Merkel cordial, citizens celebrate
The U.S. presidential election naturally received heavy coverage around the globe, with broadcasters in most nations devoting plenty of airtime to live coverage, even if time zones worked against them. The global news media across all outlets weighed in with hope, concern and sometimes, biting satire.
The elections kept plenty of German TV viewers up through the night, tuned into live coverage on commerical broadcaster RTL, and pubcasters ARD and ZDF.
RTL’s coverage grabbed the highest ratings among key 14- to 49-year-old viewers. It teamed with CNN for joint coverage and a live event at the Bertelsmann building in downtown Berlin, while ZDF held its own live broadcast party at the Deutsche Telekom digs around the corner.
The common view in the German media is that Obama’s relationship with Germany has not been especially close, and is unlikely to change as he continues to chart America’s geopolitical course toward the Asia Pacific region.
Writing in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Johannes Kuhn observed that the U.S.’ traditional ties to Germany and Europe are now relegated to NATO matters and the ongoing euro crisis. In congratulating Obama on his win, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the two have a common task in managing the global financial crisis, the engagement in Afghanistan and the challenges posed by Iran’s nuclear program.
But despite the political distance, Obama is still hugely popular among German citizens — according to polls, 91% of Germans said they would have voted for him.
Another Sueddeutsche columnist, Andrian Kreye, argues that Obama’s popularity here has little to do with U.S.-German relations. Rather, he says, Obama introduced a “European spirit into American politics that is marked by solidarity and compassion. That is why many Americans hate him as passionately as the Germans love him.”
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