Lightning never strikes the same place twice—except in Italy, where controversial Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has once again referred to Barack Obama as "sun-tanned." Mama mia! As the Telegraph reports, the quasi-racist blunder (although clearly intentional) occured in a speech given shortly after Berlusconi returned from the United States:


"I bring you greetings from a person who is called...a person who is sun-tanned...Barack Obama," the smiling 72-year-old politician told a crowed of cheering supporters in Milan on Sunday. "You wouldn't believe it, but they go sunbathing at the beach together—his wife is also sun-tanned."

The backlash has been predictable. The top prize in creative retaliatory insult goes to a blogger at Michelle Obama Watch, who called the prime minister a "beautifully-suited garden gnome." The most comprehensive rejoinder comes from the National Post's Mary Vallis who asked, "Where is...Berlusconi's head at?" After ticking through Berlusconi's recent blunders, she suggests the answer shouldn't surprise anyone.

The scandal-prone Italian leader has always had a bit of an...er...odd presence on the international circuit, calling himself the Jesus Christ of politics and promising to marry one of his own female cabinet members. So let's just roll our eyes at the lovable rogue. After all, he makes for great headlines.

Notably, Berlusconi's latest remark comes after Michelle Obama openly rebuffed his attempt at a hug at last week's G-20 Conference. The First Lady gladly embraced the French, Canadians, Germans and even Russians...but not Berlusconi: