Obama Live Ticker: 'America Has no Better Partner than Europe'
US presidential candidate Barack Obama started his much-anticipated trip to Germany on Thursday, and the expectations are massive. SPIEGEL ONLINE is following his every move through Berlin with its Live Ticker.
++Over 200,000 Throng to Listen to Obama++
8:00 p.m.: Police estimate that at least 200,000 people turned up to listen to Obama's speech.
++ Obama Says He Loves America ++
7:47 p.m: Obama says that he loves America and that the US speaks to aspirations shared by all people -- "to live free from fear."
++ Obama Calls on the World to Support Iraq ++
7: 45 p.m.: "This is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close," Obama says, drawing thunderous applause.
++ Obama on Afghanistan ++
7:40 p.m.: "There is too much at stake to turn back now" on Afghanistan.
++ Obama Calls on Europeans and Americans to Fight Terror Together ++
7:38 p.m.: Obama says: "True partnership and true progress requires constant work and sustained sacrifice ... Requires allies who will learn from each other, listen to each other and most of all trust each other." Obama says: "America has no better partner than Europe." He called on Europeans and Americans to work together "to defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism that supports it."
++'We Cannot Afford to be Divided' ++
7:33 p.m.: Obama says "We cannot afford to be divided. On both sides of the Atlantic we have drifted apart and forgotten our shared destiny." Obama calls on people to "tear down new walls" between races, countries and religions.
++ Obama Speaks of Berlin's Cold War History ++
7:26 p.m.: Obama says: "This city knows the dream of freedom." He says: "People of the world look at Berlin."
++ Obama Arrives at Victory Column ++
7:21 p.m.: Obama takes to the podium to cheers of "Yes, we can."
++ Obama Makes His Way to Victory Column ++
7:02 p.m.: Obama leaves his hotel to make his way to the Victory Column, where he is to give his speech. Around 100,000 people are reported to be awaiting him there.
++ Pop Concert for Obama Fans ++
6:33 p.m.: The tens of thousands of Obama fans are being entertained as they await the senator. The reggae musician Patrice kicked things off, followed by the rock band Reamonn.
++ Fan Mile Fills Up ++
6:14 p.m.: An hour to go before Obama's speech and tens of thousands of people have already made their way to the Fan Mile. The visitors have to empty their bags and go through metal detectors similar to airport security checks.
++ Wowereit Lauds Obama ++
6:01 p.m.: Berlin's mayor sings Obama's praises after their meeting. "He is a very charming and determined man, who has a vision for America and the whole world," says Klaus Wowereit after meeting with the senator.
++ Obama Praises Merkel ++
5:51 p.m.: Obama's top advisor Robert Gibbs says the senator applauds Chancellor Merkel's leading international role on the issue of climate change and her ability to solve regional conflicts. Gibbs says that Obama also appreciates Europe's efforts to end Iran's nuclear program.
++ Obama Ahead in the Polls ++
5:42 p.m.: The latest opinion poll to be released in the US shows that Obama is leading his Republican rival John McCain by 6 percentage points, with 47 percent of those polled saying they would vote for Obama in November compared to 41 percent who would vote for McCain. The poll was conducted for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News.
++ Hold-Ups as Visitors Throng Fan Mile ++
5:08 p.m: The huge amount of people hoping to gain entry to the Fan Mile is causing big hold-ups. It is currently taking around half an hour to gain entry to the area.
++ Obama Extends his Berlin Trip ++
4:59 p.m.: Obama seems to like the German capital. He is to stay longer on Friday than he had originally planned, delaying his departure for Paris by two hours to just after noon. According to his team, however, these plans can change at any time.
++ Obama Takes Time to Work Out ++
4:49 p.m.: Obama enters the luxury Ritz Carlton hotel wearing a T-shirt, black sweatpants and white trainers -- apparantly to work out in the hotel's gym. He kept up the campaigning on the way there, smiling and waving at tourists and other onlookers.
++ Obama Signs Berlin's Guest Book ++
4:33 p.m.: The meeting between Obama and Wowereit lasts 20 minutes, during which the Berlin mayor asks the senator about integration strategies in the US. Obama then signs the city's guestbook, which Wowereit has brought with him to the Hotel Adlon. He writes: "Thank you so much for this open-hearted welcome. Berlin is a symbol for the victory of hope over fear and that it is impossible to separate people in their pursuit of freedom."
++ Americans Throng toward the Fan Mile ++
Dozens of Americans wearing Obama buttons swarm from Berlin's Central Station in the direction of the Fan Mile.
++ John McCain Has His own Berlin Moment ++
4:30 p.m.: Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain is not leaving Berlin to his Democratic rival. The Republicans are airing anti-Obama radio ads in Berlin on Thursday. Not in Berlin, Germany but in the city's namesakes in the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire. The audience reach may be tiny, but the 60-second ads which accuse Obama of voting against allocating money to military troops, shows that the Republicans can have a bit of fun at Obama's expense.
++ Kick-Off for the Onlookers ++
4:04 p.m.: Onlookers run down the broad avenue towards the stage in front of the Victory Column where Obama will give his speech in a few hours. The first visitors have now been allowed to enter the area and are searching for the best vantage points. They want to be able to hear exactly what the US politician has to say to the Germans.
++ Wowereit Arrives at the Hotel Adlon ++
4:01 p.m.: Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit, a member of the center-left Social Democrats, arrives at the Hotel Adlon for his meeting with Obama. The senator is expected to sign the city's guest book.
