Excerpt - The message was simple: There is no alternative to reforms, and please be patient until success materializes. "I take my work seriously," Sarkozy said to justify his actions. "But there is a lot to do and the expectations are great and there are still another four years." His implication was that it is also a citizen's duty to stay calm. And then came his modest mea culpa. "Undoubtedly I have made mistakes, but one can't change a country without there being problems here and there," he said regretfully. "I do what I can."
This admission was long overdue. After just 11 and a half months, the president has pretty much gambled away the popularity that led to his triumphant election victory in May 2007. The candidate who presented himself to the French people as a tenacious doer, a visionary, who awakened expectations of a "new France," has experienced an almost grotesque crash in support in recent months.
The people's love affair with their president lasted up until his divorce from ex-wife Cecilia. Sarkozy then annoyed his supporters with his blatant desire to hang out with VIPs and celebrities, and his flashy taste in Rolex watches and Ray Bans. This taste for luxury soon earned him a name guaranteed to damage a reputation: "President Bling Bling."
A Presidential Comeback in Four Acts … More by Stefan Simons in Paris, SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL