Hollande makes 'friendly' mistake in note to Obama

November 9, 2012 - 12:33 PM
France Friendly Francois

In this photo provided by the French Presidential Palace on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, a letter written by French President Francois Hollande addressed to U.S. President Barack Obama congratulating him on his reelection bears a handwritten salutation reading, "Friendly, Francois Hollande". The congratulatory note written by Hollande to Obama for his reelection has been lost in translation, overshadowing the note’s serious political message, after the letter went viral on Twitter. (AP Photo)

PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande's attempt to sign a note congratulating Barack Obama for getting re-elected wound up lost in translation — and all over Twitter.

In the great Gallic tradition of murdering the English language, Hollande ended the letter to the U.S. president in his own hand, writing: "Friendly, Francois Hollande."

The mistake was a literal translation of the French "amicalement," instead of what probably should have been "kind regards."

It went viral on Twitter, overshadowing the rest of the note, which fleetingly touched on topics such as the Middle East and the economy.

According to local media, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was also weak in English. To excuse bad weather in January 2010, Sarkozy told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, "Sorry for the time."