Reporters on the Job

UNDERSTANDING BUSH 101: It's true that Germany's largest mass daily endorsed President Bush recently. But finding Bush supporters in Germany, says correspondent Andreas Tzortzis, poses a "massive difficulty (page 1)." Still, Andreas soldiered on, asking Germans about Tuesday's election. And what increasingly struck him was how deeply engaged Germans were in the event - and the puzzlement many feel over how close the race is.

That confusion led Peter Lösche, a professor at the University of Göttingen, to create a course on the subject for his students. "First, he asked them how many thought Bush would win," Andreas says. Two-thirds raised their hands - and then had to spell out why.

"What interested Professor Lösche was how accurately the Bush winners predicted some of the reasons Americans would vote for Bush," Andreas says. "They were the reasons Karl Rove or American commentators would give. It showed to him how dominant a topic the election is in Germany."

Indeed, says Andreas, it's hard to escape the coverage. "Over the past two weeks, German TV has been running documentaries on the US, looking at the role of religion and the media, for example," he says. "All the major newsmagazines and papers have been covering the election extensively - and it plays on Page 1 all the time." This week, he notes, Der Spiegel, a newsweekly, ran Bush and Kerry on the cover.

"There's a sense that this election matters a lot in terms of how the world will look over the next four years, and beyond," says Andreas. "The feeling is strong enough that many people almost feel they should have a say. A Dutch paper, Information, ran a column this week saying, 'All of us in the world' should be able to vote in this election as the past four years have affected all of us, and the next four will as well."

Amelia Newcomb
Deputy world editor

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