In between hanging out on a yacht with Oprah and penning his memoir, the former president of the United States took some time to make a long-distance call to French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron. Politico reports that Macron made the first overtures to Obama. The 44th president apparently obliged, and the two reportedly chatted about the French presidential race and the importance of France-U.S. relations. Macron posted a short clip of their conversation, which proves conferencing over speaker phone is a universally awkward experience.
Obama’s spokesperson said this was not a formal endorsement, but the former U.S. president doesn’t appear to have called any other French presidential candidate. “President Obama appreciated the opportunity to hear from Mr. Macron about his campaign and the important upcoming presidential election in France, a country that President Obama remains deeply committed to as a close ally of the United States, and as a leader on behalf of liberal values in Europe and around the world,” said Obama’s spokesman, Kevin Lewis.
Macron, a former banker and independent candidate, has been atop the polls — along with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen — but has seen his popularity slip a bit in advance of Sunday’s elections. (The top two candidates from the April 23 contest will face each other in a runoff May 7.) The call probably didn’t hurt Macron, as Obama remains pretty popular in France. A group had even started a petition to get Obama on the ballot in France because “he has the best C.V. in the world for the job.”