Try this thought experiment involving French President Sarkozy. Imagine him here in the U.S. and how our 24 hour news stations, talk shows, and newspapers would cover his story.
Sarkozy had scarcely been sworn into office when he and his wife announced their divorce. Now, just months later, the press is reporting that he is soon to marry Carla Bruni.
Carla Bruni, a beautiful Italian model and pop singer, seems very comfortable posing nude before the camera. (Just do a Yahoo or Google image search to confirm this fact.) Imagine an American first lady who the nation has seen pose nude. (It's probably best not to imagine Barbara Bush.)
I'm not sure how the French talk radio shows and tabloids are dealing with this, but it makes me chuckle just to think about how much coverage there would be for Obama or Giuliani (Sarkozy was, after all, the conservative candidate) if they were to do something like this within the first months in office. It would likely get more coverage than the invasion of Iraq.
We're still a country more offended at men eager to use a penis than those eager to use a missile. (And Freud may have explained how the former gets us the latter.) We rate explicit sex X and explicit violence R. (Does this mean that parents would be more offended to walk in on their teenager in the middle of sex than in the middle of a stabbing? Wait. I promised myself I wouldn't wax serious about what, for me, is an amusing scenario - Sarkozy in America.) If Sarkozy were our president, fears of a recession would be easily abated - interest in his libido would help to fuel a resurgence in communications and media revenues that would make the Clinton - Lewinsky coverage look like a cat in the tree story.
And here she is - France's soon to be first lady. (Now we know that the guy in a window is to represent Sarkozy, and of course one more reason that she would never be an American first lady is simply this: she speaks Italian, French, and English. What's the quip? There is trilingual, bilingual, and American.)