Was Sarkozy in Washington?

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The historic visit of Nicolas Sarkozy to the nation's capital, to address both houses of Congress and seal a new rapprochement ("bringing together") of France and the United States, caused no undue excitement in the New York Times and Washington Post. The Times's front page had market jitters,  Pat Robertson's endorsement of  Giuliani,  Musharraf, protections for gay workers, and "Ohio Goes After Charter Schools That Are Failing". The new Franco-American alliance made page 10. Not even page 3, opposite the news summary, you say? No, that was "Romanian Premier Tries to Calm Italy After a Killing".



In the Post it made page 2--albeit as an amuse-gueule ("tasty morsel") all about how Sarkozy is not Lafayette and Bush is not Washington:

Sarkozy picked up the theme yesterday. "What could possibly have brought together two men who were so different in terms of age and of origin, Lafayette and George Washington? It is their common values," he declared. Sarkozy was so eager to please his hosts that he neglected to mention a word about Iraq.



From there, the neo-Lafayette left for Mount Vernon, where the stage for the press conference was as cold as winter at Valley Forge. Fortunately, the two leaders, unlike Washington and Lafayette, had propane heaters to keep them warm as they traded platitudes.



"We want a democratic Iraq," Sarkozy said.



"Freedom's happenin' in Iraq," Bush said.



Bush liked what he heard from the new French leader. "I have a partner in peace," he concluded as he cut the press conference short.



Departing in Marine One, Bush and his entourage spewed dust and fumes on Sarkozy and his entourage as they took off.



It was a 21st-century end to an 18th-century day.

History in the making.

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Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

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