The best of the world leader congratulations

Most of the congratulations messages sent to Barack Obama from his fellow world leaders this week were pretty perfunctory. (See Angela Merkel, Hu Jintao, or Julia Gillard.) But a few did stand out.

Russia's Vladimir Putin sent a telegram (telegram?) praising Obama for winning "with such a wide margin" and in a comparison that the U.S. president might not welcome, added, “I know not from hearsay how exhaustive and intense the election campaign may be.” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev couldn't resist getting in one last dig at Mitt Romney, saying he was “glad that the president of a very big and very influential country won’t be the man who considers Russia enemy No. 1.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the United States as the "greatest democracy on Earth" and described the U.S.-Israeli relationship as "rock-solid" in a meeting with Ambassador Dan Shapiro, before offering Shapiro a hamburger.

French President Francois Hollande posted his congratulatory letter to Obama on Twitter, but was then mocked by readers for his poor English grammar after he signed the letter "Friendly, Francois Holland." (This seems a bit harsh.)

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, perhaps hoping his country -- where Obama's initial victory was celebrated as a national holiday -- might get a little more attention from the president in the second term, wrote, "Kenya, as always is proud of our association with you. We look forward to the deepening of relations between our two countries during your second term in office." 

In Britain, there seemed to be a battle between the three major parties to claim a bit of the Obama aura. Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron touted the fact that he's on a first-name basis with the president, writing, "Above all, congratulations to Barack. I've enjoyed working with him, I think he's a very successful US president and I look forward to working with him in the future." Labour Leader Ed Miliband, meanwhile, wrote that Obama's victory was built on the desire for a "fairer economy." Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, of the Liberal Democrats, used Obama to take a shot at Labour, saying Obama's reelection proves that voters have "long memories" about who created the financial crisis. 

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at a meeting in Bali, Indonesia, was not in a magnanimous mood, calling the U.S. election a "battleground for capitalists" and mocking the amount of money spent on the campaign.

There's been no reaction yet from Hugo Chávez or the Castro brothers, though the state-run news website CubaSi probably summed up the Cuban government's ambivalent attitude with a headline reading, “U.S. elections: the worst one did not win.” 

Peter Macdiarmid- WPA Pool/Getty Images


The 10 best global front pages on the U.S. election

Checking out how presidential elections play on the front pages of U.S. newspapers -- and stowing away those papers for posterity -- is a favorite pastime of American politics (and a reminder of why some news is still best conveyed in old-fashioned newsprint). But news outlets in other countries also produce some gems. Take the Venezuelan paper shown above, which has the president roaring over the headline, "Obama: I won!"

Courtesy of the Newseum and other sources, here are 10 front pages today from around the world that you won't want to miss. Below, Belgium's De Standaard splices the faces of Obama and Mitt Romney together to highlight America's partisan divisions, under the headline, "The Torn Country" (a Czech paper mashed up the candidates' faces as well -- and the result is significantly more disturbing). 

Newseum/De Standaard

Here's some fodder for American declinists. The Danish newspaper Politiken notes that the United States elected a new president but asks whether China's heir apparent Xi Jinping is the "world's new leader."


Feeling a bit disoriented from a long night of watching election results? Lebanon's Daily Star captures the feeling well:

Newseum/The Daily Star

The French love Barack Obama, and the country's Libération sums up the sentiment in just one word:


In a review of the steep economic challenges facing the next U.S. president, Austria's Die Presse asks a simple question: "And what now, Mr. President?"

Newseum/Die Presse

The Jamaica Observer wins the award for the most unflattering picture of a triumphant Obama:

Newseum/Daily Observer

Germany's Die Welt leads with a think piece entitled "What A Great Country" that criticizes Europeans for indulging in "premature schadenfreude" about America's decline as a superpower, and argues that the United States is still a "land of opportunity."

Newseum/Die Welt

Wondering how Obama is feeling after his resounding victory? Canada's Calgary Sun suggests he may have some swagger in his step:

Newseum/Calgary Sun

Britain's the Guardian arguably has the most artistic front page (oddly enough, and perhaps in an effort to make Obama look particularly formidable, papers in Panama and Spain also show Obama's breath lingering in the cold air) :

The Guardian

India's Deccan Chronicle made some odd artistic choices in framing the race on Election Day. Why the photograph of Obama speaking alongside an awkward picture of Mitt and Ann Romney kissing?

Newseum/Deccan Chronicle