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Author Topic: Itialian PM Berlusconi TV outburst adds spice to Prodi debate  (Read 879 times)


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I hope and pray this loser goes down. Everyone in Italy hates this man.  He's a bush ally and he's a conservative right winger. The man is a kook.  Sadly he's backed by the Vatican due to his social issues.  So every Sunday Ratzinger talks about him every week.[/DIV] [/DIV] [/DIV]Berlusconi TV outburst adds spice to Prodi debate [!-- END HEADLINE --][/DIV][DIV id=ynmain][!-- BEGIN STORY BODY --][DIV id=storybody][DIV class=storyhdr][SPAN]By Philip Pullella[/SPAN][EM class=recenttimedate]1 hour, 35 minutes ago[/i]

[DIV class=spacer][/DIV][/DIV]Silvio Berlusconi's stormy exit from a television interview at the weekend has intensified the build-up to Tuesday's key debate between the prime minister and his rival Romano Prodi.

Berlusconi abruptly quit a studio on Sunday after Lucia Annunziata, one of Italy's best-known journalists, applied her usual, confrontational interviewing method, interrupting and contesting him several times.

"Goodbye madam. If you won't let me answer the question, I'm getting up and I'm off," he said. Before leaving he told her she should be ashamed, accused her of being "violent" and "not knowing about economic matters."

She snapped at him: "I ask the questions here."

Some editorials on Monday attacked Berlusconi, who has often accused the third channel of state broadcaster RAI where the interview was carried out of having a leftist agenda.

"The king has no clothes and is reduced to abdicating the television kingdom," said Rome's left-leaning La Repubblica.

Berlusconi controls as much as 80 percent of Italy's television, including state broadcaster RAI, through his business and political interests. His family empire spans television to radio, magazines, books, movies and advertising.

While acknowledging Annunziata may have been aggressive, La Repubblica accused Berlusconi of "losing his head simply because she tried to interrupt one of his monologues."

Milan's Corriere della Sera, which last week gave its formal backing to Prodi's center-left, said: "If he wants to submit himself to a journalist's questions, he can't expect to decide what they will be."


Berlusconi's center-right allies and smaller circulation dailies that back him accused Annunziata, a known center-left supporter and former president of RAI, of "putting him on trial" and waging a personal vendetta.

The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said the interview had turned into a "show of bad taste" while RAI president Claudio Petruccioli, a former leftist senator, said the journalist was also to blame for following Berlusconi "on the path of provocation."

Annunziata quit the top RAI post two years ago, protesting that it had become just a "mail box" for requests from the government.

Berlusconi's center-right coalition government is lagging behind Prodi's center-left by 3.5 percentage points in opinion polls ahead of the April 9-10 elections.

The prime minister has been trying to narrow the gap and commentators said he must have known he was going into the lion's den by visiting the pro-leftist channel.

Still, his outburst and abrupt departure surprised many because he usually has managed to blend a combative nature with a telegenic charm offensive.

"Yesterday Berlusconi belied a nervousness which showed that he is in difficulty. He can feel that his electoral defeat is probable," said Piero Fassino, head of the largest opposition party, the Democrats of the Left.

Tuesday night's head-to-head debate will, however, be regulated by strict rules based on American presidential debates that should exclude the possibility of any surprises similar to Sunday's fireworks.

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"We can't stop here. This is bat country."


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