'Fixin' to Sit Down,' Bush and Sarkozy Do

French? "I can barely speak English," says Bush, as he meets France's president.

ByABC News
January 8, 2009, 1:10 AM

Aug. 11, 2007 — -- The Bush family did not exactly roll out the red carpet, but they did fly the French flag.

The French tricolor flag waved all day long above Walker's Point, the Bush family retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine -- a tip of the hat to their new friend, the French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

As President Bush waited on the driveway beside his parents, he seemed as proud as a senior about to meet his prom date.

"We're at my mom and dad's house, fixin' to sit down with the president of an ally," he said -- all smiles.

When Sarkozy finally arrived, six years of chilly relations evaporated in an instant. Our president kept patting theirs on the back. Theirs kept calling ours "Georges."

"You look great," cooed Bush.

Sarkozy, tanned from his holiday in New Hampshire, wore jeans and a navy blazer, and patted Bush warmly on the arm.

The menu was nothing fancy -- hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob and blueberry pie.

"Maine blueberries are something special," said Bush.

"Maine corn is wonderful this time of year," the first lady chimed in.

Even so, it was hard to imagine that anyone would fly all the way from Paris for such a lunch. Although Sarkozy had been vacationing just 60 miles away in New Hampshire, he flew back to France late this week to attend the funeral of Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger.

He flew back to New England just for the barbecue. But his wife and children sent their regrets.

"You must be tired!" the president's father, Bush 41, said sympathetically.

"Non, non, non," Sarkozy insisted.

There was also more serious fare on the table. For one, the two men shared a private talk about key issues where closer cooperation might make a difference. President Bush mentioned Lebanon and Sudan.

But the two men seemed to be steering well clear of sticking points like Iraq.

"Just 'cause you've had disagreements doesn't mean you can't be friends," said Bush.

"Do we agree on everything? No." said Sarkozy through an interpreter. "But even families can have their disagreements."