Sarkozy Gases Up for White House at Ben's

France's first couple gets a taste of chili

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, dropped by the U Street Corridor Tuesday afternoon to sample some of the finest in American cuisine -- the chili half smoke.

France's first couple lunched at Ben's Chili Bowl, putting undue pressure on the White House chef. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are hosting the Sarkozys at a private dinner Tuesday night.

Sarkozy and President Obama were scheduled to meet in the Oval Office and hold a joint news conference Tuesday afternoon. But first, Sarkozy fueled up at Ben's, his motorcade drawing quite a crowd of spectators. The Reliable Source reported Sarkozy and Bruni ordered a chili burger and a half smoke, while two of Sarkozy's sons ordered burgers. No word on whether or not they ordered chili cheese freedom fries, but we're glad we weren't in that car en route to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The French president and his ex-supermodel wife -- rumored to be going through marital strain -- shared a peck in the car before pulling away from Ben's. They also appeared happy Monday in New York, walking close together and with clasped hands as they headed into Sarkozy's speech at Columbia University -- in which Sarkozy scolded his American hosts about health care and for not paying enough attention to the rest of the world, the Associated Press reported. He said the fact that there should be any question about health coverage for the poorest of Americans is "something astonishing."

Then today, he sampled some of the food that keeps us in such poor shape.

Earlier Tuesday, Obama signed a bill finalizing his big health care overhaul and revamping the U.S. student loan system at Northern Virginia Community College, where Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, is an instructor.

Sarkozy also dropped by Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress, and his wife joined the first lady for a visit to Kipp DC charter school, where students buzzed about her appearance and reportedly sang songs from Bruni's post-modeling singing career.

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