Barack Obama returned to Berlin today, almost five years to the day from when he delivered his famous "Victory Column" speech that cemented his reputation as an international rockstar. Unfortunately, his reception this time is likely to be a lot different, despite what he said was being "a little more informal among friends."
An estimated 200,000 people turned out in July 2008 to see then Candidate Obama deliver an address in front of Germany's most notable landmarks. He took a lot of criticism from Germans for his choice of location — he originally wanted to speak before the Brandenburg Gate, but switched it to the Victory Column at the other end of the Teirgarten — and from his U.S. opponetns. American presidential hopeful being adored by tens of thousands of foreigners. (The Berlin even was larger than any of his U.S. campaign stops, though some critics even disputed the crod figures. Republicans in the heat of a campaign, obviously found other flaws with the speech.)
Fast forward to 2013, and many are now saying Obama's reputation is "tarnished," and the hard luck realities of failing to deliver on all your promises. (Even ones you didn't make.) He's demystified and "no longer a superstar" in German eyes. Now he's a world leader on a state visit, and whatever problems people have with U.S. policy are on his shoulders. His calls for a reduction in global nuclear weapons and argue for the U.S. intervention in Syria, but was notably different in in tone than 2008's. (It's now Angela Merkel who is in the middle of an election year. She introduced Obama.)
The whole thing also looks a lot different. Today's speech is at the Brandenburg Gate — where he wanted to speak in 2008, before German politics and symbolism forced a switch to the other end of Berlin's Tiergarten — which is at the opposite end of the same public from the monument he spoke at in 2008. And don't expect the crowds to be quite so loving or large as last time. Check out the photos below for some comparisons.
via Chuck Todd/Instagram
(AP Photo/Fabian Bimmer)
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
(AP Photo/Jens Meyer)