Call it a pretzel moment. When George W Bush choked on a salty snack and lost consciousness while watching television alone in the White House in 2002, it felt like the last word in presidential indignity. But now George has some serious competition in the compact shape of Nicolas Sarkozy.
The French President collapsed in the grounds of his residence in Versailles while out jogging at the weekend; an episode brought on, some have suggested, by his attempts to become as lithe and aerobic as his former model wife, Carla. The Elysée Palace now denies that M. Sarkozy ever lost consciousness, insisting that the president merely had to "lie down with the help of an aide": proof – were it needed – that spin can sometimes make an embarrassing situation worse.
As for M. Sarkozy, he should have heeded his mother's advice to beware fast women. And beware, still more, trying to keep up with them.