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Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has described U.S. President-elect Barack Obama as “young, handsome and even tanned.”

Berlusconi appeared to be joking about America’s first black president
Thursday at a news conference following talks with Russia’s president.
The Italian leader has a history of making impolitic remarks.

He was asked by a reporter about the prospect for U.S.-Russian
relations, which have plummeted to Cold War-levels in recent months.

Berlusconi said the relative youth of Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev, 43, and Obama, 47, should make it easier for Moscow and
Washington to work together.

Then he said, smiling: “I told
the president that (Obama) has everything needed in order to reach deal
with him: he’s young, handsome and even tanned.”