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Republican ambassador rooting for Obama

Outgoing US ambassador to Austria and Republican David Girard-diCarlo has raised eyebrows after letting slip he hopes Barack Obama goes the full distance and serves eight years as US president.

Speaking to journalists about his seven months in Austria, the Republican said: "I hope Obama will be a two-term president."

Girard-diCarlo, a lawyer, lobbyist, and former chairman of the 2000 Bush-Cheney election campaign, succeeded Susan McCaw in July last year. McCaw left Austria at the end of 2007. The post had been vacant for six months.

Girard-diCarlo only had warm words for Obama, who had been sworn in on Tuesday in Washington D.C., and his team, especially new Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Girard-diCarlo said the United States and the world have "high hopes" in what Obama can achieve and it would be vital the former senator for Illinois is successful.

Asked to give his view on the presidency of fellow Republican George W. Bush, Girard-diCarlo admitted that the US lost a lot of respect due to mistakes that have been made. But Girard-diCarlo added: "There is no manual on how to lead a powerful nation. Thatís why we make mistakes. But there is no country which learns faster."

Reflecting his short spell in Vienna, Girard-diCarlo said he had a "wonderful and educational time." The 66-year-old added he "will have to get used to the fact that the car wonít move when I enter at the back seat."

Girard-diCarlo stressed that leaving the post means to sacrifice things but also win back privacy.

Asked about his future plans, the outgoing ambassador smiled: "I donít know exactly to be honest, but my wife has told me I need to get a job."

Hundreds of Austrians and Democrats Abroad gathered at the "Badeschiff" located at Viennaís Danube Canal to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States of America on Tuesday.

Party guests were able to watch the ceremony on several screens. Later on, the crowds were entertained by live jazz and folk music.

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