BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hillary Clinton raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe as secretary of state when she mispronounced her EU counterparts' names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe's.
"I have never understood multiparty democracy.
"It is hard enough with two parties to come to any resolution, and I say this very respectfully, because I feel the same way about our own democracy, which has been around a lot longer than European democracy."
The remark provoked much headshaking in the parliament of a bloc that likes to trace back its democratic tradition thousands of years to the days of classical Greece.
One working lunch later with EU leaders, Clinton raised more eyebrows when she referred to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who stood beside her, as "High Representative Solano."
She also dubbed European Commission External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner as "Benito."
Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering was effusive in his praise, saying that with the new administration, the United States and Europe once again "share the same values."
"What you said mostly could have been said by a European
," he told Clinton after she fielded questions ranging from climate change to energy security and aid to Africa and one on gay rights from a participant wearing an "I love Hillary" t-shirt.