Sarkozy calls for courage, calm in face of crisis

By the Associated Press | January 15, 2012 | 6:25 AM EST

AMBOISE, France (AP) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy says France must have the courage and calmness to make difficult decisions to overcome the financial crisis, in his first public appearance since the country's credit rating was downgraded.

But Sarkozy avoided any mention Sunday of the loss of France's prized AAA rating in a Standard & Poor's review two days earlier.

Instead he issued a rallying call, saying that a united France committed to reform would make it through.

France chooses a new president this spring, and Sarkozy was already behind in the polls before the downgrade.

The loss of the AAA rating was a severe blow to France's self-image and is expected to hurt Sarkozy's standing even further.