Obama gets rock-star welcome in Berlin, praises Merkel

Source: Associated Press

By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER and FRANK JORDANS

BERLIN (AP) — Barack Obama received a rock-star welcome in Berlin as he appeared at a public debate Thursday with Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom he praised as one of his “favorite partners” during his presidency.

Security was tight in front of the German capital’s Brandenburg Gate, where the former U.S. president and Merkel appeared on a podium before tens of thousands of people attending a gathering marking the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. All visitors had their bags searched, police helicopters patrolled the skies and snipers with balaclavas watched the scene from nearby rooftops.

At the beginning of their discussion, Obama praised Merkel to the excited cheers of a crowd of young Protestants, who had traveled from all over Germany and beyond to attend the religious gathering.

“Not only do I love this city, but one of my favorite partners throughout my presidency is sitting next to me,” Obama said with a big smile. Merkel smiled right back at him.

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