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Ich Bin Ein Obama

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By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 25, 2008; 8:34 AM

There really wasn't much to object to in Barack Obama's Berlin speech yesterday, filled with high-flown language about tearing down walls and joining forces to pursue our "shared destiny," "save this planet" and "give our children back their future."

"The speech, frankly, could have been given by John McCain," NBC's Chuck Todd said. (Except maybe for the end-the-war part.)

A few too many cliches, perhaps. But then, the words weren't really the point. The point was the tableaux, the cheering crowd, the sense of a potential president repairing the Bushian breach with Europe and restoring America's global image.

You could see the television correspondents straining to find a note of skepticism-- maybe the folks back home are more worried about their mortgages--because what's the worst thing you can say about a well-delivered speech adored by the German masses? That he could have worn a better tie? That Ohio still has more electoral votes?

Let's zip through the MSM reporting and then I'll offer my take on the coverage of this World Tour.

NYT: "Senator Barack Obama stood before a sea of people here Thursday evening and issued a call for cooperation, imploring America and Europe to bridge differences and rekindle old alliances in an effort to restore global stability and better confront existing and unforeseen threats."

LAT: "In one of the most theatrical events of his campaign, Barack Obama called today for closer ties between Europe and the United States in a speech to more than 200,000 Germans at a towering monument to Prussian war triumphs."

WP: "Addressing a huge throng in the middle of this once-divided city, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Thursday implored Americans and Europeans to renew the partnership that once defeated communism to address 21st-century threats that he said put the security of all nations at risk."

Boston Globe: "Less than a mile from a point where the Berlin Wall once wound through this city's downtown, Senator Barack Obama yesterday extended his trademark message of unity to a global audience, inviting a large-scale collection of European supporters to join an era of liberal internationalism he said would be necessary to address the world's post-Cold War challenges."

Chicago Tribune: "Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama came to a city once divided by the Cold War and sustained in crisis by the Atlantic Alliance to call today for a strengthened commitment to international alliances for an era of new threats."

Now for a broader view:

After saying little in public during a weekend in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama met with traveling reporters near Jordan's Temple of Hercules, a gladiator standing his ground against the media hordes.


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© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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