Ecuador's president praises Obama, wishes him luck in election

With the outcome of the U.S. election so uncertain, foreign heads of state have generally refrained from expressing support for either presidential candidate. But as my colleague Josh Keating has noted, leaders like France's Francois Hollande, Russia's Vladimir Putin, and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez have suggested that they're partial to Barack Obama. Now, it seems, we can add Ecuador's Rafael Correa to the list.

During an interview with a Chilean radio station on Friday, Correa noted that he didn't want to "interfere in the internal matters of other countries." But what he said afterward sounded a whole lot like an endorsement of Obama.

"I wish the best of luck to President Obama," the leftist leader declared, according to the news agency EFE. "I am personally fond of President Obama, I think he is a great person." Republican administrations, he added, "have always had a much more unfamiliar, a much more simplistic and primitive foreign policy toward Latin America."  

In the presidential debate on foreign policy this week, Mitt Romney criticized Obama for pledging in 2008 to sit down with Latin American leaders like Chavez, who is an ally of Correa's. But the GOP candidate also called for more trade with countries in the region.

Correa's comments might not sit well with conservatives like evangelical leader and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, whose Campaign for American Values PAC released an ad this week proclaiming that Obama had secured the "dictator vote" from Chavez, Putin, and Fidel Castro:

Obama actually has a complicated relationship with Correa. The U.S. president phoned the Ecuadorean leader in 2009 to mend strained relations between the two countries, but Correa, a U.S.-trained economist, has since expelled the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador over a WikiLeaks cable and offered asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.    

However Correa feels about Obama's policies, he appears to think Romney's would be worse.



Connie Mack declares war on U.N. over its nonexistent election monitors

Florida Rep. Connie Mack has called for the United Nations to be defunded and "kicked off U.S. soil.". The source of his outrage?

“The very idea that the United Nations – the world body dedicated to diminishing America’s role in the world -- would be allowed, if not encouraged, to install foreigners sympathetic to the likes of Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, and Putin to oversee our elections is nothing short of disgusting.

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Only thing is, the observers he's talking about are not from the United Nations, they're from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe -- a U.N.-registered, but separate organization of which Cuba, Venezuela, and Iran are not members. Russia is a member, but it's safe to say Putin is not a big fan of the group. A group of civil rights organizations, including the NAACP and the ACLU, have asked the OSCE to monitor what they say are voter supression efforts. Forty-four observers will be stationed throughout the country.

The Mack campaign argues that election monitoring "should be reserved for third-world countries, banana republics and fledgling democracies." However, OSCE monitors have observed several U.S. elections before, including the 2004 presidential election when they were invited by George W. Bush's State Department. 

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