Final Word from Wednesday, October 27, 2004





MFD compared Stanislav Gross with Gerhard Schröder, but perhaps the better comparison is with Nicolas Sarkozy. The superstar French finance minister will visit Prague on Nov. 2 and will steal some of the attention from the U.S. elections. Sarkozy and Gross are both young, ambitious, popular, image-conscious, pragmatic and ready to step over the bodies of their former mentors to reach the top. But there's also a difference. Gross is a slogan-oriented, take-the-money-and-run political type who, at age 34, told Paris-Match he's already thinking about retirement. (In Gross style, he later backtracked and said it was all a misunderstanding.) Sarkozy, in contrast, is patient, strategic and seen as having real political courage, even by his opponents. It wouldn't hurt the CR if some of Sarko's decisiveness rubbed off on Standa during their tete-a-tete next week.

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