On Tough EU Trip, French Oddly Likeable

Obama has headaches on both sides of Atlantic
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 4, 2009 4:46 PM CDT
President Barack Obama walks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy for their joint news conference at the Palais Roham in Strasbourg, France.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – How's Obama doing on his first big diplomatic foray? Americans are relieved to have a president who doesn't embarrass us—no more spontaneous massages for German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But Europe is positively swooning. Perhaps EU leaders are secretly loving President Obama's "willingness to be a good loser," Gail Collins writes in the New York Times. After all, he fell short of his prime goal, drawing France and Germany into a new global stimulus plan.

Obama did win friends by settling a dispute between President Nicolas Sarkozy of France and China’s Hu Jintao, but other accomplishments seem overstated. At least the French liked him, answering Collins' question of "who can be more irritating, the Republicans or the French." Back home, Republicans in Congress are trying to trim taxes for the rich. "It’s no contest when you think about it. The French aren’t even in the ballpark."