WASHINGTON – Hillary Clinton went on a charm offensive with France’s foreign minister on Thursday, fondly recalling many trips to Paris and heaping praise on the country’s education system as a model for America.
Clinton has played up the Transatlantic relationship this week, choosing to meet first with the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and France in her second week as new U.S. secretary of state.
“I have been to France many times and I always have a good impression. I enjoy visiting in France,” the former first lady and New York senator said at a joint news conference with France’s Bernard Kouchner at the State Department.
She recalled meeting Kouchner’s wife “longer ago than Christine or I care to admit” and said she was impressed by the country’s preschool facilities, prompting her to return home to try and get the United States to follow France’s example.
“I not only have enjoyed my time in France but I have learned a lot from my visits. I look forward to returning,” she added. “As soon as possible,” gushed Kouchner, beaming at her side.
The Bush administration had a prickly relationship with France at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, to the extent that in congressional cafeteria the words “French fries” were changed to “Freedom fries” on menus.
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Photo Credit: Reuters/Hyungwon Kang (Clinton, Kouchner speak at the State Department)