Obama greets new French president in Oval Office
The most significant difference between Obama and Hollande is on Afghanistan. Obama plans to have all U.S. combat troops out by 2014; Hollande made a pledge during the recent election to get his troops out this year. He reiterated that promise to the French people Friday.
"I reminded President Obama that I made a promise to the French people to the effect that our combat troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012," Hollande said. "That being said, we will continue to support Afghanistan in a different way."
But if Hollande’s campaign pledge presents a problem for NATO unity on Afghanistan, his emphasis on growth over austerity should please Obama, who’s been pushing that approach for three years.
"I discussed the main topics with President Obama, including the economy and the fact that growth must be a priority, at the same time as we put in place some fiscal compacts to improve our finances," the French president said.