'Young and Suntanned': Carla Bruni Blasts Berlusconi's Obama Remark
French First Lady Carla Bruni said she was happy no longer to be an Italian citizen after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi joked about US President-elect Barack Obama being "suntanned."
France's First Lady Carla Bruni has criticized Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for joking about US President-elect Barack Obama's "suntan", and said she was glad to have given up her Italian citizenship.
The Italian-born model and pop singer became a French national and gave up her Italian citizenship after she married French President Nicolas Sarkozy in February.
Berlusconi had said on Thursday that Obama, who will be the first African-American US president, was "handsome, young and also suntanned".
Italy's left-wing opposition parties accused Berlusconi of bringing discredit on the nation with the quip. "He forgets that his statements cast doubt on the image of our country in the world," said Dario Franceschini, member of parliament for the center-left Democratic Party. Berlusconi responded by calling them "imbeciles" with no sense of humor.
Meanwhile French politicians and celebrities had published a petition calling for positive discrimination in favour of people from ethnic minorities. The program "Oui, nous pouvons!" ("Yes, we can!") demands concrete political change to make the French ideal of equality reality for the millions of immigrants living in France.
Bruni-Sarkozy did not sign the petition because of her status as wife of the president but she said she supported it in every respect.
She continued: "He doesn't look like the traditional French elite but that didn't stop him. And, personally, I don't correspond to the profile of a first lady! I'm an artist, born Italian...Of course, we are, him and me, of European stock, and that's easier."
She said she hoped the "Obama effect" would also change French society.
cro -- with wire reports
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