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What does “Japan-lite problems” mean?

I found the word, ‘Obama-lite’ in the headline of the Time magazine article (March 17) , titled “Santo: “We’re Not Just An Obama-Lite.” The article quotes the following remark of Rick Santorum aired on a Missouri radio:

"If we keep winning and doing well and we keep winning the states were supposed to win and upsetting in states and do either very well..., we're going to win the nomination. I have no doubt about that whatsoever. We're the candidate that's energizing folks. We're the candidate that has the best chance of beating Barack Obama.... We're not just an Obama-lite."

As I am unfamiliar with the usage of suffix, -lite, I checked its meanings in dictionaries at hand;

Readers English Japanese dictionary defines -lite as; 1. the suffix used for fossils, minerals, explosives, products. 2.a believer of, or in a person.

www.yourdictionary defines it only as stone: used in the names of minerals, rocks, and fossils, e.g. chrysolite, cryolite. defines it simply as “used to form names of rocks and minerals Representing Ancient Greek λίθος (lithos, “stone”).

I don’t think Obama-lite has anything to do with fossils, stones and minerals, nor it does mean Obama-believer, because it’s silly if Santorum said “We're not just an Obama-believer.”

What does Obama-lite mean, and first of all, is “-ite” used here as a suffix to represent for what?

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marked as duplicate by FumbleFingers, aedia λ, Matt E. Эллен, kiamlaluno, Daniel Mar 19 '12 at 20:52

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Is this the same idea as when you asked about Japan-lite? – Matt E. Эллен Mar 18 '12 at 0:57
What @Matt said. The productive suffix -lite was perhaps overstretched a bit in Japan-lite, but it's the same basic principle. – FumbleFingers Mar 18 '12 at 1:05
@Yoichi Oishi: If you didn't get it from the other one, it's a fairly common device in recent years to append -lite to some well-known noun (in this case Obama), to make a new "word" that means something like a watered-down version of that noun. So, for example, a cheapish car with some luxury features might be called a Lexus-lite. It's usually used a bit disparagingly. Note that it's a "jokey" spelling of "light" - nothing to do with the "technical" suffixes you found in the dictionary. – FumbleFingers Mar 18 '12 at 1:10
...I also note Santorum Adviser Calls Mitt Romney 'Barack Obama Lite. Santorum is just claiming that unlike Romney, he's more than just a "lesser imitation of Obama". – FumbleFingers Mar 18 '12 at 1:16
@Matt Эллен 5: I totally forgot that I had posted a similar question –“What does Japan-lite probrem?” in August last year. A sign of senile amnesia!. I can close this question. But I was puzzled about Santorum’s statement, “We’re not just an Obama-lite” because it’s a matter of course for hard core or “right wing” Republicans like Santorum not to be a light-weighted Obama as I wrote in the above question. But if “Obama-lite” refers to Mitt Romney as FumbleFingers points out, it makes sense, and my question was resolved. – Yoichi Oishi Mar 18 '12 at 7:22

1 Answer 1

"Light beer" is low alcohol beer.

Miller Lite is the trademark of a low alcohol version of what passes for beer in parts of America.

eg. In software Something-lite means a reduced feature or low-performance version of a product.

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In this context, it is also a deniable reference to the fact that Mr. Obama counts as "Black" in US terms, which is meaningful to many supporters of Mr. Santorum, who counts as "White". – John Lawler Mar 18 '12 at 15:07
@JohnLawler - don't think so, perhaps a 'pale imitation of Obama'? US politics tends not to get that witty! – mgb Mar 18 '12 at 17:31
Wit is not le mot juste, I fear. Anyhow, like any good metaphor, it works for different people in different ways. – John Lawler Mar 18 '12 at 17:52

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