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US media criticize Obama for missing Paris rally

Monday, January 12, 2015 - 18:19

[WASHINGTON] US President Barack Obama faced sharp criticism from some American media on Monday over not attending a huge Paris solidarity rally in the wake of deadly Islamist attacks.

"You let the world down," blared the front page of the New York Daily News.

Numerous world leaders came to Paris Sunday to lead a march in support of victims of Islamist attacks killed during three bloody days in France.

The violence began with a gun attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and ended up leaving 17 people dead.

Millions turned out on Sunday in the biggest protests in French history that included around 1.6 million people rallying in the capital.

But Mr Obama was not among the leaders who walked arm in arm at the head of the procession in Paris, with Washington represented by its ambassador to France Jane Hartley.

"As an American, I do wish that we were better represented in this beautiful procession," said CNN's Jake Tapper from the rally in Paris.

Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris but did not walk with the world leaders while Secretary of State John Kerry was on a visit to India.

Mr Obama and Vice President Joe Biden had no events on their public schedule for the day.

Mr Kerry announced he would visit France later this week and he downplayed criticism of the administration.

"This is sort of quibbling," Mr Kerry told reporters in India.

"The relationship with France is not about one day or one particular moment," said the top US diplomat.

Political-insider magazine Politico wrote a story about the administration missing the rally under the headline: "Barack Obama's French kiss-off."

AFP

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