For days, campaign advisers have attempted to present the trip as a listening tour with key leaders who Obama said he expects to forge relationships with for years to come. But the extent of the stagecraft and planning makes it hard to ignore that the campaign, long intent on positioning Obama as commander-in-chief material, has its eye on a much broader audience.
Yet, a campaign aide at the briefing said the Berlin speech “is not for campaign purposes.”
“I don’t think the fact that large numbers of people gather to hear a speech makes it a campaign speech,” the aide said. “The substance of what he addresses is what’s important. And what he is addressing has nothing to do with campaigns. It has to do with his view of where we are today in the world.”
Aides suggested the speech would not target Republican John McCain, but might draw contrasts with President Bush’s policies.
When pressed by reporters, aides could not rule out that the campaign might use a film crew to shoot footage for an ad.
Yup, that poster certainly doesn’t seem campaign-ish. It’s not like there is any overt campaign iconography included in the poster, or anything.
“It is not going to be a political speech,” said a senior foreign policy adviser, who spoke to reporters on background. “When the president of the United States goes and gives a speech, it is not a political speech or a political rally.
“But he is not president of the United States,” a reporter reminded the adviser.
Minor technicality. Just ask the German press.
“The German press, looking from Berlin, behaves as if the election of Obama is a foregone conclusion,” said Josef Joffe, publisher-editor of Die Zeit, a weekly German newspaper. “He’s being celebrated like a victorious Roman general who comes back from the conquest of Gaul or something.”