French president Nicolas Sarkozy, not one to back down, traded insults with a man who refused to shake hands at France's huge annual agricultural show on Saturday. Footage of the exchange received hundreds of thousands of hits on the Internet.
PARIS, Feb 24 (Reuters) - A video of French President
Nicolas Sarkozy telling a bystander to "get lost" has become a
hit on the Internet.
Sarkozy was filmed by a journalist from the daily Le
Parisien on a walkabout at the annual farm fair in Paris on
Sarkozy offered his hand to a man who said: "Don't touch me,
you are soiling me." In reply, Sarkozy said, without dropping
his smile: "Get lost, dumb ass."
The video was posted on Le Parisien's website
www.leparisien.fr.on and by midday on Sunday it had been seen by
more than 350,000 people, a spokeswoman for the newspaper said.
"It has created quite a controversy," she said. The video is
the first to come up when searching for Sarkozy on Dailymotion
Sarkozy's popularity ratings are in freefall and his
hands-on style of government is attracting growing criticism.
In November, Sarkozy had a heated exchange with fishermen
during protests against rising fuel costs. The president
challenged a fisherman who had insulted him.
"Come down and say that," Sarkozy, elected in May, was
quoted as saying. "Don't think that by insulting me you will
solve fishermen's problems."
After the incident, Sarkozy said he refused to have insults
hurled at him and would only accept a dialogue between
Francois Hollande, head of the Socialist party, said Sarkozy
was not behaving like a head of state and called on him to
improve his behaviour.
"One should not get into a brawl...One does not call down a
fisherman or a worker to explain what he said, one does not get
into a fight with someone who does not want to shake your hand,"
Hollande said on pay-TV channel Canal plus.
Sarkozy's spokesman, David Martinon, declined to comment on
the fair incident.
The number of people satisfied with the president fell 9
percentage points in a month to 38 percent, according to an Ifop
poll in the Sunday paper Le Journal du Dimanche.
Date created : 2008-02-25