For US president Barack Obama, the earth's most powerful man, Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is the planet's most popular politician. He said that around other world leaders just before the start of the G20 summit, this Thursday, in London.
A video of the event shows Obama shaking hands with Lula and then telling Australia's prime minister Kevin Rudd that the Brazilian leader is his man, a guy he loves. Rudd himself reinforces the praise adding: "He is the most popular politician with a long mandate." Lula has been in power since January 1st, 2003.
"That's my man right here," Obama said while greeting Lula. "Love this guy. He's the most popular politician on earth. It's because of his good looks."
Lula is no leading man, but Obama seems to be acknowledging the Brazilian president's popularity among Brazilians, which has been hovering around 80%, (84% in February, 76% more recently).
This it the same Lula that just last week said that the global economic crisis "was fostered and boosted by irrational behavior of people that are white, blue-eyed, that before the crisis looked like they knew everything about economics. Now they have demonstrated that they don't know anything about economics."
And the Brazilian leader added "no black man or woman, no indigenous person, no poor person" can be held responsible.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also revealed part of a conversation he had with Lula during his recent trip to Brazil:
"I was in Brazil last week and I think President Lula will forgive me for saying this – he said to me, 'When I was leader of the trade unions, I blamed the government; when I became leader of the opposition, I blamed the government; when I became the government, I blamed Europe and America.' And he recognizes, as we do, that this is a global problem."