Global Politics

Obama Welcomes New French President to White House

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Credit: REUTERS

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at French President Francois Hollande as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington May 18, 2012. Hollande is in the United States to join other leaders of the major industrial economies and meet for a G8 Summit at Camp David this weekend to try to head off a full-blown financial crisis in Europe. REUTERS/Larry Downing (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)

Barack Obama welcomed the new French President, Francois Hollande, to the White House on Friday.

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(This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the audio to hear it.)

But, as French journalist Sylvain Courage reminds anchor Aaron Schachter, this is an election year and Obama "does not want to be associated too closely to Hollande, even if he finds him very sympathetic."

Courage says it would not be perceived well by American opinion: "when you say that you're a socialist here it has another meaning than the one we generally understand in France."

The two presidents do agree on the need to stimulate growth in the economy.

But they have disagreements on other issues, such as the timing of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Both issues will feature prominently in the summits President Obama is hosting this weekend, with the G8 at Camp David, then the NATO summit in Chicago.

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