U.S. Election: Britain's View

In London, the Clinton-Obama race is drawing most of the attention that British people are paying to the U.S. election. Animosity toward President Bush is a drag on Sen. John McCain's popularity. There is lingering affection for the United States in Britain and a hope that the old relationship between the British and American people can be restored when a new president is in the White House.

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ROB GIFFORD: This is Rob Gifford in London, where the focus has also been mainly on the race for the Democratic nomination.

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U: Sharp exchanges between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama...

U: A showdown in Ohio, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama trade accusations in a televised...

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U: The Obama bandwagon rolls on...

GIFFORD: With the Republican Party nomination all but wrapped up by Senator John McCain, the news media here have explored every angle of the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Much of the focus has been on the generational gap between them and of course, the fascination about whether the first woman or the first African-American will make it to the White House.

The animosity in Britain and elsewhere in Europe towards President Bush is not helping John McCain's popularity. Certainly on the streets of the capital today, ordinary Londoners like Hannah Lansbret(ph), John Benstood(ph), Frida Matasa(ph) and many others were giving a landslide to the Democrats, with Senator Obama definitely the favorite.

M: George Bush has done a pretty appalling job of being president for the last eight years. And so, it would be a much better thing to a Democratic candidate win this time around.

M: Hillary Clinton is very experienced in international politics, and Obama has a wonderfully international personal background. So I'd say either of those two would be good.

M: I think Clinton's just too relying on how well her husband did as a president to get her into power. So I think Obama would represent real change.

GIFFORD: The war in Iraq has damaged the U.S. reputation in Britain, as in much of Europe. But there is here a lingering affection for the United States, if not its foreign policy, and a hope that with a new president, something of the old relationship can be restored.

Rob Gifford, NPR News, London.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And you can read lots of other opinions from observers around the world who are watching the presidential race, at npr.org.

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