PARIS -- Do the math.
One French president: Francois Hollande -- with a stagnant economy he hasn’t been able to fix and with the lowest job-approval rating in modern history, in the 20 percent range.
One French first lady – or first girlfriend, as she's called here: Valerie Trierweiler, who has checked into the hospital because of the stress caused by Hollande’s alleged affair with …
One French actress, Julie Gayet: A Paris gossip magazine reports she received visits from Hollande, who traveled to her apartment incognito on a motor scooter.These were the issues President Hollande faced at his ritual New Year's new conference, which drew an overflow crowd. And where the first question was about the alleged affair – which he didn't deny.
"Everyone can face trials in their personal life," he said. "These are painful moments. But personal affairs
should be treated privately."
The saga has tested the French myth that interest in politicians stops at the bedroom door, says American in Paris Danielle Grall.
"They're all totally humiliated," said
Grall. "The elite French, the educated French – it's all totally humiliating
for them. The feel like they’re living in Italy! And it's not very funny."
"Francois Hollande has a problem deciding
which policy he wants. And he has problems deciding which women he wants," said
TV anchorwoman Valerie Astruc.