By Helen Murphy
CARACAS, Sept 30 (Reuters)
With both presidents facing
tight re-election fights, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez gave a
surprise endorsement to Barack Obama on Sunday - and said the
U.S. leader no doubt felt the same.
"I hope this doesn't harm Obama, but if I was from the
United States, I'd vote for Obama," the socialist Chavez said of
a man he first reached out to in 2009 but to whom he has since
generally been insulting.
Chavez is running for a new six-year term against opposition
challenger Henrique Capriles, while Obama seeks re-election in
November against Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Venezuela's
election is next weekend.
"Obama is a good guy ... I think that if Obama was from
Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he'd vote for Chavez,"
the president told state TV, referring to a poor coastal town
known for the African roots of its population.