Ordinarily I would not have the opportunity to watch a Barack Obama speech live in the early evening because I would be traveling on the Tube, but as I was in the Green Room at Sky last night waiting to fumble my words on Sky News (video to follow) I got to see the whole thing.
There is no doubt about it that he is inspirational speaker, and his decision to do a little tour of European countries, starting with Germany and Berlin, and going to Britain and France to try and bolster his foreign policy credentials is probably a good one for the need of his domestic electorate.
What struck me as amazing were the number of people turned out to watch him. Officially it was reported that they were mostly Germans, but the cynic in me wonders how many were ex-pat military types stationed in the country. However, it was not just the crowd but what he said that surprised.
For a start the speech was littered with lots of fluffy cliches like "this is our moment, this is our time", but also buried inside was a call by Obama that he would seek nuclear disarmament of not just the usual suspects like Iran, but the US as well.
As he said I actually exclaimed the word "Jesus" because as strategies go it seems to be a crazy one. OK, so he was playing to the German audience who are not big fans of nuclear weapons, but this speech will be played at home as well where it really matters.
If you're a Democrat you can, fair enough, talk about ending the war in Iraq and other things and there will be floating voters across the spectrum that that message will appeal too. However, implying that one of your foreign policy objectives is to disarm your nations ability to defend itself along inter-continental is way out there.
I would be very surprised if the Republicans do not produce an attack ad on this point. In Obama's favour is time I guess, if he doesn't drill that message home too much again then it may get lost amongst the other platitudes and arguments that are yet to come.
It will certainly be interesting to see what he says in Britain and France, two nuclear nations, on the subject. If he doesn't say it again then it will be seized upon as him being shallow and playing to an audience. If he does, he sets himself up as potentially trying to bind the Governments of France and Britain in advance of an election win.
What should be kept in mind of course is that if he wins then it is likely things will change. Being out of office and calling for disarmament is easy. Being in office and having the 3am phone calls from the DoD or State Department often have a tendency to change most residents of the Oval Office.