President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and French President Francois Hollande wave from the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, during a state arrival ceremony. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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President Barack Obama on Tuesday praised France as a model ally in a world that must do more to meet common threats, laying on the full flourish of a state visit for President Francois Hollande.Obama hailed France, an increasingly key partner in the fight against Islamic extremism in Africa, nuclear proliferation and climate change, as he welcomed Hollande on the White House lawn.The presidents stood side-by-side framed by the red, white and blue of the Stars and Stripes and the French tricolor as a 21-gun salute split the air and ranks of troops in dress uniform stood to attention.Before then, Obama and Hollande will hold a press conference and the French president will have lunch with America's French speaking Secretary of State John Kerry.Hollande opened his three-day visit to the United States with a rare flight for a foreign leader aboard Air Force One on Monday.The US leader said Jefferson, primary author of the Declaration of Independence, ambassador to France and the third US president, represented "what's best in America".
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