Berlusconi Sticks by Obama Remarks

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has repeated a comment that U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is "young, handsome and also tanned," refusing to apologize for remarks he insisted are "flattering."

Berlusconi said Thursday during a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev that he was sure he would get along well with Obama because he is "giovane, bello, e anche abbronzato."

When pressed in Brussels on Friday why he was not willing to say he was sorry, Berlusconi said whoever asked the question should be "on a list" of imbeciles, adding: "Please, please. You should apologize to Italy."

Berlusconi, speaking after a meeting of EU leaders, said he was "the best friend of the United States in Europe."

Less than a month ago, Berlusconi roiled markets by saying world leaders were thinking about shutting down the financial system. He retracted his statement less than an hour later, saying he had heard a rumor on the radio.