At today’s press conference with French president François Hollande, a member of the French press asked President Obama whether France had replaced Great Britain as America’s closest ally.
President Obama chuckled and responded, “I have two daughters and they are both gorgeous and wonderful. I would never choose between them. And that's how I feel about my outstanding European partners. All of them are wonderful in their own ways."
A friend re-writes the White House's readout of President Obama's call today with President Hollande of France (the actual White House readout is at the end of this post) to include the "thoughts behind the president's call" with his French counterpart:
Democratic senator Mary Landrieu says she's embarrassed to go to places in Europe like France and Spain because some Americans do not have health insurance. Landrieu, who is up for reelection in 2014, represents the state of Louisiana.
Paris It wasn’t until I experienced swimming at a Parisian public pool that I understood certain aspects of the French mind. I’ve been visiting France occasionally for 30 years, have dated French men, and I read French well. But a few hours in the water has done more for my amateur anthropology than anything else.
Today is National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and who among us cannot celebrate that? Well, perhaps Mayor Bloomberg could find that the iconic sandwich contains too many calories, especially if it has been supercharged by the addition of some bacon. For the rest of us, it is interesting to know that the grilled cheese sandwich dates back to the Romans and that the French have their way of doing what they call a Croque Monsieur.
Walter Russell Mead writes that “Francois Hollande really can’t catch a break. One of the most memorable election promises he made was to raise marginal tax rates on the very rich—those making €1 million or more—to an eye-popping 75%. His government has, alas, finally decided to scrap that particular pledge.”
In downtown Algiers, on June 4, 1958, Charles de Gaulle expressed himself clearly, as usual. The conventional wisdom has it that he was “ambiguous,” even “duplicitous.” But what he said was that the page had to be turned in Algeria: Political and civil institutions had to be reformed; there could not be two classes of citizens. He said it clearly. He said there must be educational and career opportunities for all.
Yesterday the Bulgarian government announced the results of its investigation into the July 18, 2012 bus bombing that killed 5 Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver in the city of Burgas. At least two members of what appears to have been a three-man team belong to Hezbollah. More specifically, explained Bulgaria’s interior minister, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, they were part of Hezbollah’s “military wing”—a peculiar turn of phrase that hints at the political implications of the Bulgarian investigation, which may have a major impact on European Union foreign policy as well as Hezbollah’s ability to operate on the continent. And yet the most serious repercussions may be felt inside Lebanon, where Hezbollah is already feeling the pressure.
At the Presidential Palace in Paris, France this afternoon, Vice President Joe Biden complimented the French president, Francois Hollande, for sounding exactly like President Barack Obama on "climate change." The only difference, according to Biden? Hollande speaks French, and Obama speaks English.
Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy is moving to London to avoid France's high taxes, according to a report in the British Daily Mail. The move would mean that Sarkozy, along with his wife, Carla Bruni, would avoid France's top tax rate of 75 percent.
Perhaps the finest book ever written on the natural complementarity of the sexes and on marriage as the core building block of civil society was written by a Swiss who was then living in France. (The book is Emile, and the author is Jean-Jacques Rousseau.) So when