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Awkward Moments During Le Pen Visit

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
Marine Le Pen, leader of the French far-right National Front political party, created some awkward moments on Capitol Hill during her Wednesday visit.

Following the meeting — alternately described as "quick" by Miller and "very interesting; we spoke at length" by Le Pen — Le Pen praised Paul, and her own National Front, on their economic policies.

"He has been a visionary on this subject, as we have been visionaries on the economic crisis that today besets Europe," Le Pen said as she made her way to a meeting with Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), one of the freshman class's most hard-line conservative lawmakers.

"I believe it was Einstein who said you cannot solve problems with those who caused them. So, in American political life as in French political life, it is more difficult to imagine that the people who contributed to causing the crisis, to accelerating it, would be able to solve it," Le Pen said.

After her brief meeting with Walsh, Le Pen again accused the media and French politicians of undermining her trip before she left the Capitol complex.

For instance, Le Pen told reporters that the French ambassador had made "political statements" about her trip and that the lawmakers "told me they received dozens of telephone calls from the media, notably the French media, and that they thought your methods a little peculiar."

Le Pen is a lightning rod in French politics. Her father, Jean-Marie, founded the National Front, and his party has long been associated with conservative reaction to France's immigration policies and anti-Muslim sentiments.

The elder Le Pen, who led the National Front until his daughter took over last year, has been one of France's most divisive political figures and has been found guilty in French courts of inciting racial hatred.

Although an extremely controversial personality in French politics, Marine Le Pen, a member of the European Parliament, has taken steps to soften the National Front's image, including denouncing anti-Semitism and stating her support for Israel. Le Pen was expected to visit the Holocaust Museum during her visit to Washington.

Le Pen was asked whether she was disappointed she had not met more influential members of the government as her father had, when he famously met President Ronald Reagan and secured a photo of the two shaking hands.

"Ronald Reagan was president at the time, you know. So, obviously, meeting Mr. Obama [would not be likely]. ... Ronald Reagan and Jean-Marie Le Pen had a lot in common back then," she said.

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