Obama to speak at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket
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President Barack Obama will speak June 19 at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, the White House announced Wednesday—a major turnabout for Obama, whose plans to speak at the landmark were rejected during his 2008 presidential campaign.

"President Obama will speak about the deep and enduring bonds between the United States and Germany, the vital importance of the transatlantic alliance, and the values that bind us together," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement about Obama's visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Brandenburg Gate, which represents the division between East and West Berlin and Berlin's later reunification, was the desired site for a major 2008 speech for Obama during his first presidential campaign. But at that time, Merkel publicly rejected then-Sen. Obama's plans to use the landmark for campaign purposes.

Obama in instead delivered a speech, attended by 200,000 people, in front of Berlin's Victory Column, a nearby city landmark, during a foreign policy campaign swing.

The gate has been the backdrop for famous speeches made by Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

Obama will speak there days before the 50th anniversary of Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner") speech made June 26, 1963.

This time, Obama will speak at the gate at the invitation of Merkel herself.