François Hollande: The Goal

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande served as the President of France from 2012 to 2017. Mocked as ‘the Penguin’ in a song by his predecessor’s wife Carla Bruni, in 2014 his ex-girlfriend Valérie Trierweiler exacted the ultimate revenge when she published Thank You for this Moment, a blistering account of their relationship and his affair with the actress Julie Gayet. “He’s not Cary Grant,” Trierweiler told the Telegraph during her book tour. Sparring no excruciating details, Trierweiler recalled her ex-boyfriend’s burning ambition to become le Président de la République. Reading Trierweiler’s book generates the same sense of secondhand embarrassment for the participants as watching the 1980s film St. Elmo’s Fire. A boogeda boogeda boogeda ha ha ha! 

“It was not a subject we had previously discussed. I knew it was his goal and that was how we would sometimes broach it, with that euphemism, ‘the goal.’ We never spelled it out, we had never spoken the words ‘presidential election.’ He veiled his ambition in modesty. We had only broken the taboo once, as he drove us past the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré in my car. ‘Look, we’re driving past home’ he said as we passed the Élysée Palace. It certainly came as a surprise, and I roared with laughter. He had always known how to make me laugh. No subject was too serious to joke about, including himself– he was a genius at self-deprecation.

That November morning was altogether different: there as not a hint of sarcasm in his eyes. He was serious and he asked me for the first time what I thought: ‘After what happened in 2002 and 2007, you cannot afford to get it wrong. If Ségolène Royal’s defeat has taught us anything it is that you have only one question to ask yourself. Either you think that you are the best and you for for it, or you don’t and you let somebody else stand.’ He did not hesitate for one second before answering: ‘I am the best.'”

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