Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Straw Vote at the Harry's Bar


It's a tradition that has almost never ceased since 1924: the "straw vote" at the famous Harry's Bar... The principle is simple: any American citizen (who can show an American passport) and who is older than 18 can participate in the vote. The results are posted in front of the bar (and on the Web site) every week leading up to the election until the very final moment (I took this photo at 7 pm on November 4th Paris time). The interesting part is that ever since 1924, the straw vote at Harry's Bar was wrong only twice: in 1976 (Ford/Carter) and in 2004 (Bush II/Kerry). At the time I'm posting this photo, I still don't know if they were wrong a third time...

101 comments:

  1. It was around 250 against 120 tonight, for Obama at the Harry's bar!! They were right!

    Tu n'aurais pas pû trouver une meilleure photo pour ce soir, c'est parfait

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  2. nice touch, having the US Citizen vote that way. Well, I hope they're right this time. Go to sleep and when you wake up, hopefully, you'll have a good surprise :)

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  3. Oh, I didn't see that the numbers were written, well, I've a good memory since I heard that 2 hours ago... :p

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  4. If your straw poll is wrong, Eric, I'll need for you to marry me so I can leave the country.

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  5. Guille is first!

    Great photo! The colors are awesome, especially the red.

    I bet Harry's has had a great deal of customers this week. The election has been really fun for me these last few months. I'm almost sorry to see it end. Sort of like how I didn't want JK Rowling to write the end Harry Potter - but I did - but I didn't.

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  6. What a fun tradition and a great photo!

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  7. Well, I just hope I wasn't too presumptious about the victory...Nah.
    Yeah GF.

    Just for fun, to please the other side too

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  8. Comment ça, it does not work?!

    http://www.ucbcomedy.com/videos/play/1506

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  9. Hey GF Guille! You're right, this is the perfect photo for today.

    lol USElaine. I think he'll have to marry me first, though. Because..er...well I can't actually think of anything right NOW, but... :)

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  10. Hey, the straw vote is 170 for Mc Cain, 272 for Obama for now!

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  11. Lynn! No fair. You don't even live in the USA! Elaine gets the man this round.

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  12. lol aw shucks. Can't I throw in some Americanisms and get away with it? I'm kinda feelin' the idea of marryin' Eric. OOoh dear was that just awful? Sorry.

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  13. So, Lynn, I guess if you marry Eric, I'll just have to come live with the two of you, in case we have a worst-case (IMHO) scenario.
    Thanks for this photo, Eric. It gives me hope and also takes me back. One of the male models at the agency where I worked in Paris used to take me to Harry's all the time -- because he thought I was funny when I was a bit tipsy (probably was -- I'm a real lightweight).
    Meanwhile, here's hoping . . .
    and congrats on GF, ma Guille! What will you put on the crown -- paper ballots?

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  14. Maybe Guille will add some hanging chads to her crown...know anyone named Chad?

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  15. Goodness Alexa there's a proposition. A menage a trois? Phew, this is more than political! Now let's see, you're a lightweight, I'm a lightweight, Eric doesn't drink a lot I know, Gosh a bottle of wine would go a long way. The mind boggles.

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  16. A great post and I love the photo. Those are pretty good odds on being correct! Can I go to bed now? Love from The Prairie. xoxo.

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  17. I'm from Mendocino. I've got the wine part covered.

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  18. Anyone anywhere can cast their vote here:

    http://www.iftheworldcouldvote.com/?

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  19. Ah Harry's....memories, memories...Wish I was there with crusty Gerard, sipping one of many of his fabulous kirs....10 more months to go....

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  20. Thanks for the Starbucks tip on yesterday's comments! You know who you are! ;)

    Hope you all remembered your free tall coffee! That was one way to make everyone happy!

    Good photo - -nice fall color scheme!

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  21. Hey where's Michael? I know he'll be watching this on tv, but Michael it would be great to get a comment right now...:)

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  22. what a great tradition, i hope they are not wrong!!

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  23. I love all the different fonts in this photo! I've never been to Harry's, but now I know it's at "Sank Roo Doe Noo"!

