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Exporting American-Style Democracy? Germans Get Their Own "Obama Girl"

BY Nancy Scola | Friday, September 25 2009

When both Barack and Michelle Obama said during the 2008 campaign that they wanted to leave politics changed in their wake, do you think this is what they had in mind?

As Germany prepares to go to the polls this Sunday, eyes are on a bit of voter-generated content. "Steini Girl" is a German version of the so-called Obama Girl's "I've Got a Crush on Obama" video. Replacing Obama as the object of removed affection is 53 year-old Social Democrat (and silver fox) Frank-Walter Steinmeier, contending for the position of chancellor. What's probably no coincidence at all is that, like in Obama's journey, Steinmeier's main political opponent is a woman. Playing the role of Hillary Clinton is, in this case, Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German political class is, by and large, utterly fascinated with how Barack Obama, an underdog candidate, used the Internet to propel himself to the White House. But Berlin's buttoned-down political culture has largely resisted embracing online politics. Establishment caution, though, was no impediment to the unnamed 22 year-old law student in the video. In the clip, she celebrates Steinmeir's masculinity while running her fingers through her hair in front of the Brandenburg Gate and rolling in the lawn of the Bundestag. "Steini Girl" told the German news organization Deutsche Welle that her goal "is to get people voting on Sunday, and maybe I'll get a few lucrative jobs out of it too." (Via the Huffington Post)