Opinion

Election 2012: Postcard from Berlin

Published 1:00 PM ET, Wed October 17, 2012
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Few European cities have been more recently affected by the U.S. than Berlin, where America's role in propping up West Berlin during the Cold War against Soviet Communism remains in the public conscience. FRED PLEITGEN/CNN
The new U.S. Embassy (L), completed in 2006, sits next to the Brandenburg Gate (R), Berlin's most famous landmark, in a reminder of Germany's special relationship with America. AFP/Getty Images
It was at the Brandenburg Gate in 1987 that Ronald Reagan gave his famous "Tear down this wall" speech in reference to the Berlin Wall, which split the capital into Soviet Communist and Western halves for nearly 30 years. AFP/Getty Images
Checkpoint Charlie (pictured in 1968) was the most famous checkpoint along the Berlin Wall. Pleitgen's father worked in East Berlin, and Pleitgen says he travelled through the wall every day to go to kindergarten. AFP/Getty Images/FILE
Checkpoint Charlie was the site of one of the tensest moments of the Cold War, as Soviet tanks (file photo) engaged in a dramatic stand-off across the checkpoint with American tanks in October 1961. Getty Images/FILE
U.S. presidents have a long history of coming to Berlin. John F. Kennedy gave his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" in front of a roaring crowd in West Berlin during a 1963 visit. Getty Images/FILE
In 2008, then-Democratic candidate Barack Obama used Berlin as a stage for a major foreign policy speech. Pleitgen says he remains popular among the German public. Getty Images
Many Germans equate Mitt Romney with the policies of the Bush administration -- and comments he made during the primary race toughened many Germans' views of the Republican nominee, according to Pleitgen. Getty Images
While Germany has a lot to thank America for, Pleitgen says the country -- led by Chancellor Angela Merkel -- is less concerned with U.S. politics today and more concerned with trying to help its smaller eurozone neighbors come to terms with a crippling financial crisis. Getty Images