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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's New Public Face -- And Pregnancy Rumors

The French First Lady appears to be gearing up for Nicolas Sarkozy's reelection bid next year by talking more in public. But she won't confirm or deny whether a First Baby is on the way.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's New Public Face -- And Pregnancy Rumors
Cécile Cornudet

PARIS - One year before the 2012 presidential election, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has broken three years of a nearly complete public silence since becoming France's First Lady. With a quick succession of well-orchestrated public appearances -- including an interview with Paris Match magazine, a meeting with readers of the Le Parisien daily and a press conference expected on May 17 about her Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation that fights against illiteracy -- has suddenly taken on a more political role.

"I am ultra-Sarkozyist," she was quoted as saying by Le Parisien. "I believe in him. I am no longer left-wing at all", adding that "two terms would be good." But showing restraint and preserving secrecy are still the guiding principles for the First Lady, who has opted for discretion since marrying Sarkozy in Feb. 2008, a year after he was elected and just months after his second divorce.

President Sarkozy has recently also kept a lower public profile in an effort to regain popularity ahead of his reelection bid next year. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy does not exclude the possibility of taking part in the 2012 campaign, but offers a caveat. "I can join him on the campaign trail, listen to what people want to say, help those who ask me, ... accompany him to meetings', she suggests in an interview with Le Parisien. But at the same time, she admits that she does not know "how an election campaign functions."

Most of the time, she speaks to emphasize her husband's personal qualities, countering standing French criticisms of Sarkozy. "He is not nervous, he is full of life," she says. "He has become calmer and wiser." She also echos the mantra that Sarkozy is a president only concerned with implementing reforms for the good of France. "If my husband wants to run for re-election and the French people don't want him anymore, he will go quietly, honored to have served his country, to have worked very hard and done all he could," she said.

That is a good argument to justify why her lips are sealed whenever someone inquires about the pregnancy rumors. If she does not talk about it, it is not only because of medical precaution, but because she wants "to protect all the work Sarkozy does."

"I would love to talk about it, but then that takes up the entire space," she said. "But it is my husband's job that magnifies things 100,000 times and turns a kind of small fish into a whale."

When she is asked "So we will know in six months?" she says "Yes." Her answer shows that in the near future, the Elysée Palace will comment on that matter as little as possible. An Elysée adviser hopes that in the end, the view of a President who leads the simplest and most reasonable life possible" will maybe come up.

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