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. brandon

    and here come the haters in.. 3...2.....1

    July 24, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  2. Safety & Comfort

    Wait...Obama isn't in the U.S? I wish the media would have told me....

    July 24, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  3. Joyce, ny

    he represents the country very well indeed. to those that think european and the rest of the world don't matter – think again. we can't have the world continue to hate us and expect everything to be fine and dandy. we need our neighbors like it or not to at least respect us once again.

    one of my friends who travelled to germany about 4 years ago was thrown out of a restaurant together with her companion simply because they were americans. people around the world view the united states are war mongering bully with no brains. i'm happy at the reception he's getting and the fact that he represents the greater number of american's who are actually respect human rights and borders and diversity and are actually smart.

    is he perfect, no off course not. he still has a lot to learn. i am a hilary supporter. i do recognize why this man got the nomination and not her. he comes off as someone who is genuine with far more integrity. times like this that's what we need. it's hard to restore that after all that we've gone through.
    the first thing to do is heal relationships, and that's what he's doing.

    in order to move on, we need someone like him. we need to put country first before our political affiliations. if you folks trust bush enough to give him a second term, this man is definitely far better than him.

    July 24, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  4. Monica


    It's a fine line to walk for Obama. If he doesn't act presidential then the republicans attack him saying that he's not ready to be President. But if he acts presidential, then he's being arrogant.

    There's no way to win. The media is covering Obama more than McCain because the republicans made such a big deal over Obama's foreign experience, that it's no wonder the media is following Sen. Obama closely. They want to verify the republican's claims... And since Obama is putting them all to shame, they're upset.

    July 24, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  5. Joe McCallum

    Lets here what Obama has to say. I am personally excited and hopeful of change coming to America. We are hated abroad, the economy has tanked, we have been lied into and out of wars etc. I don't know about the rest of you, but I do know that we can do better as a country. Obama speaks to that. That is why he is covered so intensely by the media. For those who say that he is just words, every great man from Jesus to Mandela used words. The bible is just words, but words when put into practice, can bring about unbelievable change. Oh, one other thing. Is there anyone out there who sincerely believes that John McCain is the answer?

    Go Obama!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Native New Yorker

    Let the haters do what they do best Sen. Obama. You do what you do best – continue to promote change, vision, leadership, eloquence, intelligence and I could go on. Everything that we've been lacking for eight years. Yes, the world is looking foward to you becoming the President of the U.S. They are ready to exhale.
    Love you and your family. I look forward to hearing your speech today. I can't wait for the debates.
    Obama & Clark '08

    July 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Richard PA

    That moran from the first post thinks that this was a trip to lay out his policies???? Has he been paying attention??? You dont lay down policies when on a fact finding trip... OMG people are just not paying attention...

    That is why he said he will be doing alot of listening!

    July 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. yankeegirl15

    Wow only one complaining PUMA are the rest in bed?

    July 24, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  9. Gobama

    Senator Obama has met so many people and has gained wealth of knowledge and experience from his weeklong world tour.
    Nobody can challenge his experience now.

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  10. Greg. PA

    Why is the media giving this idiot the time of day over this two bit trip? If I am not mistaken I thought the election is to be held in November and the outcome will be that McCain won the election, so why is the liberal media reporting such crap?

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  11. Bobby, Triangle, VA

    45Revolver Comments:
    OF COURSE his speech won't be a "policy wonk" speech…the man has NO POLICIES! This nation is punch drunk and can't name a thing the man stands for in the way of actual policy! Have you tried asking his supporters why they support him? Their answers are Just as vague as his speeches

    There's a saying, "If you do not speak, someone may think your smart!" I believe that goes for writing as well. This idiot above have no clue what he's talking about, Mr. clueless, go to barackobama.com and you can read for yourself what his plans are.

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  12. Tony

    I bet all they want is a president in the US that won't molesting their Chancellor Merkel like George W did.

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  13. prairieguy

    I see the Obama haters are out this morning.

    You can visit McWhinner in the "cheese aisle" of your nearest grocery store...cheese aisle for a cheesy man!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. JAMES


    July 24, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Serge Malongo from Canada

    I'm in Montreal and I'm following the development of Mr Obama's overseas travels and am proud to see that the United States' pride, stature and image is gaining back the ground it has lost in the past few years. These travels should be seen as a beginning towards a new glorious era.

    July 24, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Henry n New York

    In case many of you have forgotten – this is one of the many things that a President of the United States of America is supposed to do. Granted he is not yet elected as such. But, would you rather have Bush making this speaech of future unity!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Stephen L. Baker

    The Europeans are interested in what Sen Obama has to say in hopes that he, if elected, will listen to the thoughts and ideas of "Old Europe", which will be a welcomed change to them from the deaf-ear treatmernt of the last seven+ years.

    July 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Kenny

    Obama has increase foreign countries relationship of the U.S 10 fold,thats the kind of President America needs,why dont you folks admit it and Thank your lucky stars and the almighty?

    July 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Chi-Town Cheryl

    I cannot wait to see Obama give his speech in Berlin. It will be wonderful to see the warm reception the German people give him, as well as the French and British - unlike here in America where there still exists a history of cruelty, hatred and bigotry towards people of color. Obama has shattered all the sterotypes of the "typical black man." Obama is an intelligent, gentle, unifying force for America, but 1/2 of the American people still do not like him because he is black. America still has a long, long way to go with race relations in this country. More than likely, it will never be right. Every country on this planet views America as a very racist nation, and that is part of the reason Obama is receiving such a warm reception in the countries he has visited.

    July 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  20. fella from Chicago

    If this stage prop says, "Ich bin Berliner"in his speech I'll puke. God how I loathe this phony. All mouth, no substance.

    July 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. Vic of New York

    It's refreshing to witness an American citizen/politician who for once is not viewed by the rest of the world as "The Ugly American". People all over the world look to America with hope and idealism.

    What America has shown the world for the last two generations is how petty, self-consumed and self destructive we can be. That mind set has been promoted, reinforced and enthusiastically recruited by the right-wing thug-leaders for a decade.

    We won't be able to make these mindless zombies go away – but maybe we can sweep them back into the dark corners they came from and bask our country in the light of new day for Change.

    July 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  22. larry buchas

    The world anticipates this speech. Then it anticipates Barack elected on November 4th. Finally, we all anticipate his inauguration on January 20, 2009.

    Then our international nightmare will be over!

    July 24, 2008 10:01 am at 10:01 am |

    WOW! I can hardly wait to hear Mr. Obamas speach today, Americans should really be proud of him, he is able to bring people together all over the world, however some Americans are so bitter and hateful that no matter how well this man conducts himself vs McBush, he will never be good enough. STOP BE SO FREAKING MEAN SPIRITED, MAY GOD BLESS AMERICA, WE COULD BE SUCH A GREAT NATION IF ONLY WE COULD ONLY CHANGE THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF HATEFUL PEOPLE.

    July 24, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  24. Carlos

    I am not sure why some citizens feel that we shouldn't care what Europe (or the world) thinks during an American Election. When a country is in a leadership position it is only reasonable that those, being inspired or influenced, take an interest in our activities here in the USA. It is a good sign that our leadership can be maintained through the right global minded policies without being solely US centric.

    July 24, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. Zoroaster

    Republicans make their money after the election. The media make their money during the election. Make sense to me why they love BO. he is the news, the money. McCain is the total opposite. Did I said he is too old to appear in new technologies anyway.

    July 24, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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