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Hollande for Obama?

Foreign leaders don't get to vote for American presidents.

But they do have favorites in a race that that will select the next leader of the free world. And their preferences are often pretty transparent.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a long time friend of Gov. Mitt Romney, has fueled suspicions that he prefers his old Boston pal following his clashes with top Obama administration officials over Iran's nuclear program. "I am sure BB [Benjamin Netanyahu] does look also on the U.S. election and hope Mitt Romney wins," Barak Ravid, Haaretz's diplomatic reporter told me in an interview on Twitter. "They have the same talking points."

But France, whose former foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, defended Bill Clinton at U.N. headquarters in the darkest hours of the Monica Lewinsky scandal, is squarely in the Democrat's camp.

Asked whom he would prefer as America's new president, France's Socialist President Francois Hollande paused, surveyed the U.N. press gallery and declared his intention to dodge the question. Well, not really.

"I'm careful to say nothing because you can imagine if a Socialist were to support one of the two candidates that might be to his detriment," he said. Asked if he was offended that Obama had slighted the assembled world leaders by not scheduling a single bilateral meeting, Hollande sprang to his defense.

"No, I think everybody fully understood that Barack Obama is carrying out his campaign and he came to make a speech, one which met the expectations of the United States," he added. "At present we shall have other meetings. What's important is being able to see him after November, I suppose."

Follow me on Twitter @columlynch.

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