Bring back freedom fries!

French President Nicolas Sarkozy calls President Obama weak and inexperienced.

Published April 17, 2009 2:30PM (EDT)

Boy, those French are just never happy, are they? Here we elect a Democratic president -- and as we all know, Democrats drink wine instead of beer, eat croissants instead of good old-fashioned Wonder Bread, surrender at every opportunity and love European-style socialism -- and they're still not satisfied.

The New York Times reports today that, at a recent lunch, French President Nicolas Sarkozy had something bad to say about a fair number of other leaders (French allies, all), including President Obama:

In the world according to Sarko, President Obama is weak, inexperienced and badly briefed on climate change; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany did not comprehend her country’s economic problems and “had no other choice than to rally to my position”; and the leader of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, was “totally absent” from the recent Group of 20 meeting negotiations in London.

He took down two at once when he said José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain “may not be very clever, but I know people who were very clever and who did not make the second round of the presidential election” — a slam at Lionel Jospin, the former French Socialist leader.

Notably, while Sarkozy's office has denied the comments about Zapatero, it didn't deny any of the others, including the ones made about Obama. Sarkozy also reportedly said that Obama "is not always operating at a level of decision-making and efficiency... has a subtle mind, very intelligent and very charismatic. But he was elected two months ago and never ran a ministry in his life. He doesn’t have a position on a number of things.”

However, showing that he's clearly learned something from watching old Jerry Lewis movies -- something I understand is mandatory under French law -- Sarkozy did get in a good joke about Obama and his image, saying that when the president visits Normandy in June, "I am going to ask him to walk on the [English] Channel, and he’ll do it."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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