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Italian premier has high praise for first lady's campaign speeches: 'Better than your tomatoes'

 (Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)
(Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was one of President Obama's biggest fans before he was his peer on the world stage. And as he toasted the president during a state dinner in his honor at the White House Tuesday, he teased that Obama had real competition as a political force from his own wife.

"When I listened to the speech of Michelle in Philadelphia, I think finally, finally ... I found someone of the same level of Barack Obama," he said, even citing the signature line of that convention speech from Michelle Obama: "When you go low, we go high."

Renzi noted that the first lady has taken great pride in her White House kitchen garden.

"Michelle, your tomatoes are great. But after the last weeks, let me be very frank -- your speeches are better than your tomatoes," he said. "Thank you so much as prime minister, but thank you so much as father of a young daughter."

In his toast of Renzi, President Obama noted that the work of great Italians was clear throughout American life -- mostly for good.

"Some days our presidential campaigns can seem like something out of Dante’s Inferno," he added.

 

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