News Media Around the World Put Spotlight on U.S. Presidential Election

Obama Vs. Romney Headshots Split - H 2012
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Obama Vs. Romney Headshots Split - H 2012

British coverage focuses on how tight the race for the White House has been as voters take to the polls.

LONDON –  As U.S. voters hit the polls for the presidential election, the news media in Britain and other big foreign markets on Tuesday put the spotlight on the showdown, with most outlets emphasizing that the race was "too close to call."

The BBC dispatched its main news anchor, Huw Edwards, off to the U.S. to lead its team of journalists in the coverage, which will include a live results show this evening in the U.K. as the voting comes to a climax and the results begin coming in.

The battle for the U.S. presidency between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney has gripped the British media, partly because the race is being billed as neck-and-neck.

The Sun, owned and published by News International, a division of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., scented a return to the White House for Obama, publishing a two-page spread Tuesday that included the headline "GoBama." The tabloid predicted an Obama win, even though Murdoch has in recent days and weeks via Twitter often signaled support for Romney.

Always a home to celebrity, The Sun also carried a story about showbiz names such as Jay Z, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan giving Obama a boost as the polls opened.

Meanwhile, German tabloid Bild featured a waving U.S. flag over the paper's logo on its web site Tuesday. As of late German afternoon, the lead story on the site focused on Romney. "How a Mormon president would change the world," it read.

Similarly, business newspaper Financial Times Deutschland featured several election stories at the top of its web site.

In Spain, all of the TV news shows on Tuesday led with the U.S. elections. And daily newspaper El Mundo posted the "five best videos of the campaign" on its home page. The selection included a little girl crying and saying she was "tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney" and Joss Whedon's satirical look at Clint Eastwood's empty chair conversation at the Republican convention.

In Italy, the U.S. election on many news sites played second fiddle to news of an electoral reform law that the Italian parliament voted on Tuesday.

Italian daily La Stampa highlighted that in the U.S., the candidates were "campaigning up to the last vote." It also ran a headline during the day that said: "Long lines and split electorate in USA."

La Repubblica, meanwhile, led with the headline: "Polls predict Obama victory, Republicans disagree." And Oggi highlighted: "USA elections: the Latino vote could be key."

Back in the U.K., Sun arch rival tabloid The Mirror, has a live, running election section on its site, with the left-leaning newspaper claiming Obama to be "just ahead and no more."

The Independent, the U.K. national newspaper which aims to maintain political neutrality, introduced its coverage early Tuesday with the headline "Obama scents victory but has he done enough?”

And The Times, another part of Murdoch's British newspaper empire, reflected on the emotional end to the campaigning as voting finally got under way with a picture of Obama's tears on the hustings.

The extensive coverage in The Telegraph, a traditionally right-leaning broadsheet, included a report about the wishlist from the U.K.'s political establishment following the winner being declared.

It pointed to the fact that British prime minister David Cameron might face more difficulty should Romney win following the pair's very public exchange of views on the eve of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Romney had expressed on US television that there were "disconcerting" signs about Britain's readiness to host the Games, just a day before the event was due to get underway.

It is also widely noted across the media that this presidential campaign is the most costly ever mounted by the candidates.

Georg Szalai contributed to this report.