2008 (AP Photo):
2013 (REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz):
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 rock star. Unfortunately, his reception this time was a lot different.
An estimated 200,000 people turned out in July 2008 to see then Candidate Obama deliver an address in front of one of Germany’s most notable landmarks. He took a lot of criticism from Germans for his choice of location and from his U.S. political opponents who weren’t happy about seeing an American presidential hopeful being adored by tens of thousands of foreigners. The Berlin event was larger than any of his U.S. campaign stops, though some critics even disputed the crowd figures. (Republicans in the heat of a campaign, obviously found other flaws with the speech.)
Fast forward to 2013, and many are now saying that Obama’s reputation is “tarnished,” by his recent snooping scandals, his extensions of the war on terror, and the hard luck realities of failing to deliver on all your promises. (Even ones you didn’t really make.) He’s “demystified” and “no longer a superstar” in German eyes. Now he’s just another world leader on a state visit, and whatever problems people have with U.S. policy are on his shoulders.
And instead of opening up the speech to the whole city, Obama spoke in front only about 5,000-6,000 spectators, all of them invited guests.
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