Preliminary reactions from abroad suggest that, far from appearing ridiculous and laughable, as an American audience naturally takes him to be, Ahmadinejad is winning plaudits for his performance in more than a few corners at home (at least in the Iranian establishment) and getting credit for enduring Bollinger’s supposedly “harsh” introduction.  Of course, the “harsh” introduction was a series of questions that were neither new nor terribly “harsh.”  In the end, it may not make that much difference, since Ahmadinejad is already quite popular in the Near East.