    Fitting that the bartender among us got GF tonight! Guille I think you should put a Baby Guinness on the crown, just for me! I'll have to come drink it first, so it doesn't spill all over. Have you gone to bed yet or are you going to pull an all-nighter to see who wins?

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  24. Wow -- Lynn, Alexa, Paris .... its a new film sequel due out this fall!

    Congratulations Guille! You can scatter straw on the crown along with the hanging chads in honor of Harry's sank roo doe noo. You'll need something to soak up the Guiness.

    (And speaking of the lovely dark drink, I smiled all the way thru the Irish O'bama link yesterday!!)

    I have to say that I'm deeply thrilled by the throngs voting today. The voters at my polling place were a total cross section of Americans. I waited an hour and a half to vote in a location where there are usually 4 or 5 other people in the building with you when you vote. Many people brought their kids. I know that apathy will probably return, but today's experience can't have been a bad thing for the kids. (Or for the adults). (They even had a kiddie booth where the tykes could vote for cartoons!) May the lack of apathy last a little longer than my cynical self thinks it will!

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  25. It will be nice to have an intelligent man back in the White House again. It's been a long eight years. BTW...where there's a Guinness, there is an O'heaven!

    Way to go Guille!

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  26. My lovely state, Missouri, has only called an election wrong once since 1904. I'm hoping this is gonna be the second time cause so far the polls are saying McCain is taking Missouri. Here's to hoping Harry's vote is right!!!

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  27. I love this shot. One of these days I'd love to cast my absentee vote from Paris. But this time, I'm glad I got to do it here at home. It was a thrill.

    So far, Soosha, it's looking like this is going to be the second time Missouri calls it wrong. Fingers crossed!

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  28. soosha -- as Petrea said, digits crossed!!
    Carrie -- stay tuned!

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  29. Welcome to the 21st century!!!

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  30. they just announced Barack O. won

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  31. I have to say I haven't been this excited about voting in a long time.
    Yes We Can!
    Great photo for today Eric, thank you!

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  32. People are right hollering in the streets, it sounds like NEW YEAR!!! Obama is in!!!

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  33. WOOOO! I've never been so happy to be against my state. McCain has officially congratulated Obama. Hail to the chief, President Obama!!!!!

    There is much rejoicing around here. Lots of us are trying to hold our composure cause we're still in school. I'm about ready to cry!

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  34. ET Suzy — I used to be friends with Chad Mitchell (you're probably too young to remember the Chad Mitchell Trio and the whole hootenanny era).

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  35. And may I just add . . . woo hoo!!!

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  36. YES, WE DID! God Bless America!

    10:30 pm CHICAGO time

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  37. Well, looks like I can stay stateside for a bit longer after all. Eric, thank you so, so much for standing at the ready, but I leave you to UKLynn...

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  38. Well, Lynn, looks like I can stay here in the States for at least the next 4 years—will you and Eric miss me?

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  39. Well, Obama wasn't the candidate I wanted, but then again, neither of them were!! I hope that he does a good job for the country.

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  40. This photo really has me craving a SideCar now!

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  41. I'm here, I'm here...but just got up to the results and the tail bit of the acceptance speech. I have to admit (Jeff, I may need you to back me up) I had a few tears in my eyes. It feels good to be part of America again. No President is perfect. No world leader makes all of the right decisions. But as I say at work

    Your Attitude
    +
    Your Aptitude
    =
    Your Altitude

    Neither alone makes a good a leader, but put together, one can achieve a lot.

    I feel that the new President has both and will inspire many others.

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  42. Oh my, Alexa -- not only do I remember the Chad Mitchell Trio, but we had a family friend who played guitar for them -- perhaps you knew him, too. His name was Jacob Ander. I can't believe what a small world it is!

    Back in the days when the Chad Mitchell Trio were singing folk and protest songs, the news was full of reports - stories and images that I remember of people being hurt and killed in pursuit of the civil rights of African Americans in this country. I'm not that old; it wasn't that long ago.

