Topics: Barack Obama

In Berlin, Obama will invoke JFK, Reagan to push climate change

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama

Following a well-worn path to Germany's Brandenburg Gate, President Obama plans to invoke America's most important speakers at the Berlin landmark -- John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan -- as he seeks to revive his promise to curb climate change.

"Any time a U.S. president speaks in Berlin it's a powerful backdrop to our postwar history," said national security spokesman Ben Rhodes as the president arrived in Berlin Tuesday night. "This is a place U.S. presidents have gone to talk about the role of the free world, essentially, whether it's President Reagan or President Kennedy," he said, according to the pool report.

Quoting Rhodes, the pool report said, "The overarching point he is going to make is that the same level of citizen and national activism" that was in the Kennedy speech must be applied to today's challenges of nuclear arms control and climate change.

"Obama will also talk about his five years in office and the foreign policy changes that have been made -- and a 'new, broader agenda of issues' (again naming nonproliferation and climate change)," said the report. Obama made climate change a top agenda item for his second term but has come under fire from environmentalists for not following through.

Other details: Germany invited Obama to use the Brandenburg Gate. He will face east when giving the speech Wednesday. The audience will be a mix of German officials, locals and university students.

Comparing himself to Reagan and JFK comes as Obama is being compared back home to other, less inspirational presidents. Critics of the IRS scandal, for example, have compared Obama to Richard Nixon, and liberals upset with the National Security Agency snooping probe liken him to George W. Bush.

In his speech, JFK famously called himself "ein Berliner," while Reagan called on the former Soviet Union to "tear down" the Berlin Wall that separated the democratic West from Communist East Germany. Neither mentioned climate change or global warming.

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.

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