Le Beau Sarko Vexes French

Tiny Casanova's antics create cult status as some deride his lack of decorum
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2007 1:20 PM CST
Le Beau Sarko Vexes French
Pope Benedict XVI and French President Nicolas Sarkozy exchange gifts during a private audience at the Vatican Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007. After meeting the pontiff, the French leader, on his first visit to the Vatican since taking office in May, will visit excavations under St. Peter's Basilica. In the...   (Associated Press)

He ain't your daddy's Jacques Chirac, and French president Nicolas Sarkozy's escapades have his countrymen both enthralled and concerned, reports the Guardian. His rollercoaster love life provides delicious gossip to a public that buys "I love Sarko" skivvies, and the tiny dynamo poses for intimate photo shoots and traipses around Disney World with supermodels in hand. But some see the antics as a ploy to divert attention from tough issues. 

The French press has typically avoided leaders' private sides—Francois Mitterand quietly kept a publicly funded mistress. But Sarko himself is the one courting the attention, pulling strings with media pals, and his youthful exuberance recalls JFK's Camelot era. "He's acting more like a celebrity than a president," one critic said. (Read more Nicolas Sarkozy stories.)

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