    Tonight, I had more than a few tears in my eyes because, even if I imagine that Barack Obama as an individual could turn out to do an awful job as president, I know that my country has truly changed, that a significant portion of the population has not been stymied by race in how they make their decision about who they choose to do that job, and that what those people died for when I was a kid and what I didn't think I would ever see in my lifetime, has actually come to pass. There are still people who are driven by racism and hate, but, that unspoken cultural norm of racism that was there when I was a kid has somehow disappeared for a lot of people and I think I was napping when it happened because I really didn't get how much it had changed. I'm so grateful that it has.

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  43. NOPE!!!! THEY ARE RIGHT AGAIN< AND THIS TIME IT LOOKS TO BE AMAZING!! AMERICA HAS PROVEN IT"S IDEALS TONIGHT!!! Thank you, Eric, for sharing this! I love your blog and faithfully visit every day. I'm gonna be in New York City this weekend, truely bummed that I've missed you by just over a week!! Thanks Again!

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  44. we won. i cried, too, mes amies. i can sing the marseillaise again. (see "casablanca".) bon nuit. ahhhhh

    (one hand typing again.)

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  45. Harry is right again!! Absolute euphoria right now.. Great acceptance speech and McCain did a gracious concession speech...

    I remember the Chad Mitchell Trio.. didn't know them personally but still have one of their albums.. My favorite was "Stupid Questions"

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  46. I'm reading this The Day After, and would have loved to cast my vote and have a "petrifiante" at Harry's. Vive Obama.

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  47. WONDERFUL NEWS this morning!
    America voted for the American dream!
    What a beautiful day. I'm so happy!

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  48. Yeaaaaaah! We were right, they were right, I was right!

    Sorry girls, you're not going to marry Eric finally. LOL

    On my GF crown: a baby guinness, a paper ballot, all my happiness and a thought for my American friends.
    You did well guys...

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  49. Congratulations, US voters! you have my admiration.
    Well done!

    I love that picture ;o)

    I heard on french radio this morning that it's been a tremendous celebration here in Paris, from the French!

    Wish we follow your example.

    Oh, BTW, let's notice we already elected a president with a foreign father, a bizarre name and some ties to another religion than the dominant one!

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  50. Another greatly composed shot, Eric. Thanks for capturing this historic moment at Harry's. We got up at 2am to watch the results roll in last night (that's 8pm EST). It was worth it to see more history in the making.

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  51. Alexa of course we will miss you. I've just relaid the flower beds at the back, I'd started early just in case but no need now. I think we're ok. lol.

    UsElaine, thanks. I'll look after him well if I ever get the chance lol.

    Phx it was somehow fitting that it should be you, here, to announce the result. Tell me, under the new regime, is it necessary to re-write the GF constitution or will it suffice?

    Michael that's one great speech. Pass that maxim on to him! I like the thought of you saying that to your staff.

    So none of the Americans got to marry Eric, Guille, no. I wonder what he thinks of his escape/miss? Where are you, Eric? Obama may be admired, but you are loved here!

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  52. They were right on this one. :) Finally we're taking our country back.

    Just found your blog by surfing and will be back often. I love Paris, but haven't been there for many years. Now I can stop here and relive the memories of my week there.

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  53. I'm just back from lunch and had to leave a comment about a discussion we had (2 Americans and a French). It was all about politics, religion, the pros and cons of each, the effects of each, what Buddhism means, Christianity, God, etc. We ended the discussion about how great it is that in France you can have these kinds of discussions and everybody leaves the table still leaves as friends. Ok, a bottle of Haut Medoc helps, but I don't get the feeling that I could have these types of conversations back home with work colleagues. Am I wrong?

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  54. Oh yeah, I should be clear, although it was a good Haut Medoc, it was of accompanied by an American cheeseburger in celebration of the election!

