Though the third and final presidential debate between John McCain and Barack Obama centered largely on domestic policy and U.S. interests, people abroad also have a vested interest in the outcome of November’s election. Martin Savidge speaks with journalists in France, Mexico and Pakistan about the international reaction to last night’s debate.
Below, international bloggers voice their opinions about the debate and the candidates.
Explore Worldfocus partner LinkTV’s “Dear American Voter” project, which encourages citizens from around the world to submit videos about the U.S. elections.
Read our previous post on global reactions to the second U.S. presidential debate.
Some comments from international bloggers about the U.S. elections:
“Politically Incorrect” blog, Kenya
Watching [the debate], I began nightdreaming about the possibilities it held for African countries . [...] What if we started seeing elections as a platform for allowing citizens to decide on what they wanted, rather than using it as an opportunity to bribe, cheat, humiliate, fight, be abusive, or whatever else African leaders are always up to during such times? It is still a dream in Africa that we will achieve the state that [the U.S.] takes for granted, where election campaigns are organized and the battles do not have to involve or bruise the public, where citizens still have a large amount of power, and where presidents (potential) are taken to task about their manifestos.
“Mexico Monitor” blog, Mexico
Undocumented immigration remains a political hot potato in the campaign for the U.S. presidency. Neither McCain nor Obama mentioned the issue during their third and final presidential debate. But on more than 20 occasions they did talk about “Joe Plumber,” a name for the generic working man now suffering the consequences of the global financial crisis. During a Facebook chat, a friend told me that she thinks the candidates were really talking about “Jose el Plomero, un migrante indocumentado” — José Plumber, an undocumented Mexican migrant worker who lives in the shadows of the broken U.S. immigration system and is waiting to see if the next U.S. president will be bold enough to propose meaningful immigration reform legislation.
“Cas Cas the Explorer” blog, France
Being an American in Paris is an uphill battle—I even speak French pretty well. From the moment I touched down at Charles de Gaulle, politics have remained the focal point of almost every discussion. With three suitcases in tow, my cab driver asked the address of my destination, and after hearing my accent, asked of my origin. After stating, “Etat-Unis”, a glimmer appeared in his eye in the rearview mirror. No questions on “what brings you to Paris” or “How long are you going to be here”. His words were simple, “Obama où McCain?” This scene has been played repeatedly with most interactions between the French and I. Once they know you are American, the only issue of concern becomes the election and the reasoning behind your choice. [...] With each upcoming question I am bound to face regarding “Obama où McCain,” I’ll smile and answer, praying that this one conversation might have a domino effect—however slight it may be—so that America can regain the prestige and respect abroad she once had.
“Two Chicks Nest” blog, Canada
I’m calling myself out. I’ve lived in Canada for a year and I don’t understand Canadian politics. I follow U.S. politics like it’s my (part time) job, but I barely even notice what’s going on in the country that I am living in. Tsk tsk. Canadians are very interested in U.S. politics. The Canadian news broadcasts the vice presidential debates, for god’s sake! How is it that we have 24-hour news cycles in the U.S., but we barely ever mention anything beyond the U.S. border? Americans, have you heard anything about the Canadian national election that took place yesterday?
“Boquete Panama Guide” blog, Panama
I realize that Latin American politics seem remote from the current problems in the U.S. but they are not. There are huge numbers of Latin American voters in the U.S. These immigrants [...] have families in Latin America families incuding the Cubans in Miami that know what will happen if Chavez is successful emulating Castro’s Cuba. [...] People in all the world are [a]ffected by the U.S. election. I did a totally unscientific poll conducted with people in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Guatemala, Panama, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Peru and Columbia. The people I spoke with are watching with great interest and 100% of those I chatted with would, if they could, vote for Barack Obama and hope for change, so would I.
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