The video was taken by a Youpressjournalist who was following the president around the farmers' fair on Saturday. As he makes his way through a bustling crowd we see the president come across a participant who refuses to shake his hand, saying "don't touch me, you'll get me dirty". Sarkozy equals his insult with "sod off you poor cretin". What a mistake... Youpress sold the video to regional newspaper Le Parisien,who put it online that same night. The effect was huge. In hardly two days the video received over a million hits. While Le Parisien tries to keep the material for itself- it was supposed to be an exclusive- it is passed from website to website all over the world. French bloggers don't relent in firing a train of insults at their president, while Anglophone web-users delight in suggesting posible translations for the presidential comment, with "piss off you jerk", "get lost dumbass" and "bugger off you idiot (the Observers favourite) all in the contest. A Yahoo group has even been created to cast light on the linguistic mystery.

Tributes to Sarko

Web-users are creating their own musical reactions to the news:

Posted by "vachealait", 25 Feb. 08

Posted by "systaime", 24 Feb. 08

The infamous video, subtitled in English

"Remind me of Sarkozy’s purpose?"

Comment from "Fab":

In deeper and deeper trouble; it can't get much worse for the president of France. A person says "Don't touch me you'll get me dirty" (offensive but correct)...and he replies "sod off poor cretin"? Remind me of Sarkozy's occupation. Oh yes, to look after France's reputation."

Originally posted here.

"Vultures at Le Parisien"

Published on the blog "la Droite Sociale":

What's funny is to see the unbearable level of untruth the newspaper Le Parisien has reached: the way they described events was quite over-dramatic. Watching the video we can see that there are so many people there to see the president, that there's no need to exaggerate about people shoving and pushing. Recognising that Sarkozy responded courageously to this reprobate might be an idea. He shouldn't have to fold in the face of any Frenchman egged on in making a side comment.

And to say that calling someone a poor cretin is offensive! That's ridiculous. The very one who's shocked by this affair, is none other than a newspaper that lies to get the world on its side, or to bring attention on Sarko, or both."

Originally posted here.

"What would de Gaulle, Mitterand or Chirac have said?"

Comment from blogger Fonsolo:

What would de Gaulle, Mitterand or Chirac have said?

No president escapes a few whistles and shouts at a farmers' fair. We remember the day when a president was welcomed with the harsh call of ‘PRICK!', and when he responded, with a smile, by offering his hand to the grump and saying ‘A pleasure to meet you! And I'm Jacques Chirac!' Humour can come in useful in politics. But what should one think of a President of the Republic- who unveiled a memorial for de Gaulle the day before- losing his temper and replying "sod off you poor cretin"?"

"Those who insult Sarkozy are punished"

From the blog "Betapolitique":

When Nicolas Sarkozy insults the French, Jean-Pierre Raffarin [former Prime Minister, and member of the same party as Sarkozy] calls it powerful speech, and, Xavier Bertrand [also in the majority party] lets him off as a man who won't get pushed around.

But when poor French people retaliate with the same language, he throws them in prison and fines them.

That's what Le Nouvel Observateur and the blog Sarkostique told us recently.