'Europe' is officially a dirty word in America

Former US President Bill Clinton talks at Barack Obama's fundraising event in New York. Photo: 4 June 2012
Bill Clinton attacked Republican economic policies at Barack Obama's fundraiser

Maybe, good Americans go to Paris when they die, but no-one wants to follow Athens or Madrid down the road to perdition.

Europe is now officially a dirty word - on both sides of the American political divide.

For years, American conservatives have sneered at Europe's long holidays and taxpayer-funded welfare system.

Mitt Romney's stump speech until recently warned President Barack Obama wanted to turn America into a "European-style welfare state and entitlement society".

Newt Gingrich was blunter saying what was being created was "European socialist state".

Now Bill Clinton has attempted to turn the tables.

Speaking at a fund raiser alongside President Obama, he said: "Who would have ever thought that the Republicans who made a living for decades deriding 'old Europe' would embrace their economic policy? But that's what they've done."

How so? The former president made it pretty clear he was talking of the policies embraced by Mr Obama's chum David Cameron, along with many other European leaders.

Mr Clinton said of the Republicans: "Their economic policy is austerity and unemployment now, and then a long-term budget that will explode the debt when the economy recovers, so that interest rates will be so high nobody will be able to do anything."

If men are from Mars and women from Venus, are Republicans from Berlin and Democrats from Paris?