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  55. I'm still riding high on this, more than likely will be seeing my McCain supporting family soon. I hope they're cool about it. I'll not say anything, but I do have a huge grin on my face,made bigger about all this talk of marrying Erig. LOL! Oh that's just cracking me up, for sure. Perhaps I'm still a bit drunk too...A nice cheeseburger, eh Michael? Eric may be trying to watch his figure but I take it you aren't? Not that you need it ;P

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  56. Constitution remains the same Lynn!!!!!
    Michael, I think you are right about conversations abt politics getting a bit too heated at work in the US. We tried to keep it out of our workplace, but I will share with our PDP family now that John Mccain"s oldest son is a pilot with my company.
    I asked him if it was true that 2 secret service agents would have to be on all his flights if his father won, and he said yes. Well, taxpayers, we just saved a few bucks!

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  57. Surely the agents will still be there to protect Obama, Phx?

    I'm glad we don't have to put our heads together again to come up with new democratic legalese for our GF constitution, Phx. Gosh do you remember our last conference? I had to fly over to you and we spent oh what was it...three days locked in that boardroom with nothing but water, reams of paper and of course the occasional pop into PDP? Boy, were we exhausted. You might still want to take a little look at Clause IV section i (a) though?

    Michael what a fab celebratory lunch you had and the burgers were a great choice in the circumstances. Ohhh to have lunch hours like the French. Do you know I have no breaks at all throughout the day. Eat at your desk. They say we are legally entitled to take an hour at lunch (we are) but I mean, when everyone else is pushed to the hilt and working through, who's going to stand up and say "ok well I'm off, see you at 2!"? No-one. The French have it the right way. To be refreshed is productive. Not sure I could work after wine though!

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  58. Your 'constitutional' is making me laugh, Lynn!!

    I just read my post again and want to change it because it sounds like I'm projecting that he'll definitely do an awful job when I have no idea what the future holds - I should have said "whether he does a great job or an awful one isn't the question, I know that my country..."

    The morning after....yeah,wow...I think this is another of those moments that everyone will know where they were when they found out. I stayed up until 4:30 am watching the news, then I had to go to sleep. All the other moments like that - in my lifetime - have involved deaths tho, so this is a whole different thing. My head is spinning and theres a big smile on my face (which is a pretty funny looking combination - probably would be helped by a good Haut Medoc!) I saw John McCain's speech after I posted and I felt that it was so open and genuine and really positive (at what must be such a wrenching time for him) that it became a partner to Obama's speech and was just as much a part of this turning point in our history as his was. May the Spaghetti Monster bless all the hand-reacher-outers wherever they may be!!

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  59. Michael,
    I agree with you about the "still" friendly discussions !
    But cheeseburger with Haut Medoc... Au secours 8-)

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  60. Carrie, yes, exactly, we will all remember where we were. I said that very same thing to my daughter, then took a bunch of photos of her celebrating to commemorate the experience. We celebrated as long as we could, then she literally fell asleep with the American flag wrapped around her. It was quite a sight to behold.

    Alexa, maybe we can get Chad Mitchell to sing at the inaugural ball? Or maybe he'd just like to "hang" out with us in Florida some November 4th.

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  61. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=51138513

    If you go to my MySpace page RIGHT NOW, you can see Obama's speech from last night.

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  62. Michael : We ended the discussion about how great it is that in France you can have these kinds of discussions and everybody leaves the table still leaves as friends. Ok, a bottle of Haut Medoc helps, but I don't get the feeling that I could have these types of conversations back home with work colleagues. Am I wrong?

    I agree wholeheartedly with you.

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  63. Michael : We ended the discussion about how great it is that in France you can have these kinds of discussions and everybody leaves the table still leaves as friends. Ok, a bottle of Haut Medoc helps, but I don't get the feeling that I could have these types of conversations back home with work colleagues. Am I wrong?

    I agree wholeheartedly with you.

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  64. Yes where were we all actually? I know we were popping in here to comment too, but what will be our memory apart from that? I was watching it with my son, 17, who actually stayed longer, til 4 in the morning. It's a piece of history for his life memories and I was glad he is interested. I spoke to my mother, 77, on the phone. She said she liked 'LeBama' (she later corrected herself!) very much but was worried for his safety because of some in America - and elsewhere - still being racist. I also spent some time thinking about Martin Luther King and his dream, largely realised.

