Cold Start of Merkel vs. ‘Obama Phenomenon’ Described in Clinton Emails


An email to former US State Secretary Hillary Clinton, released on New Year’s Eve, sheds new light on the initial reception of a so-called Obama phenomenon, by Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Sent to Clinton by her top adviser Sidney Blumenthal on Sept. 30, 2009, the email contains a set of piquant recommendations from John Kornblum, the 1997-2001 US ambassador to Germany, and one of the United States’ most experienced practitioners in European affairs.

“Kornblum strongly suggests you try to develop your personal relationship with Merkel as soon you can,” Blumenthal wrote.

He offered Kornblum’s evaluation of Merkel’s stance regarding President Obama.

“He says she dislikes the atmospherics surrounding the Obama phenomenon, that it’s contrary to her whole idea of politics and how to conduct oneself in general. She would welcome a more conversational relationship with you.”

At the time, Barack Obama had served 8 months in office. During his presidential campaign, the president-to-be gave a speech in Berlin in front of a crowd of 100,000 people in July 2008.

Kornblum’s advice to Clinton is part of a court-ordered 5,500-email release following a Freedom of Information Act request by Vice News.




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