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McCain Complains About Obama's Visit to "Aging Actress" France

July 26, 2008

Continuing to play the victim at the hands of the American media that love him, on Friday John McCain bashed both Barack Obama and the press. Appropriating Lance Armstrong's cancer awareness event in Columbus, McCain slammed the "throng of adoring fans" who greeted Obama in Paris. Sadly for McCain, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's glowing reception of Obama probably has less to do with media bias than with the insults McCain hurled at France in the run-up to the Iraq war.
As President Bush prepared to pull the trigger on the Iraq war in February 2003, John McCain was at the forefront of those browbeating France for its refusal to back the U.S. at the United Nations. On February 10, 2003, McCain declared on MSNBC's Hardball:

"Look, I don't mean to try to be snide, but the Lord said the poor will always be with us. The French will always be with us, too."

Eights days later, Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Lateline program highlighted McCain's antipathy towards France:

Here's how influential Senator John McCain sees the French.
JOHN MCCAIN, REPUBLICAN SENATOR: They remind me of an aging movie actress in the 1940s who is still trying to dine out on her looks but doesn't have the face for it.

Five years later in March 2008, presidential candidate McCain traveled to France where he met with Sarkozy. Despite the friendly welcome McCain received in Paris, he couldn't conceal his true feelings regarding his French hosts. In essence, McCain implied, relations with the United States would improve solely due to the deference to the U.S. properly restored by President Sarkozy:

"I think relations with France will continue to improve no matter who is president of the United States because this president is committed to greater cooperation and values our friendship."

McCain's cold shoulder towards France may have something to do with what the Washington Post described as the "royal treatment" Obama received in Paris yesterday. President Sarkozy referred to "my dear Barack Obama" and offered a less-than-neutral assessment of his nation's preference in the November U.S. election:

"If he is chosen, then France will be delighted. And if it's somebody else, then France will be the friend of the United States of America."

For his part, McCain could only fume and fidget back home. Hijacking Armstrong's cancer awareness event, McCain tried Friday to have some fun with Obama's excellent adventure in Europe, only to end up sounding like the candidate scorned:

"You have billed this event as a Presidential Town Hall, and I sincerely hope that the next president is here this evening. My opponent, of course, is traveling in Europe, and tomorrow his tour takes him to France. In a scene Lance would recognize, a throng of adoring fans awaits Senator Obama in Paris -- and that's just the American press."

As the Politico's Jonathan Martin noted, "he punctuated the punch line with something of an awkward laugh." Perhaps John McCain was remembering his previous jokes about France.


About

Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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