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Obama's rumored stop irks German leaders

BERLIN, July 10 (UPI) -- German officials say they are concerned about a possible stop in Germany by U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for a speech.

The rumor is that Obama, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, would speak at the Brandenburg Gate, feet away from the Berlin Wall, if he travels to Berlin, CNN reported. President Ronald Reagan stood at the gate in 1987 when he urged Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."

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But Reagan was president and Obama is not, so it wouldn't be proper for Illinois' junior senator to speak at the landmark, German officials said.

Thomas Steg, spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said it would be inappropriate for candidates to campaign in Germany.

"I think he should sense right now at this very moment that the Brandenburg Gate is not the place to go," Jan Techau of the German Council on Foreign Relations told CNN. "He should opt for another place. People have suggested the (town hall) where Kennedy spoke, which is less of a symbolic place, ironically."

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