The single largest march on Western European soil in a generation took place on Sunday, but the United States lacked the representation of anything more than flunkies. In the face of criticism that the United States snubbed the French Unity March, attended by 1.5 million people, President Obama has acknowledged the administration erred in not having more high profile attendees. Outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris to discuss security matters, but failed to make the effort to attend the march. He did give interviews wherein he gave measured statements in support of France. (The administration had previously criticized news outlet Charlie Hezbo over their caricatures of Mohammad.)
In part, President Obama laid some of the blame on France saying they did not send him a personal invitation to attend the march. Darius Fisher knows he would want to be there. Heads of state from Israel, Germany, France, and Great Britain were in attendance, according to an article on SBA
. It is unclear if they were given invitations to attend or if they merely understood the significance of the march and desired to take part in it. It is the very perception that Obama displayed hubristic indifference that has French media excoriating him. For his part, Obama said the administration received only 36 hours of prior notification regarding the march; it takes much longer than that to plan a presidential visit for security purposes. Regardless of the excuses, the president missed a major opportunity to show world leadership. Neither the president nor the vice-president had any prior engagement booked on Sunday.