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State of Play: Europe Reacts (Curiously) to Obama Victory

The overwhelming reaction in Europe to the election of Sen. Barack Obama has been one of enthusiasm and support. Yet a scan of the European press also reveals some peculiar — and some deplorable — responses.

Der Spiegel reports on the shock that has rippled through the German-speaking world after Klaus Emmerich, the “Wolf Blitzer of Austria,” said on a TV talk show, “I wouldn’t want the Western world to be directed by a black man.” Emmerich has refused to apologize, arguing that “blacks aren’t as politically civilized” — but he did call Michelle Obama a “very good-looking woman.”

In Rome, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi asserted that Obama would have no problem establishing good relations with Russia because Obama is “handsome, young and sun-tanned.” In response to accusations of racism, Berlusconi called his critics “imbeciles without any sense of humor.”

El Pais, Spain’s leading paper, which has obsessively covered the U.S. presidential election for months, leads its “Estados Unidos” page with a long analysis of Michelle Obama’s election-night outfit.

And Le Monde of France calls Obama the first spammer president under the headline, “With Obama, ‘Yes they spam!’”

Take a look at these and other stories from the Old Continent. Bonus points if you’re bi- or trilingual:

Austrian Journalist Slammed for Racist Obama Rant (Der Spiegel International)

Gaffe su Obama, Berlusconi rilancia “Le critiche? Ci sono tanti imbecilli” (On Obama Gaffe, Berlusconi Retorts, “The Criticisms? They Are All Imbecilic”) (La Stampa)

El vestido de cambio (The Dress of Change) (El Pais)

Avec Obama, “Yes they spam!” (With Obama, “Yes they spam!”) (Le Monde)

Obama’s victory: a change the world should believe in (Financial Times)

Where’s Europe’s Obama? (Der Spiegel International)

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