Corridors of Power: Sarko on the Record, Khalilzad for President, and More

Corridors of Power: Sarko on the Record, Khalilzad for President, and More

SARKO ON THE RECORD -- Eat your heart out, President Bush. Around 600 media types from 40 countries attended French President Nicolas Sarkozy's press conference last week. That's more than twice as many as a normal White House presidential press conference. Predictably, the real news was swamped by coverage of what Sarko had to say about his relationship with Italian girlfriend Carla Bruni. But Sarkozy was living up to his campaign promise to change France. He talked of making the three national television channels commercial free, financing them by raising taxes on independent channels and mobile phones, and by taxing the Internet.

He also wants to put mechanisms in place to protect French companies from being bought up by international corporations and acquisitive petrodollar-rich states. "France will make a political and strategic decision to protect its companies, and give them the means to defend themselves and to develop," Sarkozy declared. He vowed that French forces would remain in Afghanistan "where we are fighting the barbarians." He also announced that he had appointed two Nobel Prize winning economists, the Indian Amartya Sen and the American Joseph Stiglitz, to examine the role that quality-of-life plays in economic performance.

His openness about his relationship with Carla Bruni was also a significant change in the way French presidents typically handle their personal lives in the Élysée Palace. President Francois Mitterrand, for example, had a mistress and an illegitimate daughter, but few knew it, and the media never mentioned it.

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