I had my first assignment with NPR Berlin today. I was watching US election results unfold at the old Babylon theater in Mitte. There were (drunk) people in Obama and Biden masks, German Glühwein and popcorn, and other panicked reporters trying to make sense of the scene. So here I was, nervously clutching my reporter's notepad, as I contemplated whether it would be appropriate to have a beer before I started talking to people.
I didn't see a single Republican sticker or t-shirt there. I guess that makes sense, since the party was sponsored by Democrats Abroad Berlin. Apparently, all the Republicans are in Hamburg - at least, that's what the lady at the booth said.
Another thing. A lot of people left around 2 am. For some reason, the theater had trouble streaming CNN, so people went to other bars. I also ended up leaving the party around 5 am for an adjacent bar called Belushi's. They had CNN. And hot dogs.
Without further ado, here's my first report!
Watching The U.S. Election From Berlin 5:21 pm Wed November 7, 2012
By Euna Lhee
“Watch the sunrise with US again."
This slogan filled posters last night at Babylon Theater's US presidential election viewing party.
Over 500 people showed up to watch the returns unfold live on the big screen. Crowds sought refuge from the weather in the movie theater. And Berliners – both Germans and expats alike – queued out the door for tickets to the late show.
Outside the theater, people sported Obama and Biden masks. Others wore T-shirts with American flags.
According to a recent Gallup International poll, Berliners are overwhelmingly Democrat; the poll revealed 97 percent of Germans support President Barack Obama. And it showed at the theater; tables sold Obama/Biden memorabilia, from buttons to luggage tags.
Among the sea of blue, not a single Republican t-shirt was in sight.
Moritz Ecker, who wore a Barack Obama t-shirt and an ushanka, said he’s been following the elections closely.
“It’s strange how the US determines world politics,” said Ecker, 30, a musician from Berlin. He plays guitar in a band and dreams of cycling from Europe to India.
“I’m interested in cycling in the Middle East, and if there is a Republican president, it is more likely that the region would be less secure,” Ecker said.
As the night progressed, loud cheers erupted every time news outlets projected Obama as the winner in a state. Live entertainment accompanied the commentary provided by the organization, Democrats Abroad Berlin.
By 5:00 am German time, only the hardcore political junkies were left.
“In the end, I expect Obama to win,” said John Roper, 33, a PhD candidate in history at the University of Pennsylvania. He considers himself to be a Berliner, now that he’s been living in the city for four years.