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The Perks Of Frontrunner-dom

I was just at a talk that French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave in Washington this morning. (Quick reaction: shorter and more winning than you might have thought.) Afterward, Sarkozy apologized for only being able to take one question and explained that his trip was sheduled to the hilt--a speech to Congress, a meeting with Bush, etc. It's possible that I mis-heard, or that this was lost in translation somehow, but, if not, one of the items on his agenda struck me as interesting, at least for the purposes of this blog: A phone call with Hillary Clinton. It was the only call with a presidential candidate that he mentioned.

I'm not sure what such a call is designed to accomplish, but I guess the fact that it's happening while he's here suggests it's intended to serve some sort of symbolic purpose. (I assume the French government has a decent long-distance plan.)

I wonder: Would a tacit endorsement from Sarkozy help or hurt Hillary next fall? On the one hand, he seems to be every conservative's favorite French president. (Rudy even mentions him in speeches from time to time.) On the other hand, he is the president of France...

Update: This Times piece has Sarko trying to be even-handed, sort of:

He also distanced himself from the American presidential race, saying, “Regardless of who is president--male or female--we will work hand in hand together.”

--Noam Scheiber