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Obama: Northern Ireland is an example to all the world

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has held Northern Ireland up as an example to the world of how co-operation can overcome conflict.

The Democratic candidate was greeted like a rock star in Berlin last night as he urged Europe and America to come together “to defeat terror and dry up the well of extremism”.

His first international tour saw thousands of supporters waving US flags around Berlin’s Victory Column in Tiergarten Park as they waited to glimpse the popular politician.

And Mr Obama highlighted the progress made in Northern Ireland’s peace process as an example of overcoming differences in the world.

“Not only have walls come down in Berlin, but they've come down in Belfast, where Protestant and Catholic have found a way to live together.”

The German press hailed the arrival of President Bush’s possible successor with tabloid Bild proclaiming “Berlin’s New Kennedy!”

The paper went on: “It’s like 1963”, and described the 46-year-old as “just as young, sexy and charismatic” as John F Kennedy.

A survey released by the Pew Research Centre showed Germans vastly prefer Mr Obama over his rival, Republican John McCain, by a 49-point margin. In France it is an even wider 51-point margin and in Britain, where he will meet Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Tory leader David Cameron on Saturday, it is 30.

But the euphoria surrounding his trip has led the conservative US research organisation Citizens United, which provides information on ongoing campaigns, to call for a reality check.

It launched a new television advert to promote its upcoming documentary, which portrays the media as having a love affair with Mr Obama.

David Bossie, executive producer, said: “Those that haven’t been swept up in hype are wondering who this untested politician is and what he stands for.”

Belfast Telegraph

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