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July 14, 2012

France's Tweetgate: New French President Hollande, man of the people, stud, does his first Bastille Day.

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French President Francois Hollande today.
Photo: Antoine Antoniol.

AP: "Hollande oversees 1st Bastille Day as French president; clouded by family feud". It begins:

PARIS - A feud involving the French president's live-in girlfriend, his former partner and his eldest son may have tarnished the new leader's carefully cultivated image as “Mr. Normal” — credited with helping him win the spring election among a populace weary of his flashy predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy.

Francois Hollande agreed to take a question about the family feud that has riveted the media during a television interview Saturday — a sign that in the Twitter era, even French leaders can't keep their private lives private.

But he sure did try.

Mid-way through the nationally televised interview on tradition-steeped Bastille Day, the reporters asked for his reaction to “tweetgate” as the feud is known. It began with a tweet sent out by his companion Valerie Trierweiler during last month's legislative elections. The tweet expressed support for the political opponent of his ex-partner Segolene Royal, the mother of the president's four children, who was defeated in her bid for a parliamentary seat.

Hollande may have agreed to take the question, but he quickly shut it down, saying that he intended to keep his public and private lives separate — and that he had asked those close to him to do the same.

But it may be too late to put the genie back in the bottle, since the tweet has set the French political establishment aflame, and turned the president's image on its head.

Widely criticized as a vindictive move, the tweet went viral and dominated news shows.

Posted by Holden Oliver (Kitzbühel Desk) at July 14, 2012 11:59 PM

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