LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown voiced support on Wednesday for U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, saying he would help Americans struggling with an economic downturn.
In a move seen by some British media as breaching a political convention requiring foreign leaders to remain neutral ahead of U.S. elections, Brown praised Obama as a fellow â€œprogressive politicianâ€ who would help ordinary Americans in tough times.
Brown described the race for the White House as â€œelectrifyingâ€ and said: â€œIt is the Democrats who are generating the ideas to help people through more difficult times.â€
Writing in The Monitor, a monthly political publication, he praised a proposal by Obama to help prevent people from losing their homes as a result of the credit crunch.
Asked later at a news conference with Italian PM Berlusconi whether his comments were an endorsement of Obama, Brown said he was proud to know both candidates and the decision was up to the American people.
â€œI met both Senator Obama and Senator McCain when I was in Washington, and enjoyed my conversations with both of them. I have got a great admiration for both of these very distinguished senators,â€ he said.
â€œIt is a matter for the American people in their elections to make these decisions.â€
A BBC poll of 22 countries around the world Wednesday showed all would prefer to see Obama elected president ahead of McCain. In 17 of the 22, people expect relations between the US and the rest of the world to improve if Obama wins.