As Obama heads to Germany, Republicans appeal to U.S. Berliners

July 23, 2008

WASHINGTON – With Democrat Barack Obama trying to look presidential abroad and soon to face friendly crowds in the German capital, the Republican National Committee has decided to strike back by appealing to Berliners closer to home.
rtr20gha.jpg 
The party will air radio advertisements Thursday in Berlin, Pa., Berlin, Wis., and Berlin, N.H., bashing Obama’s voting record on defense issues, accusing him of choosing “Washington politics over the needs of our military.”
 
“Obama said that nobody wanted to play chicken with our troops on the ground,” an announcer intones. “But when it came time to act, he voted against critical resources: no to individual body armor, no to helicopters, no to ammunition, no to aircraft.”

The ad is a rehash of claims made in a television spot being aired by Obama’s rival Republican presidential candidate John McCain. FactCheck.org, in reviewing those claims, said the statements “are literally true but paint an incomplete picture.”
 
It is true Obama voted against a war-funding bill last year after President George W. Bush initially vetoed a version that contained a date for withdrawal from Iraq, the independent monitoring group said. Before that, Obama had cast at least 10 votes for war-funding bills, it said.

Obama’s campaign dismissed the ad as “distasteful and misleading.”
 
The RNC attacks are unlikely to dampen enthusiasm for Obama when he arrives Thursday in Berlin, Germany. A recent poll by the Bild newspaper found 72 percent of Germans would vote for Obama over McCain if they had a vote in U.S. elections.
 
Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a Bush friend who expressed displeasure over electioneering ahead of Obama’s visit, professed herself an admirer, telling reporters she thought the Democratic presidential candidate was “well-equipped — physically, mentally and politically.” 

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo credit: Reuters/Johannes Eisele (Obama campaign balloon flies in front of Victory Column (Siegessaeule) in Berlin, where he will speak on Thursday)

5 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

As a german I’m really starting to get confused: Obama is giving a speech, the republicans are airing advertisments…did I miss something? Am I allowed to vote in this election? Did Germany join the United States? And what is all this “Obamania”-talk about anyway? I dont no a single person here who is actually getting crazy about Obama (besides some politicians and the media). Most people I know, would have preferred Clinton over all. But Obama is not Bush, thats a big point for him, and he seems more not-Bush, than McCain is not-Bush, which makes him Germanys (and Europes) favourite. Thats how simple most Germans think about that matter, I’d say…

Posted by Pamina | Report as abusive

If McCain is going to loss the game, it is by far better to loss it gracefully. This is only possible by doing relatively ethical political campaigns, that I call it modern politics. Hence, McCain’s ad in Germany doesn’t seem good. Honestly speaking, Obama looks more experienced candidate irrespective of his age. His campaign has been well organised, planned and above all moves strategically and positively. Look a people around him! anyhow I wish you good luck for both of you!

Posted by Azu | Report as abusive

To my fellow german posters – the article talks about the republicans airing ads in the US not Germany, in towns named Berlin (in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire) not in Berlin, Germany! lol! It’s a bizarre strategy that will have zero impact. The republicans are running scared and it’s pushing them into weird responses.

Posted by Iphone3G | Report as abusive

Senator McCain is too old, too dumb and we are now suffering from having one ex-pilot for president. Why would we want another. Give me a break.

Posted by jfuchs | Report as abusive

McCain is making the same mistake Clinton made – reacting to Obama’s advances rather than advancing his own plans and ideas. This is retrogressive and will not get him anywhere. He’d better get his act together and start telling people what he is really about instead of doing damage control after Obama’s big landing in Europe.

Posted by George | Report as abusive