Poignees d'Amour: Sarkozy Gets a Nip and Tuck -- in Photoshop

A French magazine is under fire for airbrushing away President Nicolas Sarkozy's love handles from a photo taken during his recent vacation in New Hampshire. Paris Match belongs to the French president's close pal Arnaud Lagadere.

In the picture below, you can still see Sarko's love handles. But in the  Paris Match  image above, the magic wand has been applied. Voila, handles gone!

In the picture below, you can still see Sarko's love handles. But in the Paris Match image above, the magic wand has been applied. Voila, handles gone!

First Russian President Vladimir Putin invited photographers to get up close and personal with him on a shirtless summer fishing trip to Siberia straight out of a Marlboro Country ad. Then a British tabloid magazine obtained shirtless photos of ex-Brit Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose sagging chest it described as "moobs." Now Nicolas Sarkozy is the latest leader to see his torso get the glossy treatment. In one word: It's flabulous!

For a 52-year-old, Sarko doesn't look half bad. He's certainly not as fit as judo-fighting former KGB agent Putin, but he's respectable enough. But studliness isn't the reason he's making headlines. Sarko's in the news because French gossip magazine Paris Match airbrushed a photo from his summer vacation in New Hampshire to remove his love handles.

Getting by with a little help from his friends? This photo from the same trip shows a Sarkozy with love handles even when he isn't cramped into the seat of a canoe.
REUTERS

Getting by with a little help from his friends? This photo from the same trip shows a Sarkozy with love handles even when he isn't cramped into the seat of a canoe.

On Thursday, the newspaper L'Express published the original, untouched photo as well as the retouched Paris Match version. The original shows Sarko's poignees d'amour spilling out of his swim trunks. The mag justified the touchup by saying Sarkozy's awkward position in the boat made the bulge look bigger than it was.

But critics will note that Paris Match belongs to the Lagardere media empire, whose owner Arnaud Lagardere is a close friend of Sarkozy. If you're an editor at a Lagardere publication, critical coverage of Sarkozy might cost you your job. Two years ago, after Cecelia Sarkozy temporarily separated from Nicolas Sarkozy, Lagardere sacked Paris Match's editor after he published a photo of her with her new beau on the cover.

dsl/ler/dpa

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