AMSTERDAM — Yesterday I landed in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, en route to Sudan. One of the gifts of international travel is the chance to see how other countries report on your own nation. Kiosks at Schiphol were full of European newspapers I scanned for news of Super Tuesday results. I snapped photos of a few and thanks to the wonders of Google Translate, here is what I found.
First, let’s look at the Dutch newspaper, de Volkskrant (“The People’s Paper”). At first glance I didn’t see any Super Tuesday reporting, but then the word, “Santorum” jumped out at me from the bottom of the front page. Under the column heading “Footnote Santorum,” (“Voetnoot Santorum”) the first sentence reads, “Who would have thought a few months ago that Rick Santorum was a serious competitor for Mitt Romney?” Given the row that kicked off between Santorum and the Dutch over his comments on the Dutch and euthanasia last month, it’s not surprising that their largest newspaper is devoting ink to Santorum on the first page.
Now off to Spain. As you can see above, the paper El Pais (“The Country”) splashed a smiling Mitt Romney on the cover, celebrating various wins on Super Tuesday. I wonder how the Spanish language television ads that Romney launched in Florida were received in Spain…
From Spain let’s head La Belle France, home to Romney for nearly three years. The French newspaper, Le Monde (The World), leads with the heading, “The winner of Super Tuesday, Romney’s favorite contest yet.” Romney has had to tread carefully around the topic of his time in France. Newt Gingrich used Romney’s command of French against him in a January advertisement. “Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney – he’ll say anything to win. Anything,” intoned the narrator. “And just like John Kerry he speaks French, too.” Mon Dieu!
Leave it to the Brits to go for the jugular. The Guardian minced no words with their lead headline, “Not-so-Super-Tuesday: is this the worst race ever?” The article continues, “Mitt Romney isn’t a natural campaigner. On the stump he delivers wooden speeches that rarely last more than 15 minutes, then does a quick blast of glad-handing before promptly disappearing, leaving the core volunteers upon whom his campaign depends blinking into thin air.” Ouch.
The US presidential election matters to Europeans. Though separated by an ocean, the US is a key ally, trading partner, and destination for many Europeans. Despite Europe continuing to navigate choppy economic waters of financial misery, the US 2012 election captures their attention, though some say it’s a distraction.
Either way, as these four papers reveal, it’s front page news.