American Morning

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April 3rd, 2009
08:00 AM ET

U.S. and France: A love-hate story

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are welcomed by French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and French President Nicolas Sarkozy

French-American relations hit a very low point in 2003 when the French refused to support the American invasion of Iraq. Things got so bad that many Americans actually got behind a movement to CHANGE the name “French Fries” to “Freedom Fries”. Read the story.  Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC) actually held a press conference to pronounce that the House cafeteria would “rename the ‘French Fry’ to the ‘Freedom Fry’ because of our disappointment with the French.”

Ouch!

Since then the French elected a new president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who embraced America so much he actually vacationed in the USA in the summer of 2007. Sarkozy was invited to speak before a joint session of Congress where he embraced “the American Dream.” Read his speech.

So, what’s with President Sarkozy now? Headlines on the eve of the G-20 Summit said that he threatened to stay away unless the United States got tough with financial regulation.

We asked a group of voters what they thought of Sarkozy’s threat. Jen Roberts of San Francisco said “it’s not the best way for Sarkozy to be approaching on the situation to threaten to walk out.” Selam Mesghina, also from California, said it was “a bit immature on his part.” But Roberts, Mesghina, and most others we interviewed saw Sarkozy’s statement as just a tactical move to advance the cause of France. No one had a bad word to say about the French people. The most recent Gallup Poll on the subject bears out improved feelings between the two peoples. See the results.

Some analysts think Sarkozy’s tough stance toward America was intended for the voters back home. Many French have “started to believe that (he) was promising too much and didn’t get the things done,” says French TV’s Benoit Sarat. Sarkozy’s approval rating on the economy has dipped to roughly 40%, and so standing tall among world leaders might improve his image.

Sarkozy did show up in London for the summit. He didn’t exactly get what he demanded, a powerful financial “global regulator,” but he did get something to take to the voters back home: more oversight over some of the hedge funds that were a part of the world economic collapse.

What do you think of current relations between France and the U.S.?


Filed under: France
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Tina DeFreitas

    I'm an American living in Canada
    When President Obama speaks the world is listening he speaks intellegently and from his heart,he brings integrity back to America,he is what we need back in the White House,the First lady Michelle and our President bring hope to the young people, to be able to dream,they are the the ordinary couple that people can relate to,I love listening to him and I'm so proud to be an American,President Obama has a very hard task ahead of him,but with time he will bring back the country the respect that once we had around the world.
    God Bless America and his family.
    Thank you Mr. President from a very proud American

    April 3, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  2. Marie-Anne

    I am Canadian and I am grateful to be to President Obama's neighbour.He speaks form his heart and not of greed.I truly beleive he is God sent to the world and not just to a country.Every one in the world should feel blessed that he was elected to be the President of the United States.If anyone with heart,knowledge and and honesty is capable of making the world a difference,it is President Obama and may God bless and protect him,his family,his country and the rest of the world.Thank you Mr.President!

    April 3, 2009 at 9:49 am |
  3. ronald

    president obama all talk little or no substance it doesnt matter if the president is afro american male or female democrat or republican fortyfive million americans will still be without health insurance

    April 3, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  4. Eddie

    Has America become so intolerant or so fearful that it rejects a friend who doesn't say, "how high" when we say, "jump?"

    April 3, 2009 at 9:11 am |
  5. julia fairley

    I am very proud of the manner in which President Obama is representing our country. He is a stateman in every sense of the word. America's position in the world will be changed in great part due to our having elected a president who clearly demonstrates our desire to work with the world to resolve problems. In reviewing our own American history, we have faced numerous issues within our own country. Whenever we work together we advance solutions to our problems. Working through our differences is the "American way".

    April 3, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  6. Lee Pickens

    To Obama’s credit, he is trying. And thanks, France, for your gracious remembrance of America’s sacrifice in WW2. “Yes, America, we’ll hold your coat while you fight the terrorists—and oh, by the way, we’ll even accept one Gitmo prisoner!”

    April 3, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  7. chrystia Wilson

    America has a President they can now be proud of! The world sees; the intelligent, eloquent and inspiring leader we elected. He will unite the world. I am from Austin TZXZ the land that spawned W!

    April 3, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  8. Sylvia

    I have been a victim of the greed of Wall Street and like so many others, I have, not only lost thousands of dollars but my tranquility and security. President Obama is the right man at this particular time in History – his intelligence, his understanding, his total persona is raising up hope for the whole world. He receives an A+ from me!

    April 3, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  9. Patricia Armstrong:Jacksonville,Florida

    President Obama and wife has shown grace...He sound stuffy ,she looks great!!! I am personialy feeling great having to watch this event

    April 3, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  10. John

    I'm a lifelong Democrat, but I'm wishing i didn't vote for this spending crazy Obama. I really regret falling for the whole "change we need" bit. I guess change was bankrupting our future generations. I'm terrified for my children because of Obama's spending. This cap and trade carbon credit scheme of his will cost us dearly. I'm switching to libertarian, true democrats left and new democrats changed my party into a communist regime...

    April 3, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  11. Jacqueline

    We are so proud of Barack. Wow, a world leader finally!!! Please though Barack, take off that pin. We are not on a team. You do not want to separate us from everyone else. You may not be aware of the message of a simple pin but it is subliminal. Them vs. Us. It is leftover from Bush. Please please take it off and tell people why. We are one world, not a divided world. Come up with a global pin. But with all of this, right on Barack. We love and support you. You are doing what no one else can do. Thank you

    April 3, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  12. Kay Griffin

    President Obama wants to pull our troops out of Iraq. Well
    I say he's wrong. What about bringing those troops home &
    Sending new troops over there. I believe that once we pull
    Our troops out they are going to get revenge. They don't
    Want peace! My husband was a marine & one of my best
    Friends is in the army so I know what the family's are going
    Thru. Obama isn't doing a good job. He wants to support abortion
    & stand there & say he's a Christine!

    April 3, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  13. Michael

    People seem to foget that President Obama inherited a goverment that was already in a spiral from a president that refuse to believe that we were in a recesion, where people having been loosing their jobs, homes, retirement saving, where the price of one gallon of gas was nearly the same as the hourly wages. A past president who, if I am correct stated that he did not know that one gallon of gas was nearly or over $4!! And yet he continue to stress that we or rather this country was NOT IN A RECESION.!! I can tell you that I lost over 250,000 in the market leaving me with only $8000. before I woke up and sold what I had to have something left. GIVE president Obama a chance, it took Bush or rather the Bushes years to ruin this country and it will take years for president Obama years to fix what has been broken.

    April 3, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  14. JANIE

    A new era of responsibility, I agree he seems to be the right President at the right time to bring togetherness and healing, without the posturing of Arrogance from the United States flexing its muscle.

    April 3, 2009 at 8:32 am |
  15. Barbara Salsitz

    I think Pres. Obama is doing us proud. Not only are his intelligence and fine leadership, as well as his communication ability, showing superbly, but he is bringing out the best in others. He is the absolutely right person at the right time for the American people and the world!

    April 3, 2009 at 8:22 am |
  16. Hzobm

    It seems like President Obama is suffering from jet lag. He is speaking so slow. Maybe no telepromter effect.

    April 3, 2009 at 8:10 am |