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Germany's Angela Merkel sets some ground rules for Barack Obama

July 9, 2008 |  2:08 pm

Perhaps Barack Obama and his logistical crew would be well advised to go to Plan B as they plot a possible speech by him in Berlin later this month.

That's because no less a personage than German Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken umbrage at the idea of Obama's using the city's famed Brandenburg Gate as a telegenic backdrop for an Obama appearance during his upcoming overseas jaunt.

Merkel has expressed "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," Thomas Steg, a spokesman for the chancellor, told reporters.

An Associated Press story on Merkel's concern notes that the edifice "was once a symbol of Germany's Cold War division and now stands for its reunification."

Merkel, according to Steg, expressed doubt that a German candidate for political office "would think of using [Washington's] National Mall or Red Square in Moscow for rallies, because it would be considered inappropriate."

Countdown to Crawford, a new Times blog focused on the waning days on the Bush presidency, has more on the story.

As for a venue for Obama in Berlin, perhaps he could borrow a page from the revised script for the Democratic National Convention and rent a large soccer stadium.