Italian elections

Bilingual blog on the vote

Veltroni gets celebrity endorsement

April 11, 2008

George Clooney

Movie buff Walter Veltroni may be the underdog in Italy’s election, but at least he can count on a few friends in Hollywood.

With George Clooney touring Italy to present his latest film “Leatherheads”, Veltroni made sure TV cameras were at hand when the two shared a coffee in a Milan bar.

“Like Obama, I think Veltroni has a rare quality, a great oratory ability which can bring people together,” said Clooney, comparing “my friend Walter” to Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama.

Veltroni, who two years ago set up Rome’s first international film festival, also received the public backing of  Italian directors Nanni Moretti, who wrote a full-page article in left-wing daily La Repubblica explaining why people should not vote for Silvio Berlusconi, and Roberto Benigni.

“How can you not vote for him? He is good and he is good-looking,” said Benigni, whose “Life is beautiful” won an Oscar for best foreign film in 1999.

But the one endorsement for Veltroni that appeared to irk his rival Silvio Berlusconi most came from Francesco Totti, the AS Roma captain who is arguably Italy’s most famous footballer.

Totti said this week he would vote for Francesco Rutelli, a close Veltroni ally who is standing for mayor of Rome.

“If he is backing Rutelli, then he is out of his mind,” said Berlusconi , who owns AC Milan.

“If I asked the Milan players to support me, many would, gladly. Many of them have asked me but I forbade it. That’s the difference between me, Veltroni and Rutelli,” he said.

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