Bush, Sarko Melt Chill in Maine

Leaders scarf burgers, begin to patch up old alliance
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2007 5:44 AM CDT
President Bush, left, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, second from left, ride aboard Fidelity III driven by former President George H. W. Bush, right, Aug. 11, 2007, Kennebunkport, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Praise from a vacationing French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a down-home welcome from President Bush to the family compound in Maine this weekend signaled a radical switch in the tense relations between the two nations. The leaders were relaxed and affable with one another as they boated, chatted and chomped on hotdogs and burgers at Kennebunkport.

"It's a great country," said the conservative French leader, in a bid to distance himself from the  previous administration. "I'm happy to be here. The United States is a close friend of  France."  Bush responded: "Beautiful. We've got to go eat a hamburger." The rapprochement had its limits: Bush declined to speak French. “I can barely speak English," he quipped.