Italian voters are not going to be overly impressed by television footage of Berlusconi with George Bush. The overriding issue in these elections is the economy. In 2001, Italians voted for Berlusconi because he promised they would be better off: actually they feel worse off.
The era of Berlusconi seen as a wizard who would solve the country's problems with a magic wand is over. But Berlusconi as the symbol of a social bloc, of interests and fears of the left that remain strong in this country, is not done.