LONDON Nov 5 U.S. President Barack Obama on
Monday won the less than resounding backing of European
newspapers, which concluded he had done just about enough to
deserve re-election in preference to a flip-flopping Republican
Support for the incumbent was often based more on what he
had avoided - an economic depression in America - than on his
achievements in office.
London's Financial Times saw little inspiration in Obama's
2012 campaign, a stark contrast to the triumph of 2008 that saw
him elected the first black president of the United States.
"In a risk-averse campaign dominated by political
consultants, both men have displayed a poverty of ambition," the
The Times of London said Obama had run a tired campaign and
it was hard to discern any appetite for a second term, while
Romney had proved himself an able and credible candidate.
"President Obama has lost the campaign and his record has
many holes," The Times said. "But he has done enough to earn a
Britain's Guardian could manage little enthusiasm for the
president four years after his election in a "jaw-dropping,
almost redemptive, American moment".
"The record is certainly not perfect but he has done about
as well as anyone could reasonably expect," the left-leaning
newspaper said in an editorial.
In France, Le Monde also offered faint praise in its
endorsement, calling the president "not always brilliant, but
Spain's El Pais backed Obama for his ideals and sense of
direction. In a country where the euro zone crisis has meant
harsh austerity policies, Romney's spending cuts did not appeal
to the left-leaning paper.
In Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse as the euro crisis
unfolds, there was critical examination of conditions in the
United States. The weekly news magazine Der Spiegel has on its
cover a cartoon of Uncle Sam with a thermometer in his mouth and
the headline "The American Patient".
Handelsblatt, the conservative business daily, said that
whoever wins on Tuesday would have to take action on the budget
deficit and public debt.
"Get on a diet, America," the paper said.
An opinion poll taken in northern Europe last week showed
more than 90 percent support for Obama, on a continent where the
political mainstream often leans to the left of the United
Romney, far less well-known in Europe, is seen as too
right-wing by many. But he did win the cautious backing of
Switzerland's Neue Zuercher Zeitung, which saw him as more
likely than Obama to break the "reform logjam" in Washington.