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Bush and Sarkozy dig into politics over lunch

Published August 12, 2007


KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine - President Bush, using all the trappings of his family's oceanfront estate, worked on a cozier relationship with France and its new president Saturday.

Bush welcomed Nicolas Sarkozy, the French leader known for his fast-paced style who may also be this White House's last true chance for better relations between the two nations.

"He's bringing a good brain, good vision and goodwill," Bush said from his parents' compound, which juts out like a finger pointing into the Atlantic Ocean.

Bush called Sarkozy a friend who could be counted on to speak frankly.

"We have had good disagreements - on Iraq, in particular," Bush acknowledged about the frayed U.S.-France partnership. "But I've never allowed disagreements to not find other ways to work together."

Sarkozy, visiting Bush for the first time as France's president, came with plenty of his own warm words. He focused on more than two centuries of united history between the countries, thanking the United States for sacrificing lives to help defend France in time of war.

"That is a lot more important than Mr. Sarkozy or Mr. Bush," he said. "Because after Mr. Bush, and after Mr. Sarkozy, we'll continue to be friends of the Americans."

All the effusiveness was intended to be a message to the world that diplomatic life is on the upswing for the United States and France. It comes in contrast to the bitter relationship with former French president Jacques Chirac, who clashed with Bush most notably over Iraq.

[Last modified August 12, 2007, 01:41:28]

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