France's election was something of a can't-lose proposition for the Obama administration. On the one hand, the US isn't pleased to see the backside of Nicolas Sarkozy, an ally so steadfast that in France he was sometimes called "Sarko the American." Sarkozy, after all, was in lockstep with the US on Iran, Libya, and other foreign policy issues. Incoming president François Hollande isn't likely to be nearly as accommodating in that arena, the New York Times reports.
But on the other hand, Hollande is much more simpatico with Washington when it comes to economic policy. Sarkozy had backed Angela Merkel's austerity plan for the eurozone, despite the Obama team's warnings that such spending cuts could seriously harm growth. Hollande, by contrast, campaigned against austerity, and seems "naturally more palatable to the administration," said one Brookings Institute researcher. A senior administration official says Obama is eager to work with the new president. (Read more Francois Hollande stories.)