Small World After All: Obama-Clinton Battle Stirs Global Debate

Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" has been translated into French and has been a hit. Clinton's autobiography was also translated, but isn't doing as well.

"People are very enthusiastic about Obama because we have a mixed population in France and we have racial and ethnic problems so it's a source of great excitement for young Frenchmen," said Denis Lacorne, professor of political studies at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris.

Obama's candidacy is being compared to former President Kennedy.

Few Americans have enjoyed a warmer embrace than Kennedy's June 1961 visit to France. The better Parisian shops sold silk scarves embroidered with Jackie and French newspapers swooned at the first lady's grasp of the French language.

With France's early refusal to back the war against Iraq, the Bush administration ushered in an era of francophobia in Washington, D.C., worse than it's ever been, Lacorne said. Cafeterias on Capitol Hill replaced french fires on menus with "freedom fries."

"The French realize that there would be change whoever wins the election," Lacorne said. "It would be a break from the Bush administration, even if it's a Republican."

McCain's swing through France and London last week after his overseas visit to Iraq was seen as a welcome signal that the soon-to-be Republican nominee is serious about improving foreign relations.

"Even as a hawk on Iraq, which wouldn't be well understood or appreciated in France because no one in France is favorable to this war, he is seen as someone who is concerned to listen to European allies and that's considered a big plus from the old Bush ways," Lacorne said.

McCain's opposition to Guantanamo Bay and the torture of detainees and his support of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change are also viewed favorably.

'New Face of America to the Middle East'

In the Arab world, Obama has emerged as an early favorite.

"I think Obama has developed a great interest in the region. He presents a new face of America to the Middle East and to the world at large," Hafed Al Ghwell, a Libyan-American with the Dubai School of Government, told ABC News in January.

"His perspective on foreign policy, his statements, his charisma and the fact that he is of mixed background, I think that is an incredibly stimulating image for a lot of people."

"Barack Obama is my favorite," said Fadi Salem, a Syrian computer engineer living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. "For me as a foreigner I think it restores what democracy is. He has a multicultural background, he's from an ethnic minority, he is capable of bridging gaps either inside the United States or with people around the world."

Iran is a mixed picture.

Alongside some popular support for Obama there is a nostalgia for the Clinton presidency, seen as a time of relative warming relations between Iran and the United States.

McCain's anti-Iran rhetoric -- he once jokingly sang "Bomb, Bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" on the campaign trail -- is viewed by some as a continuation of the Bush administration's aggressive foreign policy.

From Dharamsala to Mumbai to Karachi

In Dharamsala, India, some say they'd vote for Obama if they could.

"Obama is the way that the U.S. should act," said Kalsag Phuntsok, 37, a math teacher.

In Mumbai, India, Obama's diplomatic approach is looked upon favorably.

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