During President Obama’s European leg of the five-day, four-country trip abroad there seems to be a certain preoccupation by the European media if the American president is showing them enough love.
This morning in Caen France, the President was asked why he was not spending more time in France and specifically why the Obamas turned down a dinner invitation last night by the French power couple President Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni.
“What it means is that I have a very tough schedule,” the President laughed back, “I would love nothing more than to have a leisurely week in Paris, stroll down the Seine, take my wife out to a nice meal, have a picnic in Luxembourg gardens. Those days are over, for the moment.”
The President said that his main task, when on foreign trips, is to get business done.
As for an alleged Sarkozy snub, the President said that good friends needn't worry about “symbols, and the convention, and the protocols, “ and implied that sometimes a phone call is as good as quality time together.
“I know I can always pick up the phone and talk to him,” Mr. Obama said of President Sarkozy, “that it’s not necessary for me to spend huge amounts of time other than just getting business done when I’m here.”
In the future, the President said, he’ll have more time on his hands to engage in a little more local tourism.
“At some point I will be the ex-president and then you will find me in France I’m sure quite a bit, having fun.”
Just yesterday, at a press conference in Dresden Germany, President Obama was asked almost the very same thing – except from a German reporter -- who wondered why the US President wasn’t devoting more time to Germany.
“I think you guys are reading too much into my schedule,” Mr. Obama said yesterday to the German press, and repeated today to the French press.
- Sunlen Miller