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German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder

There's a Gerhard Schröder joke making the rounds in Germany that perfectly captures the hapless Chancellor's predicament. Schröder tries to console an unemployed architect, telling him, "If I weren't Chancellor, I'd be building houses." The irate architect shoots back: "If you weren't Chancellor, I'd be building houses, too."

Barely two months after he won re-election by a wafer-thin margin, Schröder's handling of the country's sputtering economy has made him the most unpopular leader in postwar Germany. People feel betrayed and lied to by Schröder, because during the election he promised no new taxes, yet now proposes to raise...

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