Germany: Angela Merkel's Aspirations

Meet the (reflective) woman who stands likely to become Germany's first female leader

Angela Merkel, the front runner to become Germany's next Chancellor, developed her style early. As a 12-year-old growing up in the communist eastern part of the country, she was asked by a swimming teacher to experiment with a low diving board at the local pool. She edged to the end and stopped. Forty minutes passed before she jumped in. "I need a lot of start-up time," Merkel told a local journalist. "I am not spontaneously courageous."

Merkel, 51, has been no less meticulous in charting her political campaign. As leader of the Christian Democratic Union, she will be running in federal elections...

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