At Black-Tie Affair, Few Are Willing to Dish Red vs. Blue
Tricky time to be a diplomat in Washington: Everyone's got an opinion about the presidential campaign ..... except people who aren't allowed to have an opinion.
Friday's 40th-annual Meridian Ball was full of international reps who couldn't stop talking about the race. "I don't think there's ever been an American election that has captivated attention like this has," said Boyden Gray, who just returned from Brussels as envoy to the E.U. "They're just fascinated."
But that doesn't mean they were actually naming names at the black-tie gala. "People in the streets in most countries are clearly for [Barack] Obama," said Spanish Ambassador Jorge Dezcallar. "Governments are very prudent and don't say anything." Dezcallar has a personal preference, but we couldn't pry it out of him. "I will respect whatever the people of America decide." Ditto for Finnish Ambassador Pekka Lintu, who said he's following the election "very closely." Got a favorite? "Absolutely not."
Yeah, but what about all those serious-looking VIP tete-a-tetes? "I've had several ambassadors tell me, off the record, they hope it's going to be Obama, because they feel he can reintroduce America to the rest of the world," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told us.
Fear not, Republicans: If John McCain wins, Embassy Row will have his back. Whispered one ambassador (who asked to remain anonymous so he can remain ambassador): "Presidential elections are like presents on Christmas morning -- whatever you get, you say, 'It's exactly what I wanted.'"
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