CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, reporting on Barack Obama’s speech in Berlin on Thursday’s “The Situation Room,” expressed her shock that the European crowd didn’t seem to have the same mania for the Democrat that the media has: “I did ask some people as they were leaving what they thought. Everybody said good, good. But I was surprised that there wasn't this sort of euphoria afterwards, given how many people had come to listen and how much it had been anticipated.” She later stated in the segment that one unnamed political analyst talked about how “people [in Europe] want a political redeemer -- I mean, that's very specific language, and he said it's not really based on facts, the -- what they think about Obama, because they don't really know. It's based on expectations.”
During the segment, which began just after the top of the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, host Wolf Blitzer asked Amanpour, “why do they apparently like him so much, not only in Germany, but throughout Western Europe?” She gave the standard media talking point about Obama in general: “They like him, some people say, because he is something new, he is a new generation, he's promising change, and people here are desperate for change.” Amanpour then reported on how Europeans apparently like Obama because “he is not President Bush, and they're slightly traumatized still from the last seven years of this ‘go-it-alone’ policy, which has seen so much war and has created so much division.”
They’re traumatized by a non-existent reality? Of course, the U.S. did not “go it alone” against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and despite the opposition from Western European counties like Germany and France, it did not “go it alone” into Iraq.
Earlier in the day, Amanpour appeared on “American Morning” at the beginning of the 6 am Eastern hour and used the same “go-it alone” term: “Would he return America to multilateral diplomacy, for instance, rather than the go-it-alone approach of the eight years of the President Bush administration?” She also compared the expected large turnout to a popular German festivity: “[Y]ou've heard of Oktoberfest in Germany. Well, this you might call ‘Obamafest.’ There's a great deal of excitement.”
The full transcript of Amanpour’s report from Thursday’s “The Situation Room:”
WOLF BLITZER: And let's go to Berlin right now. Our chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour has been watching all of this unfold all day today. Christiane, why do they apparently like him so much, not only in Germany, but throughout Western Europe?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Well, they like him to the tune of some 200,000 people who came out here, according to police estimates now, which is a massive crowd. They like him, some people say, because he is something new, he is a new generation, he's promising change, and people here are desperate for change. They like him because he is not President Bush, and they're slightly traumatized still from the last seven years of this 'go-it-alone' policy, which has seen so much war and has created so much division. So, for all those reasons, they find him wildly attractive, but they also want to know about his policies, Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER: Did you get a sense, Christiane, that he actually delivered with his presentation, with his speech, his appearance in Berlin? Did people walk away seemingly satisfied or disappointed?
AMANPOUR: Well, I don't think they were disappointed, and I'm not sure that they were thoroughly satisfied. I did ask some people as they were leaving what they thought. Everybody said good, good. But I was surprised that there wasn't this sort of euphoria afterwards, given how many people had come to listen and how much it had been anticipated. To be sure, there were spikes during the speech which drew large cheers and applause, at least from the crowds immediately around him -- when he talked about removing the walls between various religions and ethnicities and other groups; when he talked about working together for new cooperation. By the way, you can hear now the sounds of people dismantling everything that was put up for this event. But, when he talked about a common destiny; when he talked about a partnership; when he talked, for instance, about a battle of ideas, referring to how the United States and its allies won the battle of idea over communism and saw the end of communism; surely, that we can win the battle of ideas and support the -- as he said, the vast majority of Muslims who are committed to peace and isolate them from the extremists. So, things like that drew big cheers.
BLITZER: It's clear they like Obama in Europe. What about John McCain? What do they think about the Republican candidate?
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, if you look at the polls, they speak very loudly, not that the people here are voting in the presidential election in the United States. But the poll numbers for Barack Obama are vastly higher than those for John McCain. I think it's because to them, he represents something totally new and they want something totally new. What -- what one political analyst here said to me is people want a political redeemer -- I mean, that's very specific language, and he said it's not really based on facts, the -- what they think about Obama, because they don't really know. It's based on expectations.
BLITZER: Christiane Amanpour in Berlin for us. Christiane, thanks.