Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Pot Calls the Kettle "Berlusconi"

The White House press briefing book for the G-8 summit in Japan has offered a too-honest-for-comfort biography of Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. The AC Milan owner/ Media Mogul/ Politician/ Convicted Perjurer is named as "one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for government corruption and vice."

As you might imagine, the prickly Italian press has taken exception to this passage, among others. The Bush people apologized promptly and have since gone about spearheading a wonderfully impotent new climate change bill.

In all, it's been a good few weeks for the Prime Minister, first the Italian senate passed the "Berlusconi Bill" and now the shopboys (cheers bigus!) at Chelsea have reportedly offered 75 large for Kaka. If accepted, the sum should be enough to cover Berlusconi's legal fees for the last fortnight in May.

For more on why some White House intern has collected his or her last travel stipend, please follow along...

The briefing book distributed to reporters at these events is usually fat, drab and full of maps and excerpts from the attendants' pertinent speeches. The biographies are akin to what you might find in your favorite club's yearbook. Something like... "When Arsene isn't scouting out France's finest U-11 talent, he's playing tummysticks with the lads at the academy." Fluffiness.

Berlusconi was the target of some heavier stuff. He's characterized as "a political dilettante who gained his high office only through the use of his considerable influence on the national media."

It gets better as the note goes on:

"He is a businessman who was considered an amateur in politics but used his influence on the media to gain his premiership, which he lost in 2006."
"He is despised by many but respected by some for his bella figura [beautiful image]."
I take umbrage only at the former claim. Certainly Berlusconi did not use the media alone to achieve his place. Bribes, blackmail, and threats of physical violence to be imparted by the thugs in his employ certainly played a role. Not to mention his success in resurrecting that little footie club in Milan. He named his political party "Forza Italia" for shite's sake.

Quoteth White House spokesman Tony Fratto:

"We apologize to Italy and to the Prime Minister for this very unfortunate mistake … The sentiments expressed in the biography do not represent the views of President Bush, the American government, or the American people... Italy is a close friend and ally of the United States, and as anyone who has covered President Bush knows, he holds Prime Minister Berlusconi and the Italian people in the highest regard."
Added President Bush, in a direct message to his Italian counterpart: "I like your style, Dude."


John Paul said...

I believe any Berlusconi commentary should be accompanied by this charming video.


Andrew said...

I completely forgot about ol' Silvio and his penchant for buffoonery

It's like Bush's Merkel neck rub, but not really.

The Likely Lad said...

Berlusconi and Bush should really go out for drinks. Magical video there...

The Likely Lad said...

that was a penchant for *buggery (as seen on the videotape)

Mike Georger said...

what hes saying in that picture: Today is a day for AMERICANS!

Keith said...

Mike- he's selling Milan and buying Fulham?