Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
My concierge tells me a lot of stories, but this one is a really good one. It’s about how to be mean while apparently making compliments. It’s, in short, about Parisian manners shown by an American president.
In France, nobody officially talks about Giulia, the newborn daughter of President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni. Except one person: Barack Obama. Today, at the G20 summit in Cannes, president Barack Obama was in a humorous and talkative mood, in spite of the Greek drama playing out in the background.
Do you know what he did while onstage with his counterpart Sarkozy? He congratulated the French President to the birth of his daughter and demonstrated that French hypocrisy doesn’t really concern him. During a press conference in front of the world media he made things very much official: “I want to congratulate Nicolas and Carla on the birth of Giulia.” And then he added: “I had informed Nicolas on the way in that I was confident Giulia inherited her mother’s looks, rather than her father’s, which I think is an excellent thing.”
These are two faux pas in one second. Can you believe it? Obama not only did the formal birth announcement to the world media which Nicolas Sarkozy wanted to escape, hoping to avoid the impression that he could again exploit his private life and sweet little Giulia for his election campaign.
Secondly, Obama announced it with a mixed compliment about, let’s say, the striking difference between the physical appearance of Sarkozy’s model wife and himself who generally and even still gets more credits for his political skills than for his Napoleon like beauty, which is not evident at all considering the fact that his poll ratings are meanwhile at a historical low point and that everybody doubts even his political abilities.
Sarkozy had no other choice than to grin and bear it. Laughing out loud? Not really, but looking so very much amused and smiling meekly. But the mean British press didn’t pass up the opportunity to make fun of our Petit Nicolas: “Today Mr Sarkozy, who is 5ft 5ins, was wearing his trademark stacked heels,” the British Daily Mail pointed out, “but they did nothing to hide the height difference between him and Mr Obama, who stands 6ft 2ins tall.”
Poor Nicolas. Such a great men, but always a bit short of esteem.