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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Foreign journalists on Barack Obama's overseas support



President Barack Obama may have an approval rating slightly over 50 percent, but his support may be even more widespread overseas, said several correspondents covering the inauguration for foreign news outlets.

Obama “is still very popular in Spain,” said Maria Ramirez, who writes for El Mundo, a Spanish newspaper. “In the United States, the economy is better than it is in Spain. And Bush was so unpopular.”

People in Spain see him as “more of a European-style president,” added Daniel Basteiro, a Madrid-based journalist who came to Washington to cover the inauguration. “Gay marriage was legalized in Spain in 2005. His agenda connects better with what Europeans feel. He’s a star, no doubt.”

Ramirez and Basteiro agreed that the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., hit Europeans hard. In Spain, “people can’t believe how easy it is to buy a gun here,” Basteiro said.

Meanwhile, people in the Philippines and Philippine-Americans feel warmly toward Obama,” said Bing Branigin, who reports from Washington for the Manila Mail.

“There’s a younger generation who empathizes with him,” she said. “Traditionally, Philippine-Americans are conservative,” but since Obama emerged on the scene, “they have voted overwhelmingly for the president.” She added that, for some, Obama’s more flexible stance on immigration may be a factor.

-- Louis Jacobson, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Monday, January 21, 2013 5:37pm]


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