Ahhh, cheeseburgers. Diplomacy's comfort food.
President Barack Obama's nod on Friday to visiting French President François Hollande's youthful fondness for the fast-food sandwich was not the first time that leaders from both countries have turned to cheeseburgers at a potentially tense moment.
The June 2004 Group of Eight Summit brought together President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac a little more than one year after the invasion of Iraq, which deeply divided the two allies. American lawmakers angry, that Paris had opposed the war, voted to rename "French fries" as "Freedom fries" in their cafeteria. Air Force One pointedly served "Freedom Toast." (Neither food is known as "French" in France).
At a joint press conference, Bush thanked Chirac for his warm welcome on a recent visit to France. "The food was superb, the hospitality warm." Chirac more than returned the favor: "I'd like to thank once again the President for the hospitality here. The President was kind enough to mention French cuisine, but I can tell you that over the last few days, this cuisine here in America was certainly on a par with French cuisine and I ask the President to convey my thanks to the chef."
"He particularly liked the cheeseburger he had yesterday," Bush said with a broad grin.
"It was excellent," Chirac said appreciatively, drawing laughter from assembled reporters.Read More »from Obama, Hollande talk turkey with cheeseburgers