Feb. 10 - President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande tour Thomas Jefferson's plantation estate in a show of solidarity for Franco-American ties. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
U.S. President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande tour Thomas Jefferson's plantation estate Monday in a show of solidarity for Franco-American ties that have endured for more than two centuries - despite the occasional tempest. The visit to Monticello, home to America's third president, showcases a relationship that stretches back to the founding of the U.S. in the late 18th century. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA "This home represents the bonds that helped to lead to the American Revolution, help to influence the French Revolution, figures like Lafayette, who helped play such a central role in our own Independence. All this, signified here at Monticello, and our hope in starting our visit this way, is that just as we can extend back through generations to see the links between the United States and France. Tomorrow we will not only have an opportunity to talk about our current bonds and alliance, but also ways that we can strengthen our cooperation in the future." Hollande struck a humorous note, mentioning the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. (SOUNDBITE) (French with English interpretation) FRENCH PRESIDENT FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "And then Jefferson purchase Louisiana from Napoleon, and today we are not demanding anything." Hollande also stressed that he hopes to see the bond between the two nations sustained over time. The two leaders will get down to business Tuesday with White House talks, followed by a joint news conference. Tuesday evening's state dinner will feature aged rib-eye beef and American wine.