Brandenburg Gate won’t be Obama’s Berlin backdrop

So much for Barack Obama’s Kennedyesque moment in Berlin.

Obama campaign officials say that the Democratic candidate has decided not to speak at the city’s historic Brandenburg Gate, where President John F. Kennedy visited before famously declaring in June 1963, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” (“I am a Berliner!”)

Bloomberg News quoted Obama foreign policy aide Denis McDonough as saying that the candidate “didn’t think it made sense at all for him to speak at the Brandenburg Gate, which he thought would be too presumptuous.”

Another hitch was that German Chancellor Angela Merkel objected to Obama’s using the site for what is essentially a campaign event. She will meet with him at her Berlin office instead.

Brandenburg Gate also is where President Reagan uttered his famous demand to then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in June 1987, regarding the barrier dividing East and West Berlin: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

The new venue for Obama’s Thursday speech has not been determined, although a German report pointed to the city’s Victory Column, 1 1/2 miles away.


-- Stuart Silverstein