CHAVEZ CAN’T HELP HIMSELF…. Hugo Chavez’s anti-American attitudes frequently led him to make an ass out of himself during Bush’s two terms. And while most of the world seems encouraged by the change in U.S. administrations, Chavez’s self-inflicted embarrassment continues.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday Barack Obama had the “stench” of his predecessor as U.S. president and was at risk of being killed if he tries to change the American “empire.” […]

Chavez said frayed ties with Washington were unlikely to improve despite the departure of Bush, who the Venezuelan leader has often called the “devil.”

“I hope I am wrong, but I believe Obama brings the same stench, to not say another word,” Chavez said at a political rally on a historic Venezuelan battlefield.

“If Obama as president of the United States does not obey the orders of the empire, they will kill him, like they killed Kennedy, like they killed Martin Luther King, or Lincoln, who freed the blacks and paid with his life.”

Most heads of state, even from rival nations, seem to be looking forward to improved relations with the United States in the coming years. Chavez, meanwhile, seems to believe his political survival is dependent on antagonizing an enemy, even if that means taking rhetorical shots at a popular incoming U.S. president.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.