London calling: Obama to close out trip in U.K.

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LONDON I hopped over to the U.K. this morning from Berlin following Sen. Barack Obama’s big speech there last night. He’s in Paris now but heads here this evening before a morning meeting Saturday with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

 

The display above was the array of papers available at the airport, with the British ones being from the day before.

 

The Obama speech was front-paged just about everywhere and led all the local news stations. Most Germans I chatted with before I left hadn’t seen the speech because they’d been working, but had heard favorable excerpts on the radio. Chancellor Angela Merkel said through a spokesman the speech was a “positive signal” to Europe.

 

Here’s my story from today’s paper.

 

BERLIN — Sen. Barack Obama presented himself Thursday to Europeans as a “citizen” of both the U.S. and the world and spoke repeatedly of the things that “we” must do on terrorism, the environment and other global issues.

His speech in front of the historic Victory Column in Tiergarten was filled with references to politics, from acknowledging American shortcomings to urging Germany to recommit to NATO success in Afghanistan.

“I speak to you not as a candidate for president, but as … a proud citizen of the United States and a fellow citizen of the world,” the presumptive Democratic nominee told at least 200,000 people gathered not far from where the Berlin Wall once divided the city. Mr. Obama declared the importance of trans-Atlantic partnership in a setting that portrayed him as an American superstar.

“While the 20th century taught us that we share a common destiny, the 21st has revealed a world more intertwined than at any time in human history,” he said.

The thousands there - many waving American flags - cheered his call for people worldwide to “tear down” new walls dividing countries, religions and races.

Just like crowds at his American rallies, these fans erupted in chants of “Obama, Obama,” and “Yes, we can.” One person led the crowd in a chorus of the “Obamagirl” song, getting dozens to sing along that “I’ve got a crush on Obama.”


Read the full story here.

 

I also took a ton of crowd shots and some video of the speech yesterday.

 

Here’s the opening band Reamonn:

 

 

 

 

Here’s his money line where he talks about the need to tear down the new walls dividing the world:

 

 

 

 

Here is Obama telling the crowd that American hasn’t been perfect:

 

 

 

 

 

Also, the Israeli newspaper Maariv has a stunning story detailing the note Obama placed in the holy Western Wall early Thursday morning.

 

“Lord — Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will,” reads the note, on stationary from the King David Hotel.

 

Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitz, in charge of the Western Wall, said publishing the note intruded in Obama’s relationship with God, according to the Associated Press. Other newspapers obtained the note, taken from the wall after the senator left by a Jewish seminary student, but decided not to publish it.

 

Maariv, by contrast, ran a photo of the note on its front page:

 

 

Thanks to everyone who sent tips on Berlin. I’ll be in London for two nights, so if you have any recommendations, please let me know.

 

Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times


Bookmark my blog at http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/bellantoni


Find my latest stories here and visit my YouTube page.

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Christina Bellantoni

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