In Berlin, German, Americans Join Together in Anticipation | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 05.11.2008
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In Berlin, German, Americans Join Together in Anticipation

Thousands of Americans and Germans waited on tenterhooks Wednesday for a victor in the US election at parties throughout Berlin, the city where Barack Obama held his biggest rally to date.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. during an election party of the Democrats aboard at a cinema in central Berlin

Supporters of Barack Obama celebrate in Berlin

Polls show Germans would elect the Democrat as America's next president in a landslide if they could have voted in Tuesday's poll and the energized mood at parties throughout the capital reflected that overwhelming bias.

The local chapter of Democrats Abroad threw a raucous bash at a 1920s movie theatre, across town from where Obama drew 200,000 people to hear him speak in July.

As early wins trickled in for the Illinois lawmaker, including key swing states, the crowd leapt from their chairs and started dancing in the aisles.

"They just called Ohio for Obama!" a 20-something American in the audience shouted out after getting the news on his cell phone, as a bluegrass band swung into the Carter Family chestnut "Keep on the Sunny Side."

At around 0400 CET, the crowd was yearning to hear the Illinois senator give his victory speech in Chicago, as they downed American hot dogs and German beer.

"But don't count your chickens before they hatch, baby!" the tuxedoed master of ceremonies warned.

Berlin the location for trans-Atlantic partying

A balloon of a supporter of U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. flies next to the victory column in Berlin

Berlin welcomed Barack Obama in July and he won many supporters during his visit

On East Berlin's stately Unter den Linden boulevard, CNN and German media giant Bertelsmann hosted another soiree complete with mini hamburgers, chicken nuggets and California wine.

Catherena Oostveen, a German-Russian actress who trained in Los Angeles and New York, turned up in a red-white-and-blue t-shirt and a cowboy hat she got from a Texan friend.

"Obama is so intelligent and inspiring that I hope he can change the things that the rest of the world is so angry about right now," she told news agency AFP, citing the war in Iraq and heavy military spending. "Americans are not very well educated so I hope Obama can make an effort to make Americans understand the rest of the world better."

Robert Cotten, an African-American lawyer from Los Angeles, said he had been on pins and needles all day. "I'm hopeful but I feel like I have to be prepared for the worst," said the 60-year-old Obama voter.

Despite the well-heeled turnout, fans of Republican John McCain were thin on the ground.

"I think I might have seen two women with McCain buttons downstairs," said one helpful guest. "But I haven't seen them for a while."

Frankfurt joins in with festivities

Meanwhile in Germany's business capital Frankfurt, the US consulate threw an election night party with a jazz band, beer and American cookies and muffins.

Lars Thompson, a 33-year-old lawyer from South Dakota, said he remained a dyed-in-the-wool Republican despite the clear leftist bent of his adopted home.

"The world is a safer place because of George Bush. I'm not afraid to say that," he said. "You have to have a president that's ready to act. That's McCain."

Carol Hunter, a 48-year-old mother from California, said she thought Obama would deliver more of the kind of social services Western Europe takes for granted.

"You can tell a lot about a country by how they treat old people and children," she said.

Dave Brown, a systems analyst originally from West Virginia, said McCain had earned his vote and that he also liked his running mate Sarah Palin, who has been the butt of countless jokes on German television.

"She understands people who live from paycheck to paycheck," he said.

Shannon Sahn, a student at the Department of Defense high school in Wiesbaden, a city with a large US military presence, wore Obama buttons and a pin in the American colors.

She said the campaign had electrified her student body.

"It's a big deal at my school, even a kid who says he is Republican says we need a clean slate," she said.

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