Here is the difference between the US and France in a nutshell:
French President Francois Hollande has said he is experiencing a “difficult moment” in his private life, following claims of an affair with an actress.
But he refused to answer questions over the report, saying “private matters should be dealt with privately”.
Mr Hollande was speaking at his first news conference since the allegations in the magazine Closer last week.
He said he would clarify whether Valerie Trierweiler was still first lady before a February trip to the US.
Can you imagine if Bill Clinton had said that, as President? He did say something similar – while still denying the allegations of an affair with Gennifer Flowers – as a candidate but that was when he was barely a blip on the primary calendar in 1992.
The stereotype of a successful Frenchman having at least one mistress in a pied-a-terre overlooking the Seine is legendary, and mostly accepted by the French with good humour. After all, this is a nation with a long history of monarchs and nobility with legendary prowess at bedding women, most notably the exploits of Casanova.
For the French internationally, it’s a nightmare. Take another look at that last paragraph. For a nation whose language is still the language of diplomacy, to insult the wife of a leader of another powerful nation by bringing a mistress along will be viewed as tawdry and unseemly by the opposition, and to take a wife one is about to divorce, or so the story goes, is humiliating to the wife.
And of course, Hollande to go stag would be nothing more than a reminder of his “man in a suitcase” status.
To M. Hollande, I offer a solution: bring your daughter Flora with you. An adult woman to escort you would force the American (and local opposition) press to shut up about it during the trip, and Flora being your daughter with Ségolène Royal disentangles you from the current nebulous status.
And sir, may I further salute you on your taste in women…