From Maureen Dowd today, on Carla Bruni: 

If an American first lady, or would-be first lady, described herself as a “tamer of men” and had a “man-eating” past filled with naked pictures, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, sultry prone CD covers, breaking up marriages, bragging that she believes in polygamy and polyandry rather than monogamy, and having a son with a married philosopher whose father she had had an affair with, it would take more than an appearance on “The View” to sweeten her image.

This is all true. At the same time, someone with Sarkozy's personality could never get elected president in America.

The lesson here would seem to be two-fold: First, Americans should be more accepting of First Ladies who do not fit into a traditional mold. And second, if you want to understand a potential commander-in-chief, examining his or her spouse is not a bad strategy. It is hard to see Barack Obama or John McCain marrying Carla Bruni, even if the political costs were nonexistent.

P.S. For an interesting take on Sarko, see Cristina Nehring in last month's Atlantic.

--Isaac Chotiner