Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama received an effusive welcome Friday from French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative leader who has pointedly embraced the Bush administration but who declared at a news conference that his nation would be "delighted" if Obama were elected president and dropped plenty of hints that he would be as well.
The French president greeted Obama on the steps of the Elysee Palace, the presidential residence, as he would a visiting foreign leader. And while careful to note that the U.S. presidential election is a matter for Americans to decide, he gushed over the bond he said Europeans felt with Obama at a news conference after the two politicians met.
"Barack Obama's adventure is an adventure that rings true in the hearts and minds of the French and of Europeans," Sarkozy said.
Obama's five-hour visit to France, where his only meeting was with Sarkozy, followed an outdoor rally in Berlin a day earlier that drew more than 200,000 to hear Obama deliver a call for strengthened commitments to the U.S.-European alliance. In Germany, the arrival and departure of his plane was covered live on television.