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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014
Americans in Paris plumped for Obama at iconic bar
AFP
Paris, November 07, 2012
First Published: 11:02 IST(7/11/2012)
Last Updated: 11:03 IST(7/11/2012)

Americans at Harry's Bar, an iconic watering hole in the French capital, fervently backed Barack Obama for the US presidency on Tuesday, leaving little doubt about their feelings for Republican rival Mitt Romney.

The small slice of Manhattan in the heart of Paris has held a straw poll ahead of US elections since 1924 and only got the results wrong twice -- the 1976 poll won by Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush's victory in 2004.

This time around they got it right again.

Hours before Obama secured a historic second term in the White House, supporters in the City of Lights had his back. And then some.

"If Romney wins, it's gonna be a disaster!" said retired neurosurgeon Jean-Marie Dessama.

"And he's only about money. Barack is more human," added the 73-year-old who holds both French and American citizenship.

Romney, meanwhile, was widely derided by patrons, with some bashing him for 'religious extremism' while others called his policies 'inhumane' or 'reactionary'.

Obama, in the eyes of the expatriates, was seen as 'more human' and lauded for having done a 'good job' during his first term.

French comedian Jean-Francois Derec, meanwhile, said Romney scared him because he represented "that anti-abortion far-right".

Still, he added that Obama disappointed him over the past four years "because he did nothing to rein in the financial markets".

At the American Business School, meanwhile, where 40 percent of students hail from the United States, the party began in the late afternoon, complete with cheerleaders and US flags.

Gloria, 20, from New York, was dismayed at the nastiness of the political campaign leading up to Tuesday's poll but said "Obama did a great job".

"Romney would be a disaster in terms of human rights, especially for women," she added, referring to his stance on abortion.

Fellow student Brooke Bond didn't buy that, however.

"I voted for Romney (...) because I want less government, less taxes, and more power to the states," said the 20-year-old.

But she was definitely in the minority -- a poll at the school saw 280 ballots go to Obama, compared to 32 for Romney.

According to US embassy figures, 100,000 US expatriates live in France, half of them in Paris.


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