Obama's Berlin visit perks up German TV

Four broadcasters to carry his speech Thursday

COLOGNE, Germany -- The normally sober face of German TV news was caught up in full-fledged Obama-mania Thursday as the presumed Democratic presidential nominee visited Berlin on the first stop of his European tour.

German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, along with all-news channels ntv and N24 trailed Barack Obama every step on his one-day visit. All four nets carried Obama's speech in front of Berlin's Victory Column live in both English and German.

"This is an unprecedented level of coverage for a U.S. presidential candidate," Bernhard Mullmann, a program exec at ZDF told The Hollywood Reporter. "But I think it is justified because of the level of interest with Obama in Germany. ... It is comparable with President Kennedy's legendary visit (to Berlin in 1963). Both in the hopes Germans have that Obama will bring change in the U.S. and also in the hype and way his speech is being staged for political purposes."

Berlin police said that as many as 1 million people were expected to show up to hear the speech.

German weekly Der Spiegel summed up the mood with a cover headline over a grinning picture of Obama: "Germany meets the Superstar."
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