Europeans Mark Democratic Endgame With Yawns and Scorn | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 03.06.2008
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Europeans Mark Democratic Endgame With Yawns and Scorn

European papers largely ignored the final hours of the Democratic primary. Those papers which did cover the campaigning seemed glad it would soon be over, and offered some (almost) final thoughts on the loser.

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama D-Ill., waves after speaking at a rally at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D.

Many Europeans -- as well as Obama -- are relieved it's nearly over

Maybe it was the summer weather, or the fact that the outcome was nearly certain, but Europeans were hardly riveted by the final round of Obama versus Clinton in Montana and South Dakota.

The daily La Stampa in Turin, Italy seemed to wistfully long for a stop to what it called the "primary carrousel."

"From the perspective of logic and common sense, this has to be the end of the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- the battle that has colored American politics since January and gotten harder and nastier every day," wrote that paper's editorialist.

The Times in London took much the same tack.

"Unless Clinton has veered even further into an alternate reality than was already suspected, pushing on to the convention seems a wildly unlikely choice, with its potential to wreck both Democratic prospects in November and her political career," that paper opined.

The French paper La Liberte de l'Est also called upon the former First Lady to call it a day.

"For a while, Hillary Clinton's determination could be admired," wrote its commentator. "But now it's become obstinacy, and that's counter-productive."


Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., shakes hands at a campaign event in Yankton, S.D.

Rumors swirled on Tuesday, June 3 that Clinton could quit

Polls suggest most Europeans would prefer to see a President Obama, and there was an unmistakable undercurrent of Schadenfreude that former front-runner Clinton was on her last legs.

"A lifetime's worth of ambitions, 16 years of acquaintances in the Democratic party establishment, 16 grinding months of rallies and debates, and $215m [140 million euros] in campaign funds, all now are exhausted," wrote England's Guardian.

The Independent -- one of the few European papers still bothering to file reports from the field -- ran a rather dismal sounding portrait of Clinton's final days of primary campaigning.

"Rather than pausing to ponder harsh truths, Mrs Clinton continued to pour her energies into battle as South Dakota and Montana become the last states to hold primary elections," The Independent's correspondent wrote. "Voters who saw her yesterday were not mistaken when they heard her say more than once, 'When I am president, I will...'.

"The time for a reality check will be today," the correspondent added, "as five months of stumping finally ends."

The Independent also took the opportunity in a separate article to draw aim at former President Bill Clinton, whose numerous gaffes and misjudgement on the campaign are widely seen to have damaged his wife's chances.

"If political malpractice was a crime, he would surely have been indicted by now," wrote a presumably Tarantino-loving pundit in a piece entitled "Kill Bill."

Pyrrhic victory?

Two kids play on German beach

Who needs politics, when you can go to the beach?

But opinions from Europe about Barack Obama, who looked poised to seal the Democratic nomination during the night of Tuesday, June 3, weren't all positive, either.

A number of papers, including the Sueddeutsche Zeitung from Munich, questioned whether the would-be nominee would be able to defeat Republican John McCain after taking months of battering by Clinton.

"It was a long primary marathon, and it's a bit as if, somewhere along the way, Obama got winded," that paper wrote. "He's stumbling across the finish line, and there's little left of the young hero of the party, who six months ago left the old guard in his wake."

But most German newspapers were content merely to reprint wire reports dealing with one of the longest American primary contests in memory.

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