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  65. Michael, that's right. Look, we spoke about politics and are still friends (are we?!). LOL
    Actually it's quite easily to express an opinion without beeing shot, and I like it. But don't let people think that it's always like that in France. The atmosphere is tense in most of the French blogs when you speak about politics.

    "But cheeseburger with Haut Medoc... Au secours", Thib, you're too French! You should try, you could be amazed... ;)

    Just read the victory speech. Whaou. It was huge, a REAL victory speech. Quite touching...

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  66. "without beeing shot". Errr, it's just a picture, I didn't mean that I could be shot in the US for expressing my opinion! :p

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  67. We have our heads held high in America today.

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  68. Guille I can vouch for that. Once I stayed in a chambres d'hote in France with a lovely, chatty hostess. At dinner she came to sit with us! She wanted to talk politics and I was reticent. Eventually and reluctantly I very vaguely put forward a few ideas. Oh dear. They were wrong. LOL !! Stoney face, much blustering, half of which I didn't understand and next morning, my croissant was stiff, the butter banged on the table in a plastic tub from the supermarket and the jam half empty! he he. I still think she was lovely though. Giggle.

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  69. I did send my condolences to my McCain-supporting friends, so maybe I don't fit into that opinion of Americans.

    Lynn, 'LeBama' isn't so bad. I often call him 'Barama' by accident. Too many vowels!

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  70. Good morning (er, evening to some) my friends! What a beautiful day!

    I can't talk to some people who disagree with me on politics. There's been a lot of misinformation (otherwise known as lies) distributed on the internet. It's easy enough to research it but people don't bother. So I find myself having to tell people "yes, he has a legitimate birth certificate" or "no, she didn't ban library books" or whatever they heard in some email.

    With work colleagues it's easy just not to talk politics. But with friends, it's sad to realize that they may be lazy, unwilling to educate themselves on the issues, or worse, bigoted.

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  71. Michael, it is true that in recent years, political discussions in the U.S. usually end up as hot arguments and angry people. It is a sad comment on what the U.S. has become, in light of our Constitutional guarantee of free speech. The right to disagree was not respected (ask Valerie Plame's husband), and that is one of the things we need to heal now.

    The Obama victory speech was eloquent and wonderful (remember that McCain attacked Obama for being eloquent). Yes, McCain's concession speech was very good. If he had displayed nearly as much class and composure during the campaign, he might have won.

    LeBama, Barama, Obama, that's ok, folks. A rose is a rose is a rose.

    I still have mine, by the way.

    Merci beaucoups, mes amis du monde, for your interest and kind words.

    It's time for healing. Let's bury the anger, slander, hatred that has characterized our nation. Let's become the UNITED States again, as our president-elect said.

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  72. Michael & Thib, it sounds like its actually more wonderful that people could share a burger and a Haut Medoc and still leave the table friends! ; )

    ETSuzy - I hope you got a photo of your daughter asleep in the flag - that's a classic. And I love your email to the McCain supporters you know. Its sad that our electoral process pits us against each other in competition -- we all have to wind down then when the competition comes to an end, no matter which side we end up on.

    Yes, Lynn, the danger possibility is also sad -- as I watched Barama's (!)speech, I kept hearing a newscaster voice-over in my head from other newscasts in the past..."and then shots rang out"....lets hope that past is not prologue - it doesn't need to be. It certainly wasn't last night.

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  73. Does this mean I don't have to pretend I'm Canadian when I come to France!!!? ;}

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  74. Thib - does the fact that I ate the cheeseburger with a fork and knife, the French way, make it any better?

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  75. Carrie, you can leave Canada behind now. And if you bring some Obama buttons with you to give to people they will love you! I wore mine all day today and the French actually smiled at me. (were you sitting down when you read that?)

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  76. Ok, ok, haut medoc is always better than a coke, even with a cheeseburger ;-)
    And yes, whatever we drink, we can still be friends, particularly today 8-))

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  77. Carrie, you're going to France at the perfect time! I wish I were going, too!

