Obama is young, handsome and tanned, says Silvio Berlusconi
The Italian prime minister raises eyebrows with more of his off-key remarks, this time about Barack Obama
Belusconi, who is known for his regular off-key remarks, subsequently claimed to be joking after he spoke of Obama at a news conference, following talks with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev.
When asked by a reporter about the future prospect of US-Russian relations, Berlusconi referred to the youth of both leaders - Medvedev, 43, and Obama, 47 - which he said should make it easier for Moscow and Washington to work together.
He then continued: "I told the president that [Obama] has everything needed in order to reach a deal with him: he's young, handsome and tanned."
Later, when he returned to his hotel, Berlusconi said his comment that Obama was "giovane, bello e abbronzato", "was a big compliment," which only "imbeciles" would misinterpret, Italy's state news wire Ansa reported. "If some people don't have a sense of humour, then it's their problem,'' he said.
It is not the first time Berlusconi's descriptions have jarred with the public. When he took over the rotating presidency of the EU in 2003, he likened Martin Schulz, a German member of the European Parliament, to a concentration camp guard.
In the same year, at an event sponsored by the New York Stock Exchange in America, he said people should invest in Italy because the women there are pretty. "We have beautiful ladies and beautiful women, so my suggestion from the bottom of my heart is to try to make investments in Italy,'' he said. "The secretaries are beautiful.''See why it can be so amusing to live in Italy?