Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small

Sarkozy and Bruni, a French Love Controversy

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been publicly canoodling with model and singer Carla Bruni, scandalizing the French media. Scott Simon reflects on the personal and political implications of the relationship.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has been publicly canoodling with Carla Bruni, the model and singer. But, of course, the French don't bother about such things. The French press brims with bulletins about Carla and Sarkozy. My French family calls up to gossip about Carla and Sarkozy. Our French friends say they are appalled by Carla and Sarkozy. But the French don't really bother about such things.

If the French press seems obsessed with Carla and Sarkozy, it's just because it's been Americanized. Although some of us think that the American press has actually become Australianized. Of course, the French don't bother about such things.

Carla Bruni is a celebrated model, singer and songwriter. She's also had between rock stars, billionaires, prime ministers, film stars and famous philosophers, almost as rich a romantic history as the Taj Mahal. She once notably said, I am monogamous from time to time, but I prefer polygamy. As the French comedian Anne Roumanoff said the other night, if Sarkozy needs to fall asleep, he can just start counting her exes. Not that the French bother about such things.

The story of this public courtship - to use an old-fashioned word - bristles with personal and political complications and implications. Several recent presidents of France - in fact, as the French will tell you, most of them - not that they bother - have had multiple mistresses. Some presidents have had whole hidden families which the press didn't report and about which the public didn't seem to care. President Sarkozy gets a divorce, falls in love, wants to get married, and it's called a scandal. Not that the French care about such things.

The man, who has bluntly told his citizens work more to earn more and work hard like the Americans, British and Pols to revive his country's greatness, has taken three vacations with his lover in the past two months - creeps into Egypt, Jordan and Euro Disney. Anne Roumanoff said France has glorious chateau, hotels and cultural institutions, but, no, he takes her to Euro Disney. Three hours of standing in line for two minutes of pleasure. I'm sure he meant the rides - okay, nothing else. Americans can be so bootie(ph). The French don't bother about such things.

President Sarkozy contrasts his openness about his life with the secrecy of past French presidents. Makes it sound as if having a public love affair with a famously alluring woman is a service to democracy and at par with those 1,500 French troops who served in Afghanistan.

Okay, sergeant, what would it be? Fight the Taliban in Kandahar or ramp around with Carla Bruni?

Ha, ha. Mon capitan, you choose. We French don't bother about such things.

(Soundbite of song, "At Last the Secret is Out")

Ms. CARLA BRUNI (Singer/Songwriter; Model): (Singing) At last the secret is out, as it always must come in the end.

The delicious story is ripe to tell to the intimate friend.

Over the tea-cups, into the square…

SIMON: Carla Bruni, she had to take a deep breath. And this is NPR News.

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Simon SaysSimon Says NPR's Scott Simon Shares His Take On Events Large And Small