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Obama, Sarkozy forge a new bond: the half-smoke

By Anne E. Kornblut
Iran, shmiran. The highlight of Tuesday's joint news conference with President Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy was a bit of banter about the visiting leader's lunch.

"The fact that Nicolas went to Ben's Chili Bowl for lunch shows his discriminating palate," Obama told reporters in the East Room, referring to the U Street diner - one of Obama's favorites - where Sarkozy took his wife in the afternoon. "My understanding is he had a half-smoke. He was sampling the local wares. And we appreciate that very much."

Sarkozy, after introductory remarks on financial regulatory reform, Afghanistan, Iran sanctions and even the new U.S. health care overhaul, said that he had a "good friend in Washington who recommended that restaurant." And he joked that he had seen Obama's picture on the wall, adding that in all likelihood, "When you go back to that restaurant, you will see a photograph of the French president."

Clearly, he relished the experience. No word on whether the couple ate french fries.

By Anne E. Kornblut  |  March 30, 2010; 5:54 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Sarkozy's bad luck that he stumbled to victory in the middle of the Saul Alenski run. First pro American French leader in our life time reduced to a lap dog.It's just sad. The story isn't who had what for lunch. The story is Obama has decided to throw Israel to the wolves by letting Iran achieve nuclear weapons. There will be no relevant sanctions or military action(s) because it is not in China's, Putan's, or Obama's interest to stop it. Live long enough you get to relive history if your not smart enough to change it. This hedge by the Alenski's currently holding power will be the Khmer Rouge revisited. I just don't want any Sargent Schultz defense after Jerusalem is in ashes. Don't know because you didn't want to know. I forget what the left's reasoning was after the Khmer Rouge made their bloody slaughter. Veit Nam was over and that was enough for them. Bunch of slopes got murdered, who cares it was none of our business. This Easter, I'm wonder if Obama will be able to bow low enough to keep the wolves off of our threshold.

Posted by: ttoedpete | April 5, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

How do you idiots know Sarkozy didn't ask for a hot dog?? And to many MANY people Ben's is a historic D.C. restaurant. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean many people don't. Maybe Sarkozy didn't WANT Kinkead's..gimme a break.

Posted by: ksanders32 | March 31, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

The more allies we have the safer our world becomes.

Posted by: RMB2 | March 30, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

@ libertyatstake

I just love ignorant people like you, they are a disgrace to mankind yet have no trouble being just that.

You should learn a bit about French military warfare, it is one of the most glorious over the last two thousands years, i.e. for people who have a clue, rather military experts than bigoted ignoramuses.

Posted by: Sensi23 | March 30, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Throw your hands in the air!
French military salute!
Throw your hands in the air!
French military salute!
Throw your hands in the air!
French military salute!

Now onto a real news story...who is Norman Leboon?
[For a light hearted take on our present peril]

Posted by: libertyatstake | March 30, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Fun, but I hope the President isn't recommending the Big Slice for tonight's fare.

Posted by: mhammel22 | March 30, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe we should all just watch Fox news? Maybe you'd like to take a ride through the hundreds of george w. bush puff pieces the washington post has written in the past? It is nice to see all of our presidents walking on the ground, don't you think?

Posted by: benkertp | March 30, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

ah yes, yet another "Puff Piece" brought to you by the Barack Obama fan club...with "news" like this, who needs MSNBC?

Posted by: YELLC | March 30, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Why can't you all just enjoy a simple and fun piece of journalism? This is not about politics, this is about Sarkozy and family appreciating and enjoying - can't you see the smiles on their faces? - another country's, or city's, culture. Sure Ben's may not be a gourmet meal, but don't you think the French President has had his share of those before. He CHOSE to go their on his own volition. President Obama is a nice guy, regardless of his, or your, political views. And what's this about financial reform? Give me a break - we're talking half smokes here.

Posted by: benkertp | March 30, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

If you can't say anything positive about the President or about anything else for that matter because you are too jaded and cynical...why post anything at all? Your words are posers.

Posted by: vintel7 | March 30, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Obama thinks that Ben's is anything short of disgusting slop tells me that he does NOT have a discriminating palate.

This is awful food. I am embarrassed that this was the best recommendation we could provide to a visiting head of state.

At least W. could have sent him to a nice BBQ joint, instead of the low-grade dog food they serve at Ben's.

This is the President of FRANCE, the food capital of the world, and we tell him to sample Ben's.

Ugh. SMH.

Posted by: etpietro | March 30, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Were you as put off by Obama's constant reference to Pres. Sarkozy by his first person name? Interesting that Sarkozy didn't reciprocate that sense of familiarity and "trust" such deference suggested...

President Sarkozy, in our country, there is one symbol that represents the freedom and liberty of our unique republic, which you have given to us as a symbolic gift recognizing that accomplishment and for future friendship between us nations, the Statue of Liberty. She stands alone in our harbor since then not harmed by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and never being threatened throughout all these years except for having to undergo a "make-over" for wear & tear. Unlike the trust that you have declared in President Obama in how he promised transparency, mutual cooperation and compromise with you and other international representatives, he has managed to win a major social legislation at the expense of this elusive thing you refer to as "trust". And most importantly, he has managed to put the shackles back on Ms. Liberty's ankles after it has been laid bare near her feet for these many past decades.

But I digress...Let's be transparent about why you are here having to dole out compliments to someone who threatenes the very fabric of our society. The EU, because of Greece, need the aid and help of the US to forge ahead in implementing a financial reform and thereby possibly helping to stabilize the looming danger and possibly in the long run, share in the risks, should they occur again. BUT that is not the ultimate goal. Isn't it possible to imagine a scenario where the two wounded animals need to "trust and cooperate" with each other to have a fighting chance against the crouching tiger that China and Asia represents? What is your gamble, that they will go along with your plan? All they have to say is "no" and the firms will all go there to open their business to avoid the regulations you hope to enact with US.

You see, President Sarkozy, the EU, US and China can be seen as unique institutions wanting the freedom to pursue their own path to success, whatever that means to each party in question. And by regulating or restricting that freedom by two parties only helps the third party to use that as further leverage and opportunity...

I stand with the German Chancellor on this point.

Posted by: american17 | March 30, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Sarkozy can't possibly have enjoyed that meal. The things people will do to ingratiate themselves to their hosts.. :)

Posted by: aircardinal | March 30, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

When I read Obama and half-Smoke.
I thought this was a article about Obama's cocaine & alcohol abuse.

Posted by: dashriprock | March 30, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

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