May 18 - U.S. President Barack Obama says the Group of Eight should focus on ways to promote growth alongside budget cuts to help ease the euro zone crisis -- at his first meeting with French President Francois Hollande at the White House. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama said after meeting French President Francois Hollande at the White House on Friday that the Group of Eight should focus on ways to promote growth alongside budget cuts in Europe to help ease the euro zone crisis. "President Hollande and I agreed that this is an issue of extraordinary importance, not only to the people of Europe, but also to the world economy," Obama told reporters after their talks in the Oval Office. "We're looking forward to a fruitful discussion later this evening and tomorrow with the other G8 leaders about how we can manage a responsible approach to fiscal consolidation that is coupled with a strong growth agenda," Obama said. Meeting with Obama for the first time since his election victory earlier this month, Hollande said he spoke to the U.S. president about the importance of putting a priority on growth. The two leaders discussed their shared concerns about Greece and the belief in the importance of keeping Greece in the euro zone, Hollande said. Hollande also said he reminded Obama of his campaign pledge to remove French combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The two leaders will head to Camp David later on Friday for a two-day summit that Obama is hosting of Group of Eight leaders. Obama is hosting a NATO summit in Chicago on Sunday and Monday.