The two men arrive for their press conference. They seem quite relaxed, smiling. It's true they look like close friends. Maybe it's this kind of arrogance they share...
Obama starts speaking to sum up what he has just said to Sarkozy during their private conversation. Nothing really interesting. Sarkozy does the same. He looks excited, as usual, or rather more excited than usual.
Then, they agree to answer a few questions. More than a hundred American journalists are present, and about another hundred French reporters. However, from the beginning, it seems obvious they are not ready to listen to a lot of them, that they will be answering only a few questions.
And indeed, this is what happens : the press conference lasts only half an hour ! And only SIX questions are asked !
Was it really worth making such a fuss ? It looks like political communication, nothing else...
Platitudes... Platitudes... Platitudes...
If I remember well, a few months ago, John McCain used this word to speak about Obama's speeches : he was right !
I have never heard Obama answer directly questions asked by journalists, except during the Democratic primary debates, but here, I realise he is quite bad ! The contrast with Sarkozy is striking.
I am not a Sarkozy fan, but I recognize the French president is relaxed, dynamic, he knows how to joke with journalists, to be precise and relevant when he answers their questions, never reading any written notes. Obama is exactly the opposite : he is tense, a little shy, he always looks at the notes probably prepared by his advisers, and he never answers precisely. Everything is vague, uncertain, unsure : when a French journalist asks him to explain what his European policy wil consist in, he says : "Please, don't forget that I am not elected president".
Of course, it means : "I don't know. I don't know anything about Europe. Actually, in the Senate, I presided a sub-committee on European affairs, but I was not really interested, I did not do my job seriously, so now I am not able to answer this question !"
In fact, throughout the press conference, Obama seems to be ill-at-ease, lacks confidence: he looks like Sarkozy's "pupil", not at all like a future president.
It is finished !
Surprisingly, Obama seems to be in a hurry to leave. Maybe he is realizing that Sarkozy really makes him look like "a beginner" (in Paris, not in Berlin, this time !). Finally, he has nothing to gain from this, so why would he stay another couple of minutes ?
After only six questions, the two men declare that it is over, and Obama wants to know where the exit is, as if he wished to run away...
I will learn later in the evening that in fact his plane was due to leave for London only a little while after, as he was expected to have dinner in London with the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Nicolas Sarkozy says good bye to his (very) good friend. Obama's visit has lasted a little more than two hours : I suggest we should add it to the Guiness Book of World records...