Thursday, September 16, 2010

Did Michelle Obama really say 'it's hell' to be First Lady?

The White House is denying a report published in yesterday's Daily Mail alleging that Michelle Obama told France's First lady, Carla Bruni, [last March] that being America’s First Lady is ‘hell’.

The Daily Mail on Wednesday reported that Bruni had revealed to the authors of a new book, entitled Carla and the Ambitious, that Mrs Obama, when asked about her position as the U.S. president’s wife, replied "Don’t ask! It’s hell. I can’t stand it!" The Daily Mail noted that "the book was written by journalists Michael Darmon and Yves Derai, in what they claim is a collaboration with Miss Bruni."

The White House, however, went into damage-control mode on Thursday and vehemently denied the allegation. [White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, posted the following link from CBS News on his twitter account]:
"The First Lady never said that," said a spokesperson for First Lady Michelle, Katie McCormick-Lelyveld. French Embassy spokesman Emmanuel Lenain also called the claim false."Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy distances herself completely from the content of the book 'Carla and the Ambitious,' which was not authorized and the authors alone are responsible for its contents," Lenain, spokesman at the French embassy in Washington DC, said. "The words attributed to the First Lady of the United States were never said."
However, various news outlets previously reported [watch the video at Videocrux] that the book was indeed authorized by Carla Bruni and that the French First Lady gave several hours of interviews with the authors, Michael Darmon and Yves Derai, in an effort to counter a recently published book critical of her, entitled Carla Bruni, Une vie Secrète, written by Besma Lahouri.

Similarly, the Independent - UK reported as follows:
A much-awaited "unauthorized" biography [Une vie Secrète], of the French first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, published yesterday, paints a scathing picture of a vain and selfish woman who neglects her official and charitable work.

But the Elysée Palace has not allowed the book's author to have the field to herself. Having failed in a bid to block its publication, Ms Bruni's supporters are reported to have encouraged the writing of a rival biography [Carla and the Ambitious] that is to be published tomorrow – and which is said to paint a far more positive picture of the supermodel and pop singer.
What's more, Carla Bruni, in the past, has expressed admiration for the authors, Michael Darmon and Yves Derai, and their works:

The following is a Google translation of an article written in French in 2009 - [excerpt] [The original article in French is here]:
Carla Bruni would she hold a grudge against Rachida Dati?

The Point, on newsstands today, reports that Carla Bruni has long complimented Michael Darmon on his latest book, written with Yves Derai, Belle Amie..., a book of more acidic Rachida Dati ! Under the bemused glances of several witnesses, including her husband, who looked visibly embarrassed, Le Point magazine reported that Carla had said: "Congratulations on your book I read it all night, I learned many things, I am much amused ... "
The First Post asserted that the French First Lady helped prepare the book, 'Carla and the Ambitious':
Le Parisien reports that Besma Lahouri, who two years ago wrote a well-received biography of the former French football team captain Zinedine Zidane, has been researching a book on Bruni, the wife of French president Nicolas Sarkozy - and it sounds like a classic tell-all. The book will cover Bruni's youth, her friends and lovers, her relationships with her doctors and her modeling career. "Everything is scrutinized," according to Le Parisien...

A spokesman for the book's publisher, Flammarion, says lawyers have seen the manuscript and they were ready for any legal action from the Elysee Palace.

But there are signs Bruni has more than just lawyers on her side. According to Marianne magazine, she has helped two other writers, Yves Derai and Michaël Darmon, prepare a more sympathetic biography, which is also expected to be published during September.
Also from Marianne - Please note, the following article is also a Google translation, hence it may be a bit difficult to comprehend, nevertheless, here's an excerpt:
What can a person [do] when she learns that [an] unauthorized biography [is] being prepared... [against her]?


Find - and pay - a jiffy... journalist... and convince him to do another biography... which will receive extra few scoops "from the horse's mouth", as they say in the trade, that is to say, the person concerned...


Journalist and editor, Yves Derai... has also published "Nicolas and Carla, the real story", soon after the publication of an investigative book quite critical of the French President, entitled, "Sarkozy and his women" ... As for Michael Darmon, a journalist for France 2, he has to his credit a bio on Sarkozy, very friendly with the President at the time candidate... Unlike the case of Besma Lahouri - [who] the lady at the Elysee Palace refused to meet..., - Carla Bruni did indeed meet with Derai and Darmon] . [In other words, Carla Bruni met with Derai and Darmon, but refused to meet with the author of the book which was critical of her.]
Here's another [Google translated] article from Marianne:
Fans of saucy revelations will be disappointed [by Besma Lahouri's book.] The book does not tell us much about the emotional life of the president's wife. Not enough to blow up the republic. However, the publication of this unauthorized biography was deemed sufficiently embarrassing by the Elysée Palace for the President's advisers to call for a [favorable?] biography , to be released the same day....
[Ed. Note: I edited the excerpts a bit to make them more comprehensible.]

Ultimately, I believe the French Embassy lied when it stated, "Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy distances herself completely from the content of the book 'Carla and the Ambitious,' which was not authorized and the authors alone are responsible for its contents."

The question arises: Did the French embassy also lie when it stated that, "The words attributed to the First Lady of the United States were never said?" Or was it the authors of the aforementioned book - who apparently are quite cozy with the Zarkozys, whom the Zarkozys seem to admire and who've consistently presented the Zarkozys in a favorable light - who lied?

And what about the White House and Michelle Obama? Are they telling the truth? Or does Michelle Obama really feel it's "hell" to be America's First Lady?

Who knows.

No comments: