‘Spaniards React to Obama’s Defense of President Zapatero’: El Mundo of Spain

As we covered last week at WORLDMEETS.US in an article headlined, ‘Spain’s Conservatives Back McCain’s ‘Snub’ of President Zapatero‘, the Republican candidate’s recent comments about Spain’s Socialist leader have sparked a tremendous controversy in that country.

It all began with an interview John McCain gave last week to a Spanish-language radio station in Miami, in which McCain appeared to have trouble identifying Zapatero – or even what continent his country is in. He then seemed to imply that Spain may not be a U.S. ally.

This article, from Spain’s El Mundo newspaper, highlights how both the ruling Socialist party and the opposition conservatives have reacted to Obama’s jab at McCain over the episode in the debate last night.

Congressional leader of the opposition Popular Party, Saenz de Santamaria, is quoted as saying in part:

“I was surprised by Mr. Obama’s question in relation to Zapatero visiting the White House. Mr. Obama already scandalized the President of our Government when during his European tour, didn’t even visit him in our country.”

As for Elena Valenciano, International Relations Secretary for ruling Socialists, the article says she and her party:

“Expresses the Government’s ‘absolute’ respect for both candidates, but considers that Obama’s bid is “better for the world, for Europe, and for Spain” and that “one could argue that McCain ‘benefited’ because the topic of the debate was foreign policy, but that Obama ‘responded constructively’ to the issues raised.’

The article is packaged with both the McCain interview and last night’s exchange over the issue of Spain.

Translated By Paula van de Werken

September 27, 2008

Spain – El Mundo – Original Article (Spanish)

Madrid/Valencia: The Socialist Party of Spain [the ruling, left-wing party] and the Popular Party [the leading opposition right-wing party] are taking their own readings of the first electoral debate between Barack Obama and John McCain, although this takes them away from their usual terrain. The Congressional leader of the Popular Party, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, expressed his surprise at the interest that Democratic candidate Barack Obama showed during the debate for the President of the Spanish Government, Jose Luis Zapatero.

[Editor’s Note: In last night’s debate, Obama accused McCain of implying in an interview that Spanish President Zapatero isn’t an ally of the United States. It actually appeared as though Senator McCain wasn’t sure who the interviewer was talking about.

“I was surprised by Mr. Obama’s question in relation to Zapatero visiting the White House. Mr. Obama already scandalized the President of our Government when during his European tour, didn’t even visit him in our country” said Saenz de Santamaria.

READ ON AT WORLDMEETS.US, along with continuing translated and English foreign press coverage of the U.S. election and the Presidential debates.

Author: WILLIAM KERN (Worldmeets.US)

Founder and Managing Editor of Worldmeets.US

2 Comments

  1. It's probably worthwhile here to note the nature of Spain's remarkably polarized and politicized press, if it's not already obvious to U.S. readers. In spite of what any particular campaign might say here about bias toward one side or another, in Spain it's expected that papers will hew to a highly politicized stand to argue their point.

  2. I should note, as a Spanish citizen and resident, that the whole McCain matter is hardly a “huge” controversy. At the most it is, as Mike_P rightly notes, one more rock for the PSOE (ruling party) and the PP (opposition party) to throw at one another. Obama didn't “scandalize” Zapatero by not visiting Spain. No one was scandalized. Certainly it would have been nice, but generally speaking no one is so stupid as to take it personally. The PP just wants to use Obama as another way to ridicule Zapatero as a small timer, the same way Zapatero wants to self-aggrandize himself by comparing himself to Obama.

    It of course made headlines. The debate would have made headlines anyway, and naturally having your own country mentioned in the mix is going to make that part of the debate the most interesting tidbit, but Spain isn't actually in an uproar over this.

    The Spanish attitude towards the election is, in a broad sense hoping that Obama wins but pessimistic because of a belief that Americans won't elect a black man. This attitude would make Obama's election the icing on the cake, just so I could scream “HA I TOLD YOU SO, GO STICK YOUR ANTI-AMERICAN RHETORIC WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE!”.

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