Sarkozy May Consider Marriage, Again
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
For the first time since taking office last year, the president of France held a major press conference today and one major subject was the president's love life. Just a few months ago, President Nicolas Sarkozy announced he was getting divorced. Now, French papers speculate that he is close to announcing a new marriage to Carla Bruni. She is a supermodel turned singer.
And Eleanor Beardsley has been closely watching the French president's love life for us. Eleanor, what did he say?
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY: Well, today is a very titillating day in France, Steve. First of all, this press conference was - is two hours long. And he made this long, sweeping one-hour speech about France, the economy, environment, state of the world, you know. Six-hundred journalists there. But there's clearly only one thing on everyone's mind and that is, is he going to get married or not because a newspaper Sunday announced it. And didn't take long for the question to come up - question number two and here's what he says.
Unknown woman: (Speaking in French).
President NICOLAS SARKOZY (France): (Speaking in French).
(Soundbite of laughter)
Pres. SARKOZY: (Speaking in French).
(Soundbite of laughter)
INSKEEP: Eleanor, you want to translate that for us?
BEARDSLEY: That's right. So that's the journalist, the French journalist, she finally says, you know, public and private life are linked with you. Are you going to get married to Carla Bruni and when?
BEARDSLEY: And he paused as he gives grin and he says, well, listen, I've been thinking about that for a long time. How I do answer it? Of course, everybody laughed. And what he said Steve is he said, I don't want to lie. He said, I want to break with one of the customs of the past in this county, which is hypocrisy and lies.
He makes a direct or indirect reference to Francois Mitterrand who had this whole secret life with an illegitimate daughter. He never names him but everybody knew who he was talking about. And he said with Carla and I, we want to have an open life. We don't want to lie. We're not here to manipulate anything but we're not going to hide either.
He talks about his divorce. He goes back to last year. He said it was a very painful time for him. And then he said, you know, but the life of a president in love matters is just like everyone else. He said, I get up in the morning when I go to bed at night, just like you. And he said, Carla and I are going to assume our responsibility.
He talks about their trip to Egypt, which was every Christmas. He talks about them being spotted at Euro Disney. He says, if you think you're being manipulated, don't send your photographers. And then at the end, everyone's waiting, and he goes, but you guessed it. It's very serious. We're serious. But it's not a newspaper who's going to set my wedding date.
INSKEEP: Noticed that he ducked to that question about whether he's getting married or not.
BEARDSLEY: He ducked it but then he said this: but there's a good chance you'll hear about it when it's already done. So now, it's sort of clear that there is going to be a marriage and it's going to be maybe a secret thing and nobody's going to find out until it's done. But he made it clear that they're serious and they're together.
INSKEEP: Are there serious policy implications when the president of France is dating a supermodel?
BEARDSLEY: Well, as I said, you know, everyone followed over the holidays their trip to Egypt where they saw the pyramids, Jordan. They went to Petra. I mean, they're on the cover of every magazine, the newspaper, not so much here it's a lot of gossip but, apparently, it's causing some confusion abroad. For example, he's going to India this month. Now, the protocol officials there don't know that to do. There's much consternation because, you know, the first lady of a country has their own agenda, but what about the first girlfriend?
And then he is going to Saudi Arabia very shortly and he's not taking her there at all because, obviously, an unmarried couple cannot visit Saudi Arabia like that. So it is causing some problems abroad.
INSKEEP: Eleanor, thanks very much.
BEARDSLEY: Thank you, Steve.
INSKEEP: Eleanor Beardsley with the latest from Paris.
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