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Bush’s Berlusconi blunder

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images The White House is scrambling to contain a diplomatic fiasco after an official briefing book distributed to reporters at this week’s G8 summit contained a not very flattering description of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his country that was apparently culled from an online encyclopedia: “Berlusconi was one of the most ...

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SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The White House is scrambling to contain a diplomatic fiasco after an official briefing book distributed to reporters at this week's G8 summit contained a not very flattering description of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his country that was apparently culled from an online encyclopedia:

"Berlusconi was one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for governmental corruption and vice,'' reads the profile. Primarily a businessman with massive holdings and influence in international media, he was regarded by many as a political dilettante who gained his high office only through use of his considerable influence on the national media until he was forced out of office in 2006.''

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The White House is scrambling to contain a diplomatic fiasco after an official briefing book distributed to reporters at this week’s G8 summit contained a not very flattering description of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his country that was apparently culled from an online encyclopedia:

“Berlusconi was one of the most controversial leaders in the history of a country known for governmental corruption and vice,” reads the profile. Primarily a businessman with massive holdings and influence in international media, he was regarded by many as a political dilettante who gained his high office only through use of his considerable influence on the national media until he was forced out of office in 2006.”

The profile goes on to say that Berlusconi is is “despised by many but respected by some for his bella figura [beautiful image].”

We may have taken a few shots at Berlusconi around here, but obviously this is no way for the White House to treat the U.S.’s staunchest European ally. And if they must, at least do it right and make fun of his tan.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy  Twitter: @joshuakeating

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