08/01/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Obama's Berlin Speech: Candidate Dampens Expectations (VIDEO)


The buzz about Barack Obama's Berlin speech is almost at a fever pitch in the final hours before he delivers it. Will he appeal to Americans while speaking to Germans? Will he speak German? Will he come off like Reagan, Kennedy...? Obama tried to tamp down expectations on his press plane today. He told reporters,

"I doubt we're gonna have a million screaming Germans," Obama said.

Half a million? asked another reporter.

"Let's tamp down expectations here," Obama said. "If we get a few tens of thousands..."

Obama said he "did not realize - my staff basically just told me that this space is bigger than I realized. So."

Asked a reporter: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

"Uh, it's a potentially bad thing if nobody shows up," Obama said, laughing. "You know, we're sort of on the high wire all of the sudden. It's like, 'I'm sorry, how many people does this accommodate? How many?'...We really have no idea what's going to happen. Sort of a crap shoot. I'm happy with the speech though."

magazine isn't being shy like Obama. It hails Obama in Berlin as the second coming of JFK.

The city has been buzzing with anticipation over Obama's visit, and his reported request to use the Brandenburg Gate as the backdrop for his only public address in Europe sparked a local media frenzy. Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted with "bewilderment" to the senator's request to speak at this historically charged location, and appeared concerned that approving the request would be interpreted as taking sides in the U.S. presidential race. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, for his part, welcomed the suggestion that Obama speak at a venue rendered iconic by John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, saying it was "a vital expression of German-American friendship."

HuffPost will be streaming the speech live at 1pm EST. Click on the embed below and then find the channel with Obama's speech.