From Australia to South Africa, from the Bosporus to northern France, American fans of Barack Obama have been staging rallies abroad at world-famous bridges to show support for the Democratic presidential candidate and his pledge to span old political divisions.
As Obama prepares his first overseas trip as a presidential candidate in the next week, with stops in the Middle East as well as Berlin, Paris and London, Democrats abroad are looking to him to refurbish the reputation of the United States after the tarnishing of the Iraq war and Guantanamo.
Europeans as well see him as the odds-on favorite over Republican rival John McCain. A poll in London's Guardian newspaper Monday showed Obama winning over 53 percent of the British public, compared with 11 percent for McCain, with 36 percent undecided. Similar polls in Germany and France also show overwhelming support for Obama.
The "Obama bridge" project was the brainchild of Meredith Wheeler, an American expatriate who's living in a small village in the south of France, but it's been embraced across Europe and well beyond. There have been at least nine bridge rallies in France -- from the Pont Neuf in Paris to an ultramodern viaduct at Millau in southern France -- and multiple events in Germany and Britain.
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