Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Silvio yet again

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says he did not pay a woman to stay overnight at his residence.

Check the facts; the first paragraph of the story is a mite different than the photo's caption.

Facing a growing wave of criticism about his personal life, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi went on the defensive this week, saying that he did not recall meeting a woman who claims he paid her to spend the night at his Rome residence.

Silvio being Silvio.

In an exclusive interview to be published Wednesday in Chi magazine, which Mr. Berlusconi owns and which is Italy’s equivalent of People, he was asked if he had ever paid a woman “so she would be with him.”

He owns the magazine, and is PM. Speak of controlling the spin cycle.

“Naturally, no,” he responded. “I have never understood what satisfaction there is if not in the pleasure of conquest.”

A, conquest.

Although Mr. Berlusconi governs virtually unopposed, because of the collapse of the country’s left and his popular support among Italians, some analysts say they believe that the questions about his personal life could start depleting his political capital.

The more he is depicted as morally compromised, the harder it will be for him to govern, they say. “He could face a war of attrition,” said Stefano Folli, a columnist for the financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore. The simmering scandal is “a point of political weakness,” he said, adding, “It poses greater difficulty for governing even his allies.”

Members of Mr. Berlusconi’s center-right coalition have not leapt to his defense. And the Catholic Church has been more insistent in its criticism.

Even the Church is distancing itself from Silvio; that is not good for Silvio.

L’Avvenire, a newspaper published by the Italian Bishops Conference, said Friday that given the “growing unease” about Mr. Berlusconi’s personal life, it was necessary “to arrive as quickly as possible at a sufficient clarification.”

American bishops are a lot more righteous in their opinions.

One of the women who said they were paid to attend parties at the prime minister’s residence, Patrizia D’Addario, told the newspaper Corriere della Sera last week that she had visited the residence several times, and that Mr. Berlusconi asked her to spend the night once. She said she tape-recorded her visits and also took some photographs.

Taped and photographed her visits? Seems rather premeditated. Silvio should have read his Nixon history a lot better than he obviously did.

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