NEW YORK, Sept 25: President Asif Ali Zardari’s enthusiastic and lavish praise for US vice-presidential candidate (Republican) Sarah Palin’s looks in front of television cameras has raised eyebrows here.
According to one report, on entering a room filled with several Pakistani officials on Wednesday afternoon, Ms Palin was immediately greeted by Information Minister Sherry Rehman.
“And how does one keep looking that good when one is that busy?,” Ms Rehman asked, drawing friendly laughter from the room when she complimented her. “Oh, thank you,” Ms Palin said.
When President Zardari entered the room seconds later, Ms Palin rose to shake hands, saying she was “honoured” to meet him.
Mr Zardari then called her “gorgeous” and said: “Now I know why the whole of America is crazy about you.”
“You are so nice,” Ms Palin said, smiling. “Thank you.”
A handler from Mr Zardari’s entourage then told the two politicians to keep shaking hands for the cameras. “If he’s insisting, I might hug,” said the president. Palin smiled politely.
Ms Palin, who is credited with igniting the lacklustre Republican presidential campaign after being picked by Senator John McCain as his running mate, did not answer questions from reporters at her first two appearances on Wednesday.
She joined Mr McCain in meetings with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, and then travelled downtown to meet Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
When a reporter at the Zardari meeting asked her about her day, she said: “It’s going great. These meetings are very informative and helpful, and a lot of good people sharing appreciation for America.”