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Obama Press Review

DW staff (ah)August 29, 2008

The German press stressed that, although he may have made history, the contest for president remains open after Barack Obama's speech at the Democratic convention in Denver, citing a variety of obstacles.

Barack Obama at the Democratic convention in Denver
He may be the first ever black US presidential candidate, but will that win votes?Image: AP

The local daily Leipziger Volkszeitung wrote on Friday, Aug. 29, that Obama has not yet secured passage to the White House: "The Democrats have written a piece of history. With Barack Obama, a black person with a chance of victory is an official candidate for the White House … As Obama fills the slowly flagging visions with heavy political content in his speech, and sows aggression in his political rivals, the Democratic convention fulfilled its purpose with a mixture of feeling and decisiveness. Whether that will suffice to mobilize enough voters for the 47 year-old senator remains open until Nov. 4."

Obama's "personal aura and his political oratorios have created expectations that are weighing down on him," reported liberal daily the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. "For a while Barack Obama has been, nationally and globally, the bearer of hope for everything and everyone. He is supposed to stir American society to action and at the same time moderate compromises, with bullet points and footnotes, that run above party lines. He is supposed to lead the super power to new heights while reconciling the country with the rest of the world. No man of flesh and blood can accomplish such works of divinity. Back down on Earth the Republicans have very cleverly realized what little chances remain to them down there. Since everyone is staring at Obama, George W. Bush is creeping to the sidelines."

Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung drew attention to what it saw as other risks of Obama's historic speech in Denver: "Look here, we have done it -- now black people all over the country can cheer. For Obama this triumph is highly risky. After all, he eventually hopes to become president of all Americans, regardless of their skin color. The theme of racism is already unpopular with levels of society that Obama has so far hardly reached: workers, owners of small businesses, middle-class families. Above all they are concerned about their jobs. In these areas of society a candidate cannot give the impression that he also seeks election as compensation for previous racist injustices."

"It should really have dampened moods in the Democratic headquarters that McCain hardly lost ground during the Denver spectacle," wrote Dusseldorf's Westdeutsche Zeitung. "McCain is showing that he is not entirely for "more of the same" and moreover he is selling the people the illusion that as "world policeman" he is in even more of a position to throw his weight around than Bush, although the Democrats controlled the headlines and TV broadcasts. The competition for the White House is therefore much more open than Obama's hard earned head-start in the early days would suggest. Nov. 4 will show us whether it is indeed still too early for the first black US President."