PARIS — The French news media have made much of the fact that President Obama is spending the "minimum" one-on-one time with French President Nicolas Sarkozy during his weekend visit to Paris and Normandy.
"Can one stay in the capital of an allied country without saying hello to your neighbor?" the French daily Le Figaro said Saturday. (The Obama family is spending the weekend at the U.S. ambassador's residence on the chic Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, only a couple of hundred yards from the Elysee Palace -- France's equivalent of the White House.)
And Obama, who arrived Friday night, declined a personal or official meeting with Sarkozy before Saturday's D-day ceremony in Normandy. Instead, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner greeted the U.S. president at the airport.
Sarkozy insisted that there was no frustration over Obama's schedule.
"We're not here, watch in hand, saying, 'How much time did you spend with so-and-so?' " the French leader said Saturday at a news conference. "I understand that you should put the question, but frankly, do you think people are just waiting to see us hand in hand sitting here looking into one another's eyes? Of course not."