Sen. Barack Obama picks and chooses what he wants out on his public schedule, so it is interesting to see he is giving a boost to French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy.
Obama is meeting this afternoon with Sarkozy--a leading French presidential candidate from the ruling conservative party in that country’s 2007 balloting to replace President Jacques Chirac.
After the private meeting, Obama will host a ``brief press availability’’ and photo op at his suite in the Hart Senate Office Building. The minister and Obama just completed trips to Africa.
The German press service Deutsche Press-Agenteur reported that Sarkozy’s U.S. trip was getting him in trouble back home with Socialist Party rivals because his taxpayer funded travel ``could aid him in his future presidential campaign.’’ A party spokesman called for Chirac to put an end to his travels.
The AP reported that Sarkozy is a student of American campaigns and he may get some ideas in meetings with Obama and the popular Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), mulling a 2008 second run for the White House.
From the AP ``Sarkozy has borrowed many ideas from American politics. He is an avid capitalist, he favors affirmative action, and his "zero tolerance" policy about crime mimics that of former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. These positions make him one of the most divisive figures in French politics.''
Sarkozy met with UN Secretary General Kofi Anan and then with American Jewish leaders in New York before coming to Washington and the New York Sun reported that ``For the past three years, since the outbursts of anti-Semitism in France caught the attention of Americans, Mr. Chirac and his foreign ministers have touched base regularly with Jewish groups in New York, Washington, and Paris.
But the French political class has long portrayed the Jewish lobby as a malignant influence on American policy.
"I am a friend of America. I am a friend of Israel," Mr. Sarkozy, the head of the conservative party Union for a Popular Movement, said.’’