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Barack Obama, in Dayton, says nice things about Angela Merkel, in Germany

Ticket readers no doubt remember our item the other day about German Chancellor Angela Merkel sending out a spokesman to express "great skepticism as to whether it is appropriate to bring an election campaign being fought not in Germany but in the United States to the Brandenburg Gate."

It's a really nice-looking gate all right, not in the Wyoming sense, but in that monolithic, stone European horses-and-chariots Berlin's really German-looking Brandenburg Gatesense. In fact, the Brandenburg has horses on top.

It would make a terrific backdrop for some freshman senator from Illinois with not that much foreign affairs experience to be seen giving a speech on, say, foreign affairs.

Ronald Reagan, who was also from Illinois, spoke there as a sitting president, not someone running for it. And when he went against his advisors' urgings and called on Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, the gate was a symbol of the Cold War.

Today, it's a symbol of German unity. But to Americans, it just looks really foreign -- in large part because nothing in the United States would be allowed to stand like that for 219 years.

Not without being rezoned for lofts.

Foreign-looking is all an American candidate really needs anyway.

Friday, just two days after the Germans seemed to ...

... put the schnitzel on his campaign appearance at the Berlin gate, Barack Obama was speaking in Dayton, Ohio, which is a good place to talk about foreign affairs because of its proximity to Indiana.

The Times' eagle-earred Louise Roug was on duty and noted Obama seeming to go out of his way to say nice things about Ms. Merkel, perhaps as a kind of apology or maybe a plea to reconsidGerman Chancellor Angela Merkeler. Here's what Obama said:

"Across the planet, countries like Germany and the United Kingdom have already implemented clean-energy polices that are reducing their carbon emissions right now, and leaders like Tony Blair and Angela Merkel have done a great job of raising the visibility of climate change within the G8. 

"Now it's our turn to lead –- to show that this future is possible for America."

American politicians burnishing or building foreign affairs credentials tend to make their foreign trips just above the legal speed limits, "doing" the Middle East and Europe in, say, four days if the traffic's not too bad. Paris and London in the same day. John McCain recently "did" Colombia and Mexico in, what, 72 hours. He got home way before his postcards. 

Details of Obama's big trip have not been announced, allegedly for security reasons. But he's certain to "do" Iraq, where he last was in 2006, and Afghanistan, where he's never been, and Israel, of course, and maybe Jordan and France and Germany and Britain.

By the time he gets to his last stop, Obama will no doubt have read his briefing book and learned that Tony Blair is no longer the prime minister of Britain. The new guy is Gordon Brown, who's from Scotland, where the men wear skirts and guests are expected to try one on. Imagine that photo on Drudge.

-- Andrew Malcolm

 
Comments () | Archives (4)

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I agree with Merkel. The site should a political backdrop.

Obama – Oh Mama. A look at the phenomenon of Obama’s selection and the enthusiasm of his supporters. Obama Oh Mama The Temptation, The Mantra, The Consequences
I hope you will consider it at zachjonesishome.wordpress.com. Specifically: http://zachjonesishome.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/obama-oh-mama/

Why the spite in your article? Seems so very nonlinear. The comment at the end regarding Obama's briefing book shows a complete lack of thought on the authors part. Obama clearly stated that Blair and Merkel raised the political profile of the climate crisis within the G8. Is that not true? Should we credit Brown with that? Wouldn't that be counter factual? Remember the Carbon Trust...how about Stern Report?

I'm shocked anew, every Saturday morning, by the pseudo intellectual nonsense that passes at analysis. What is it you want to hear in response Mr. Malcom? I would guess that while this was written you envisioned readers thinking: "This brave bi-partisan angst-ridden prose is just so cool. Let's rail on everyone and belittle the democratic process!"

The german chancellor is absolutely right.
Political candidates should not be allowed to use this historic venue for their campaigns and ralleys.
Obama has once again shown his lack of knowledge and judgement when it comes to diplomatic relations with foreign countries.
This arrogant man is starting to believe his own hype and needs to take a reality check.

I agree completely that this article is snarky and mean. Obama was right in mentioning Blair as raising the climate problem when Blair was PM. I am shocked that the LA Times permits a Republican dog like Malcolm to attack Obama with hardly veiled lies and smears. PLEASE, Senator Obama is about a hundred times more brilliant than Malcolm and has achieved more than Malcom will ever do in a hundred lifetimes. Jealous males should be sent to the doghouse with Jesse Jackson where they can howl their dark nights away from civilization.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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