The Official End of French Bashing?

Tony Snow : The President and Mrs. Bush are going to welcome French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Mrs. Sarkozy to the home of former President George H.W. Bush, for a private lunch on August 11th — that will be Saturday. This is a result of an invitation extended during the G8 by Mrs. Bush to Mrs. Sarkozy.
Obviously, the U.S. and France share a deep historic friendship. They’ve worked together since the founding of the nation to protect freedom around the world. And the President looks forward to visiting with President Sarkozy during their time in Kennebunkport and also, obviously, looks forward to working with him in the months and years ahead. (…)

Question: Tony, what is the President hoping to get out of this meeting with President Sarkozy? And why is he using Walker’s Point, now the second time in just a matter of six weeks?

Press Secretary, Tony Snow: Well, the First Lady extended the invitation at the G8. You’ve got a new French President who is — number one, he’s vacationing — he’s been vacationing in New Hampshire; he’s in the neighborhood. Number two, it looks like we’re on the verge of a new era of relations with the French, which is a good thing, and the President believes in building personal relationships with other heads of state. This fits into that pattern. It’s coming over — I’m sure they’ll talk about some international matters, but this is not a summit, this is not something with an agenda. The agenda is, come by and let’s visit. And the main reason you’re at Walker’s Point is the First Lady extended the invitation and the French President is in the neighborhood.

Question: So did the Sarkozys already have plans to come to the United States to vacation?
Press Secretary, Tony Snow: I have not asked them or the French government, so I don’t know.

Question: Well, is that why Mrs. Bush extended the invitation, because there were going to be in the neighborhood?
Press Secretary, Tony Snow: I honestly don’t know, Ann.

Question: What do you think of a foreign head of state making his first vacation in the United States?
Press Secretary, Tony Snow: Well, he certainly picked a good country to visit, didn’t he? (Laughter.)

Source: Press Briefing by Tony Snow, August 8, 2007

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