Admittedly, we don’t speak French. But even through a translator, it was clear French president Nicolas Sarkozy was more than a little annoyed by CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour‘s question during a joint presser with Sen. Barack Obama yesterday.
In France the presence of Barack Obama and what he’s done in terms of breaking the barriers in the United States, has sort of made a resurgent black consciousness movement here — the black people in France are very proud and very hopeful for their future. They also live, many of them, in poor situations and you know you’ve had your own riots here and protests and disturbances. At one point when we were covering those riots, when you were interior minister, you called the rioters “scum.” And I’m wondering whether you feel today, when you stand next to somebody you clearly admire so much and who has broken so many barriers, that you regret that term or that you wish you hadn’t said it?
As murmuring could be heard throughout the room, Sarkozy paused and smiled slightly as he answered:
I congratulate you madame on your exceptional knowledge of French political life and your contribution to friendship between people, but precisely things have changed because there were certain things that weren’t right. I’m very pleased, madame, that you’re speaking in front of Barack about a situation that existed before I was president and I believe that you were worried, madame, in 2005 about what was happening in the United States. You know what it’s like and if you’ve had the confrontations that I’ve had to manage, I’d like you to appreciate that not one single shot was fired by the police in France.
To top off the sarcasm, he finished with an invite of sorts:
I don’t know if it was to please me, but your question really pleased me. Do come back, thank you.
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