“Stop It, All Of You”: President Obama Jokingly Chastises German Press for ‘Tensions Mit Merkel’ Stories

By Caitlin Taylor

Jun 5, 2009 8:02am

At a joint press availability in Dresden, Germany, this morning, President Obama jokingly chastised the German press for playing up stories about alleged tensions between him and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr. Obama was responding to a question from a German television reporter, who noted that there has been certain "mild, sometimes even wild speculation" about the president not leaving much time for a visit with Merkel on his way from Cairo, Egypt, yesterday, where he gave his major address to the Muslim world, to Normandy, France, tomorrow where he will join in the commemoration ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Some in the German press have suggested this constitutes a slight and is part of a history of tensions between the two leaders.

"I think your characterization of wild speculations is accurate — they are very wild and based on no facts," President Obama said, with a smile. "The truth of the matter is, is that the relationship not only between our two countries but our two governments is outstanding.  Most of the speculation around my schedule here in Germany doesn't take into account simple logistics:  traveling, trying to get from one place to the other, coming off a Middle East trip, having to go to Normandy tomorrow.  There are only 24 hours in the day.  And so there's nothing to any of that speculation beyond us just trying to fit in what we could do on such a short trip.  That's all that there was."

The president then jokingly scolded the German reporters to his left.

"So stop it, all of you," he said." I know you have to find something to report on, but we have more than enough problems out there without manufacturing problems."

Merkel said that "it's fun to work together with the American President because very serious, very thorough analytical discussions very often lead us to draw the same conclusions…I very much look forward to our future cooperation."

- jpt

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