The Other ‘Democrats’ on Democratic Unity

l francescorutelli The Other Democrats on Democratic UnityDENVER–How fractious is Italy’s political left?

Senator Francesco Rutelli, former candidate for prime minister in Italy, who is attending the Democratic National Convention, said Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton provided a valuable lesson in unity for him and his fellow Italian politicians.

“This is one of the important lessons America gives us,” said Rutelli, speaking to Italian reporters after a panel on transatlantic views on national security at the Sheraton.

(After yet another government collapse by a left-leaning Italian government in January, the raucous factions have tried to meld into a new “Democratic” Party. Its candidate, Walter Veltroni, who took to saying “yes we can” — in English — on the campaign trail, lost to conservative Silvio Berlusconi.)

Rutelli modeled his own failed bid to lead Italy on a Bill Clinton-like third-way platform, but he also lost to Berlusconi (who hired Mark Penn as a pollster.) The Italian reporters asked him for his impressions of Hillary Clinton’s speech last night, and whether he thought she had made a strong enough enough case for Barack Obama.

“She was great,” he said. “Really great.”

“I spoke with many Clintonites on the sidelines, and everyone felt she was very sincere. With Hillary speaking yesterday, and Bill speaking tonight, and the roll call vote will give an emotional outlet to her supporters.”

The vote would help the Clinton supporters move on “psychologically,” he said.