Hell Is for First Ladies?... Meacham's Job Up for Grabs... Demarchelier Watch...

Media attention in Europe has shifted away from First Ladies Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s wardrobes.

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HELL IS FOR FIRST LADIES?: Media attention in Europe has shifted away from First Ladies Michelle Obama and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy’s respective wardrobes to meatier fare — the specter of a strained relationship between the French and U.S. presidential couples.

Fueling the brouhaha is a new unauthorized biography on Bruni-Sarkozy that hit French bookstores on Thursday. It’s co-penned by journalists Michaël Darmon and Yves Derai and titled “Carla et les Ambitieux,” which translates literally as “Carla and the Ambitious.”

Published by Les Editions du Moment, the 167-page book contains a passage based on a private dinner that is said to have taken place between the two presidential couples in March at the White House. When asked by Bruni-Sarkozy about daily life, Obama is said to have replied, “Don’t ask, it’s hell. I can’t stand it!”

The Elysées denied suggestions that Bruni-Sarkozy collaborated on the book and said France’s First Lady would not comment.

The authors could not be reached for comment Thursday. Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Obama’s press secretary, said in an e-mailed response that the “First Lady never said that,” referring to the book’s claim.

A spokesman for the French Embassy in Washington added, “Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy distances herself completely from the content of the book…which was not authorized, and the authors alone are responsible for its contents. The words attributed to the First Lady of the United States were never said.”

Another unauthorized book about Bruni-Sarkozy, titled “Une vie secrète,” or “A secret life,” by Besma Lahouri and published at Flammarion, also came out this week.

— Chantal Goupil

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