“I want to tell you that whenever a U.S. soldier dies anywhere in the world, I think of what the Americans and — the American army and Americans have done for us.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy
Toast to the American People
France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy, burst onto the Washington scene on Tuesday, clearly reveling in his first official visit to the White House and asking the United States to embrace him as a friend.
Mr. Sarkozy has met President Bush several times, so the brief visit was a vehicle for Mr. Bush to reward him for his friendship and for the French leader to introduce himself and his team to official Washington.
Setting aside the recent anger he has shown because of his divorce, Mr. Sarkozy backslapped and hugged his way through the day. He also proclaimed his determination to be a reliable partner of the United States.
“I come to Washington to bear a very simple message, a message that I bear on behalf of all Frenchmen,” he said in a toast at a formal White House dinner in his honor. “I want to reconquer the heart of America.”
In his toast, Mr. Bush welcomed his guest with the words “Bienvenue à la Maison-Blanche.”
Earlier in the day Mr. Sarkozy, calling France’s opposition to the American-led war in Iraq “a disagreement,” told the French American Business Council: “I never quite understood why we had to fight with the United States. I never quite got it.”
Mr. Sarkozy arrived in Washington without a spouse but with some of the women who reflect the diversity of his cabinet: Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, a former chairman of a Chicago-based law firm, Baker & McKenzie; Justice Minister Rachida Dati, who has a Moroccan father and an Algerian mother; and Rama Yade, his 31-year-old Senegalese-born subminister of foreign affairs and human rights, whom Mr. Sarkozy calls his “Condi Rice.” (snip)
Mr. Sarkozy awarded the Legion of Honor on Tuesday to seven World War II veterans, including Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii.
Source: Free Republic