Berlusconi Still Hospitalized as Italy Parses Attack
Some fear return to the bad old days of the violence-ridden 70s
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2009 10:33 AM CST
Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi after an attacker hurled a statuette at him.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A “shaken and disheartened” Silvio Berlusconi remains hospitalized after being smashed in the face even as recriminations fly amid predictions of a return to the political violence of the 1970s and '80s. Though the attacker at last night's rally apparently acted alone, both sides of the Italian political spectrum see the bloodying of the prime minister as emblematic. The right has denounced the left’s “campaign of hate” against Berlusconi, while the left says the PM himself has created a “climate of violence” with his fiery rhetoric and shady dealings.

A more pressing issue to some is that the attacker got so close in the first place—he could as easily have “been holding a gun,” one commentator frets to the Times—and a dustup including the PM’s security and Milan police is brewing. Still, Berlusconi could have incited the attack—during his speech yesterday, he claimed he was not a monster “partly because I am so handsome.”