Nightly News   |  June 19, 2013

Obama calls on US, Russia to reduce nuclear arsenals

During a sweltering afternoon in Berlin, President Obama proposed reducing the world’s nuclear stockpile during a speech at the Brandenburg Gate, where both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan spoke decades ago. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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>>> city of boston. "nightly news" begins now.

>>> good evening. for those looking for signs as to how much our world has changed over the years, it was all there today in berlin , all on display as president obama spoke on the once communist east side of the brandenburg gate . the president spoke not far from where president kennedy gave his famous speech at the height of the cold war , where ronald reagan urged gorbachev to tear down the wall that divided berlin . there was the president today, separated from the people of berlin by a wall of bullet-proof glass. a speech delivered in sweltering heat to a few thousand invited guests, not the thorongs that came to see him in '08 when he was a candidate for president. and a company with a dark history of surveillance, it was all part of the appearance today. chuck todd starts us off from there tonight.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. remember, berlin , once home to the symbol of the cold war . dividing east from west. a city that lived in constant fear of nuclear detonation was the president back drop for a dramatic new proposal to reduce the world's nuclear stockpile. in sweltering 92-degree heat, behind eight feet of bullet proof glass at the brandenburg gate , he paid homage to predecessors.

>> ish ich bin ein.

>> citizens decide whether to be defined by a wall or tear it down.

>> reporter: this city who once cowered under the threat of a mushroom cloud , president obama called the u.s. and russia to reduce nuclear arsenals by one-third. scrap cold war statd trooe to retailiate after a first strike. and the president will only go as far as the russians is willing to go. the president tried to pave the way with vladmir putin but fell flat. this crowd, a cracks of the ofraction of t he one that president obama greeted in '08.

>> thank you for this extraordinarily warm welcome. in fact, it's so warm, and i feel so good, that i'm actually going to take off my jacket, and anybody else who wants to, feel free to.

>> earlier, a more combative crowd, the german press corps who pushed him on issues like guantanamo bay and drones.

>> one of the things you discover as a politician, people don't exactly do what you want. it's shocking. and you have to keep on working at it.

>> reporter: the president on his way home. two full work days this week, two full days next week and then back on the road with the first family. a week-long trip in southern africa .

>> chuck, thanks.