Italians criticise Berlusconi over 'suntan' Obama gaffe

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London, Sept 29 (ANI): Silvio Berlusconi's "sun-tanned" comment about the Obamas has not been well received by the Italians.

Italy's prime minister made the race gaffe about the US president by telling a crowd: "I bring you greetings from a very suntanned man... Barack Obama."

The 72-year-old then went further and described the American leader's wife Michelle as "suntanned", reports The Telegraph.

Berlusconi was criticized by Italy's opposition and press for repeating the bizarre observation, which he first made last November, shortly after Obama was elected.

"By repeating these quips that are out of place, the prime minister continues to damage the image of Italy," said the country's only black MP, Jean Leonard Touadi, who is of Congolese origin.'Unita newspaper splashed the story on its front page.

"He makes us look ridiculous before the whole world," the newspaper said, adding that the comment was "a racist gaffe".

Alexander Stille, an American biographer of Berlusconi, was quoted as saying that "the majority of Italians think that Berlusconi enjoys great prestige abroad, when in fact he is universally considered a clown".

In November last year, Berlusconi sparked an international outcry when, during a trip to Moscow, he praised the then president-elect as "young, handsome and even sun-tanned." (ANI)

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