Because the United States is the world's dominant power, analysts say, foreigners can't afford to ignore American politics. White House decisions on military troop deployments, strategic arms, international trade, fiscal policy, immigration, environmental protection and a host of other issues reverberate around the world every day.
"It's not new to other countries that what we do matters," said John Hamilton, an expert on foreign news coverage and dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. "But some things have changed. One is that the United States is now perceived abroad in a very negative way compared to the way we were seen after the Second World War."
Many foreign reporters based in the United States have been covering the presidential campaign since the Iowa caucuses. The State Department's foreign press centers organized trips to Des Moines in January and then to New Hampshire and South Carolina for the subsequent primaries. Officials said attendance on these trips was about 25% higher than four years ago.
Jose Carreno, Washington correspondent for the Mexican newspaper El Universal, has gone to nearly every convention since 1984. He said some of his Latin American peers would be going to the conventions this year for the first time.