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Big setting confirmed for Barack Obama's big speech

July 7, 2008 | 10:07 am

It's official -- Barack Obama is taking it outdoors on Aug. 28 to formally accept the Democratic presidential nomination that will be bestowed on him the previous night.

As The Times' Doyle McManus anticipated in this item last week and as The Swamp writes about here, Democratic Party officials announced today that Obama will deliver his speech at Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High, presumably packing the stadium's 76,000-plus seats and praying that the thunderclouds that often roll across the Rockies in the summer won't rain on his spiel.

So much for the traditional balloon drop at the end of acceptance speeches; we'll be eagerly anticipating what sort of pyrotechnic displays the Democrats come up with in its stead.

As has long been noted, Obama's big rhetorical moment coincides with the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s famed "I have a dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Monument in Washington.

And as McManus noted, the venue for Obama's remarks forges another link for him with John F. Kennedy, who after receiving the 1960 Democratic nomination at a nearby convention hall gave his acceptance speech at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (little reason to worry about rain intruding in the City of Angels).

Over the weekend, the prospect surfaced of another Obama/Kennedy comparison (as well as a nod to Ronald Reagan). The German magazine "Der Spiegel" reported that Obama's "planned European tour might make a major whistlestop in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. The candidate's schedule isn't set, but a Berlin appearance before the end of July looks likely."

As the story recalls, the Brandenburg Gate is where Reagan gave his powerful 1987 speech urging then-Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down" the Berlin Wall (and, within a few years, what was perhaps the most obvious symbol of the Cold War was gone).

But Kennedy also made history in 1963 in what was then known as West Berlin, famously establishing his solidarity with its residents during a trip there by declaring, "Ich bin ein Berliner."

-- Don Frederick

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