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Biography of Carla Bruni-Sarkozy irks White House

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-09-20

A biography of French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy scheduled for release on Friday is already stirring denials from Michelle Obama’s spokeswoman. The book claims that the US first lady called life at the White House “hell”.

A new unauthorised biography of the French first lady, “Carla and the Ambitious”, portrays Bruni-Sarkozy as disliking the atmosphere and constraints of life at the Elysée Palace.

But in Washington, Michelle Obama's spokeswoman was quick to reject the accuracy of a passage suggesting that Michelle Obama feels similarly about her role at the White House.

The book recounts that on the her March 2010 trip to the White House with her husband, President Nicholas Sarkozy, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy asked Michelle Obama if she was enjoying her life.

"Don't ask, it's hell, I can't stand it," was the US first lady’s response, according to the book.

Michelle Obama's spokeswoman, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, responded Thursday with a simple denial: "The first lady never said that.”

The French embassy in Washington also responded with a statement to the same effect.

"The words attributed to the first lady of the United States were never said", French embassy spokesman Emmanuel Lenain stated, adding that "Mrs. Sarkozy distances herself completely" from the content of the book.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs relayed the contents of Lenain's statement on his Twitter feed.

President Barack Obama and his wife hosted Sarkozy and Bruni at a private White House dinner after talks in Washington in March, an event meant to silence reports of tension between the two leaders.

The book’s authors, Yves Derai and Michael Darmon, are standing behind their reporting, saying Mrs. Obama’s words were only taken out of context.

“The interpretation has been taken out of context in the United States”, Derai said on Friday. “[Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy] were joking around. It was an informal, relaxed dinner.”

But Derai added that he would not reveal his sources.

“Carla and the Ambitious” is slated for release on Friday. "Carla – A Secret Life", a second unauthorised biography, is scheduled for release on Sept. 22.

Date created : 2010-09-17