The French president has been nicknamed, “Sarko, l’Américain”, but he is not as “American” as a lot of people, either in France or in the U.S., would like to believe. A few weeks ago, he walked out on CBS “60 minutes”, after Leslie Stahl pressed him with questions about his now ex-wife, Cecilia. Something incomprehensible to many Americans
This incident may be another good illustration of a typical French-American cultural misunderstanding. Whereas in America, the private life of a politician is considered to reflect his or her ethical conduct, in France, it is considered mostly irrelevant or just worthy of the tabloid press. (see our post on this topic)
In this case, however, the walkout may be more the expression of a man with bad-temper than simple cultural misunderstanding. When you watch this other video, you see a very nervous Sarkozy who is clearly about to blow it. It is kind of scary.
Now of course, one must remember this was edited by CBS’s Leslie Stahl who was precisely trying to make the point of saying that Sarkozy has a temper and so we may suspect her of being slightly biased in her presentation.
But in any case, no one in France will deny that Sarkozy has a temper, and just to set the record straight, Stahl is wrong about something: no one but a few journalists call him “Sarko, l’Americain” in France.