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Obama's Choice

DW staff (win)August 23, 2008

German politicians on Saturday welcomed US presidential hopeful Barack Obama's decision to nominate his senatorial colleague Joseph Biden as his vice-presidential running mate.

Biden and Obama
A Vice President Biden would be good for Europe, Germans sayImage: AP

Gert Weisskirchen, the foreign policy spokesman of Germany's Social Democrats in parliament, said that Biden's nomination was a good signal for Europe.

Gert Weisskirchen
Gert WeisskirchenImage: Picture-Alliance /dpa

"Obama's decision to choose him is an exceptionally good choice that shows that Obama is trying to unite all Democrats behind him," Weisskirchen said in an interview with Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

He added that Biden well very familiar with Europe and its differing viewpoints.

"He would never make the same categorizations as former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who spoke of an Old and New Europe," Weisskirchen said.

Balancing weaknesses

Eckart von Klaeden
Eckart von KlaedenImage: Picture-Alliance /dpa

Conservative foreign policy expert Eckart von Klaeden meanwhile saw Obama's choice as a way to make up for his own limited experience.

"Biden's nomination is Obama's attempt to balance his small foreign policy experience when compared to Republican presidential candidate (John) McCain," von Klaeden told the same paper.

But he added that the choice also came with risks.

"Biden is part of the Washington establishment," he said. "This can lead to tension within Obama's campaign, which has been promoting a change away from the establishment."

Von Klaeden, who is a member of parliament for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, also said that the nomination made sense especially in light of the Russian invasion of Georgia, which is seen as a milestone in the US.

Differing foreign policies

Werner Hoyer
Werner HoyerImage: Werner Hoyer

Opposition politicians also said that they saw the nomination as a way for Obama to make up a deficit when compared to McCain.

"Should Obama win the election, there will be a different foreign policy thanks to Biden than the one under a Republican McCain," Werner Hoyer, the foreign policy spokesman for the free-market liberal Free Democratic Party in parliament, told Welt am Sonntag.

"McCain will be much tougher toward Russia," he said. "Obama and Biden on the other hand will pursue a dialog. The same is true when talking about Iran, by the way."
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