Two socialist peas in a pod.Hold the Freedom Fries. The new French President-elect François Hollande wants the world to know that he speaks English—better than proudly pro-American Nicolas Sarkozy—and isn't out to "make things difficult for Barack Obama" on issues like Afghanistan.
"Yes, I speak English, more fluently than the former president. But a French president has to speak French!" Hollande told Slate.fr—in English— in a wide-ranging interview published one day after he beat Sarkozy in a runoff election.
The Socialist was to meet with Obama next week before two important international summits: a G8 gathering sure to focus on ways to pull the world economy out of its slump, and a NATO meeting to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan.
Hollande said he saw potential areas of agreement with Obama on economic issues and praised the American president for charting a different foreign-policy course than his predecessor.
C'est la vie.Hollande noted that Obama was locked in his own re-election fight, and said the outcome would be of "great importance for the world," but he did not take sides.
If Obama loses, Hollande will find himself working with Mitt Romney, who speaks fluent French, the result of time spent in France as a Mormon missionary decades ago.