Berlusconi Repeats Obama 'Suntan' Joke

Italian prime minister plunges into controversy again
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2008 3:33 AM CST
British model Naomi Campbell has been dragged into a controversy over remarks by Italy's prime minister about President-elect Barack Obama.   (AP Photo / Alastair Grant)
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(Newser) – Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi, who raised eyebrows worldwide when he recently referred to  President-elect Obama as "handsome, young and suntanned," has repeated what he apparently thinks is a good joke—this time extending it to include model Naomi Campbell. "We would all like to be tanned like Naomi Campbell and Obama," he told an audience yesterday, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The 72-year-old billionaire, famous for oddly tasteless comments, dismissed critics of his earlier remark as "imbeciles" with no sense of humor. One not-so-amused Italian politician called the comment "an insult loaded with dangerous ambiguity," and French First Lady Carla Bruni, born in Italy, said she was happy she had taken French citizenship.