President Sarkozy pays tribute to US heroes
8 November 2007, WASHINGTON - From Martin Luther King to Marilyn Monroe via Elvis Presley, President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday looked back reverently to the cultural icons that defined his generation's view of America.
8 November 2007
WASHINGTON - From Martin Luther King to Marilyn Monroe via Elvis Presley, President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday looked back reverently to the cultural icons that defined his generation's view of America.
In a speech to a joint session of Congress, France's most pro-US president in decades said it was Hollywood that sealed the deal for young French people in the years after World War II.
"My generation, without even coming to America, shared all of your dreams and our imaginations were fuelled by Hollywood," Sarkozy, 52, said to repeated standing ovations from rapt members of Congress.
John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Elvis Presley, Duke Ellington, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and the first astronauts on the Moon were all name-checked by the effusive president.
"What was most extraordinary for us was that through your literature, your cinema, your music it seemed to us that America always seemed to emerge ever greater and stronger from the adversity and challenges it faced," he said.
The greatest strength of the United States was its "moral" and "spiritual" fiber, Sarkozy said.
"And no-one expressed this better than a black pastor who asked just one thing of America, that she be true to the ideal in whose name he, the grandson of a slave, felt so deeply American.
"His name was Martin Luther King. He made America a universal role model."
French-US ties famously soured under Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who firmly opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
But the new president nicknamed "Sarko the American" is unabashedly determined to mend the divide and restore the old Franco-US alliance.
At a White House dinner on Tuesday, Sarkozy said he came with a simple message: "To reconquer the heart of America in a lasting fashion."
Judging by the rapturous reception given to his speech in Congress, Sarkozy is well on his way with his mission of conquest.
Subject: French news