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Symbol: Obama Skipped Paris Rally

Posted on January 12, 2015

More than 40 heads of state came together in Paris to denounce a wave of terrorism that defiled the City of Light last week — yet there was one glaring exception: The U.S. sent only a low-level official.

French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and dozens of other world leaders all took part in the powerful denunciation of last week’s terror attacks that left 17 innocents dead.

Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas set aside their differences to march together on Boulevard Voltaire.

But the nation that stands as the symbolic face of the war on terror was nowhere in sight.

President Obama was apparently not in France, though his public schedule was empty the day of the massive gathering.

President Obama was apparently not in France, though his public schedule was empty the day of the massive gathering.

Secretary of State John Kerry was in India during Sunday’s march and rally.

Neither President Obama nor Vice President Biden showed up — and in fact, America’s only representative was its relatively unknown and low-profile ambassador to France.

Obama and Biden had empty public schedules Sunday, but the White House declined to comment on why they didn’t go.

The natural choice — Secretary of State Kerry, a Francophile who speaks the language — was in India for a longstanding engagement with the prime minister, White House officials said.

Attorney General Eric Holder did go to Paris — but only for an anti-terrorism summit convened by Hollande ahead of the unity rally. Holder left Hollande and the others sometime after the group exited the Elysee Palace. Around the time other world leaders and dignitaries boarded buses to get to the front of the march, Holder was taping an interview for “Meet the Press,” NBC confirmed.

About a million people took part in the massive ‘Je Suis Charlie’ rally in Paris Sunday.

The White House said the attorney general was returning to the U.S. on Sunday night, The New York Times reported.

That left ambassador Jane Hartley, who raised more than $500,000 in campaign funds for President Obama, to carry the torch.

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