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Foreign Press Beats Campaign Fatigue

Though this election cycle has held the interest of Americans at unprecedented levels, fatigue has also set in. But there is a group of close observers whose interest has remained high, and for whom each day is a revelation. I speak, of course, of the foreign press that is covering the U.S. election.

Sen. Barack Obama’s candidacy has given the race an even broader international appeal than usual. But the dynamic of McCain campaign holds their attention as well.

For the past week or so, a group of about a dozen foreign journalists — from countries as diverse as Albania, Nigeria and Kazikstan — have been following the candidates of both parties, with the help of the U.S. State Dept. Recently, they had a chance to watch Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in action in Wisconsin.

For at least one of them, Ruth Suarez, of Madrid’s Metro newspaper, it was not what she expected.

AMC: What strikes you the most about the crowds at Palin rallies?

RS: I did not expect to find African-American people here. There are not many, but there are some.

AMC: How is this different from other part of the country?

RS: This IS the “real America,” like she [Palin] says. When I came over other times, I saw New York and Massachusetts. They are more like Europe. Being here [in Pennsylvania], you feel more like it is real America, because when you meet people in New York, you cannot understand why Bush has won two elections. You meet people here, and you understand.

AMC: Are you saying that these people are more like what Europeans think of the stereotypical American?

RS: Oh, yes. For me, socialism is not so bad! In Spain, we have a socialist president!

AMC: What do you think of the enthusiasm people show these rallies?

RS: I understand enthusiasm. There’s enthusiasm in Europe. But I don’t understand why it continues right up to election day. In many countries in Europe, the day before the election, there’s no campaigning. You get a day to think.

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