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  78. LOL, Michael! Much better, yes of course :-)

    But don't worry, a friend is a friend, even when he eats with his fingers...

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  79. Am glad that Harry's Bar wasn't wrong a third time.

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  80. It's lunchtime, and now I'm getting hungry for an American Cheeseburger and Coke because of Michael and Thib. Hold the Freedom Fries and the knife and fork, please.

    Carrie, yes, I did take a photo!

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  81. Oh Petrea I wish I could take you with me -- we'd have a lot of fun! Big hug to you! I'm full of warm and fuzzies today. Too bad I don't have any LeBama buttons to bring.

    They smiled, Michael? Wow! :) You're in. I try not to smile too much cause it gives me away, and if I do, always to make sure its sort of cynical. Its hard tho; I'm just a goofy Merkin who's used to beaming at everyone whether I know them or not. C'est la vie!

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  82. OH Michael you didn't. No. You couldn't have. You ate a burger with a knife and fork? Oh gosh no. I am one for my etiquette, you know me, but goodness; burgers should be eaten in hands! Yes even I do that and I'm a fussy little devil over manners. lol!

    Oh and ... hang on a sec...the French smiled at you? (sorry Eric, Guille, etc., couldn't resist...:))

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  83. Lynn! :O
    I'm the most smiling French girl EVER! :D
    (sp?..)

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  84. And yes, at the restaurant we use knife and fork...shocking?

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  85. Oh I know you are, dear sweet Guille, I'm only teasing! Well. There you have a point I suppose. It depends on the restaurant. If it's a plush place, I would use a knife and fork. If it's a more casual place, hands. WITH napkin, though, naturally. Yes, there are rules. For everything - in my book! I'm not sure what Debrett's would say about it, can't find my copy right now. Debrett's Guide to Etiquette and Modern Manners - the young lady's bible, of course. he he! As a Sloane in the eighties, Lady Diana-style complete with pie crust collars, kilts and shy smile, I was never without it. LOL !!!! Probably burgers don't even get a mention he he.

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  86. Ok your turn to take the mickey out of me now!

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  87. No time to do that now Lynn, but you can be sure we will. I just wanted to mention before Eric posts his photo for tomorrow, it's best if we wish Mme Benaut a Happy Birthday!

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  88. Hi everyone, and congratulations on your elections dear American visitors.

    I'm happy to see you happy. I loved Obama's speech - and the one of McCain too BTW, very respectful of the American people's vote - I wish it were like this in France!

    BTW Jeff, do you know you're not supposed to sing La Marseillaise, the day of AMERICAN elections!!

    Bravo. Now, the hardest part is ahead...

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  89. I have only commented a few times on this blog, but I must thank Guille for the video about Obama. I am proud as heck as an American and as an American that deeply loves Africa that we have elected an African American.

    I just have to speak up as the minority, as I often am among Francophiles, that I am not bonkers over "the left."

    I wish we had a strong third party who could get past being all or nothing on either side of the political spectrum. People of both parties need to stop thinking themselves superior intellects and looking down on the other 50% of Americans as idiots.

    But I will say, the lives of American expats ought to get a little easier now. Check out this article that says it better than I can:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/eu_election_an_american_abroad

    I sure got tired of taking the brunt of American politics when I lived in Europe.

    That all said, I love France, I love America, I love Africa, and I love Paris Daily Photo.

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  90. I enjoyed that article, Boubacar Blanc. Thank you.

    I think Americans "on the left" are probably feeling like Americans "on the right" felt when Ronald Reagan was elected.

    If we look at Obama - his policies, his statements, etc - he looks centrist, not nearly as left as a lot of people imagine him to be. I think that's a good thing. America needs a uniter. I hope he can help us find common ground.

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  91. Petrea- I agree. I want to ride this wave of enthusiasm with all Americans. I am very hopeful we can unite. This promise has been made by many in the past- lets hope it holds true this time.

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  92. What an interesting tradition! I'll remember that if I'm ever in Paris on election day in the future.

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