Francois Hollande, French President and rumored philanderer, attended Tuesday night's state dinner with the Obamas all by himself shortly after a very public scandal and break up with his first lady.
The French President and the Obamas enjoyed an impressive guest list, including actors Bradley Cooper, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mindy Kaling, as well as comedian Stephen Colbert. They also enjoyed entertainment from music legend Mary J. Blige, according to AP.
Of the scandal, Ben Jealous with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People spoke with admiration saying, "I think the French are way cooler than we are on a whole lot of fronts," he said, including "way better gossip."
The place was not only host to a line of celebrities, but also a large group of corporate leaders, including Merck & Co. Chief Executive Officer Ken Frazier, Viacom Inc. CEO Philippe Dauman and Elon Musk, co-founder of electric-car maker Tesla Motors, Inc.
Hollande is here for a number of reasons involved with repairing chilly relations between France and America, one of those being business and investment, according to Bloomberg.
He is flying to California today to attend a private lunch with the likes of Facebook, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, Google, Inc. Chairman Eric Schmidt, Elon Musk, and many other leaders of Technology and Internet Companies.
“This economic recovery in the United States is an opportunity for Europe, but it also is an example to be followed” when it comes to innovation, Hollande said at yesterday's news conference. “That is precisely the meaning of my visit to the Silicon Valley.”
The French economy is the fifth largest in the world and has really struggled over the past two years. Unemployment is at a 16-year high and France's gross domestic product grew only around 0.2 percent in 2013.
The European Commission is hopeful that growth will expand 0.9 percent this year, and will hopefully increase 1.7 percent in 2015.
Hollande said he wants to promote innovation as a way to spark the French economy.
“There comes a point where, after an ordeal, you have to be stronger than you were before the ordeal, before the crisis,” he said. “You need to be able to mobilize more strength, more energy.”
Obama stated during his ovation,
“We’ve stood together for our freedom for more than 200 years. And tonight I again want to pay a tribute to President Hollande for the principles of leadership and personal friendship and courage that he has shown on the world stage.”
Hopefully, as things move along here in the U.S. during Holland's visit, relations can continue to mend between these two world powers.
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