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December 18, 2006
Did Hillary Snub French Socialist?

French Socialist sensation Ségolène Royal postponed a tour of the US, purportedly because of exhaustion. However the London Telegraph reports that Royal planned to meet Hillary Clinton as a way to highlight two female presidential candidates, but that the Democratic front-runner wanted nothing to do with the French or Socialists at the beginning of her candidacy:

Ségolène Royal, the French Socialist presidential candidate, postponed a "triumphant" US tour planned for this week after Hillary Clinton declined to meet her, it was claimed yesterday.

Miss Royal, the first Frenchwoman with a realistic chance of becoming president in elections in April, officially put off her tour until late January or February due to fatigue after visits to the Middle East and Portugal.

But in reality the decision appears to have been influenced by her failure to secure what would have been a symbolic meeting with Mrs Clinton, the Democrat senator whose ambition is to become America's first female president.

An unnamed advisor to Mrs Clinton told the newspaper Le Parisien that appearing next to a French Socialist who recently met an official of the Hizbollah movement in Lebanon could be construed as condoning the beliefs of the militant Shia group. The Democrats also have little in common with French Socialism, which supports massive state intervention, a huge civil service, and regularly lambasts "US world hegemony".

But the main problem, said the advisor, stemmed from Miss Royal's association with the Hizbollah official, who denounced the "unlimited dementia of the American administration" and likened Israel's foreign policy to "Nazism".

It's too bad this took place behind the scenes. Hillary could have secured a good part of the center and possibly a few on the right had she publicly denounced these statements. In fact, Royal could have provided Hillary with that all-important Sister Souldjah moment that helped her husband win the White House.

Alas, though, Hillary did not have the courage to do so. It's an opportunity lost. She will not have many more chances to denounce terrorism, Hezbollah, and Socialism in real terms. It's almost as if she doesn't want to do so openly, and one has to wonder why that might be.

As for Royal, her dance card remains full. Despite Hillary's full reverse on Royal, she still plans to meet with Bill Clinton when she does finally tour the US, as well as Barack Obama. Will Obama take the opportunity to denounce Royal's association with Hezbollah and her initial endorsement of his analysis of US policy as indicative of "unlimited dementia"? Or will he agree with that official that the Israelis practice "Naziism"?

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 18, 2006 6:17 AM

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