++ Paris Left Cold by Obama Visit ++
3:30 p.m.: While Obama's Berlin visit has caused a stir, hardly anyone is interested in his trip to Paris on Friday. There are hardly any French media reports on the eve of his visit. There is merely some grumbling about the extensive itinerary for his trip to Berlin. "A speech in Berlin, five little hours in Paris," writes French daily Le Monde.
++ Steinmeier Very Pleased with Meeting ++
3:16 p.m.: Immediately following his meeting with Senator Obama, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier announced: "The atmosphere was open and trusting. We built on our telephone conversation from mid-April." Steinmeier said he detected parallels in their philosophy of foreign policy. "Cooperation instead of confrontation -- that is also his foreign policy aim." Steinmeier said it had been a good conversation.
++ Obama Leaves the Foreign Ministry ++
3:04 p.m.: With blue lights flashing and traveling in a long convoy Obama leaves the Foreign Ministry after just about an hour.
++ Onlookers Wait for Access to Victory Column ++
2:57 p.m.: Hundreds of people wait in the sunshine in front of the barriers at the Brandenburg Gate, hoping to be some of the first to enter the Fan Mile. The area around the Victory Column where Obama will hold his speech is still sealed off. Visitors will be allowed entry starting at 4 p.m.
++ More Commitment to the War on Terror ++
2:37 p.m.: Obama wants to urge the Europeans to increase their role in the war on terror during his speech this evening, says an Obama advisor. He will call on Europe to contribute more troops.
++ A Reception at the Foreign Ministry ++
2:14 p.m. CET: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier greets Obama in the inner courtyard of the German Foreign Ministry, where dozens of staff and about 70 journalists are waiting for his appearance. After a brief handshake, the two go back into the building.
++ Talks with German Foreign Minister Steinmeier ++
2:12 p.m.: With a slight delay, Obama arrives at the German Foreign Ministry, where he is to meet with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. As with Chancellor Merkel, he plans to spend one hour with the foreign minister.
++ Visit to US Military Bases Cancelled ++
1:42 p.m.: SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Rammstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The visits were planned for Friday. "Barack Obama will not be coming to us," a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced. "I don't know why." Shortly before the same spokeswoman had announced a planned visit by Obama.
++ Bomb Threat Lifted at Hotel Adlon ++
1:24 p.m.: A bomb threat at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin where Barack Obama is staying is cleared. The suspicious package that had been discovered had been found to be "harmless," a spokesperson said. The package had apparently just been books that had been mailed to the luxury hotel.
++ Merkel's Spokesman Praises Talks ++
1:18 p.m.: The first-ever meeting between Illinois Senator Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel "was a very open and deep discussion in a very good atmosphere," said German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm. The spokesman said the politicians had conducted detailed discussions about foreign policy issues as well as climate change and economic issues.
++ Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Deployed in Adlon ++
1:09 p.m.: The lobby of the Adlon Hotel where Obama is staying has been cleared following a bombscare. Explosives experts and bomb-sniffing dogs are investigating a package. A police spokesman said a taxi driver had delivered the package to the hotel.
++ Breaking News: Suspicious Package Found in Obama's Hotel ++
1:03: Breaking news: A suspicious package has been found at the Hotel Adlon in Berlin where Barack Obama is staying.
++ Obama Takes a Break at the Hotel Adlon ++
12:30 p.m.: Obama has arrived at the Hotel Adlon. Hundreds of spectators are gathered in front of the hotel, but he has decided to use the back entrance to the underground parking garage.
++ Obama Criticized for Death Penalty Stance ++
12:06 p.m.: German Green Party politician Volker Beck criticizes Obama's position on the death penalty. From a "European perspective," he says, it is "absolutely unacceptable. Even the Russian Federation has abolished the death penalty."
++ Obama and Merkel Meet ++
12:03 p.m.: A meeting between German Chancellor Merkel and the US senator continues. The issues discussed: the trans-Atlantic relationship, climate change, the latest negotiating round of the World Trade Organization and NATO deployments.
++ Merkel Greets Obama ++
11:06 a.m.: German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets Obama at the Chancellery. It's the first time the two politicians have met. The German leader meets Obama in the "Skylobby" of the Chancellery office. They shake hands and pat each other on the shoulders. Merkel quickly shows him the view of the Reichstag across the street, which is home to Germany's parliament.
++ Tourists Gather to See Obama ++
10:58 a.m.: A few hundred tourists gather in front of the Chancellery hoping to get a glimpse of Obama as he arrives for his planned meeting with Angela Merkel. They succeed: When he steps out of his car, the Democratic Party presidential candidate waves to the crowd.
++ 700 Police are on Duty to Provide Security for Obama ++
10:30 a.m.: In order to provide protection for Obama, the Berlin Police Department has deployed an additional 700 police. Direct bodyguards for Obama are being provided by the US Secret Service. With a motorcade of more than 20 vehicles, Obama begins the short journey to downtown Berlin.
++ Obama Lands in Berlin ++
9:55 a.m.: The charter jet carrying presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama arrives at the military section of Berlin's Tegel Airport. The aircraft's livery is painted with the campaign slogan: "Change we can believe in." From Tegel, Obama is to travel to the Chancellery, where he plans to meet with German leader Angela Merkel.
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