Carla Bruni-Sarkozy: Mean Girl?

(Photo by Chuck Kennedy/White House via Getty Images) She never said anything! That's Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's stance on the claim that Michelle Obama griped to her in confidence. Figures.

A new book, "Carla and the Ambitious," says Obama told Bruni-Sarkozy being First Lady is hell. Obama denies she said it. Bruni-Sarkozy denies she collaborated on the biography.

So who said what? And how did our two nations get embroiled in a showdown ripped from the pages of "Queen Bees and Wannabes"? Blame it on the Queen Bee.
Author Rosalind Wiseman, who wrote the handbook-turned-feature-film for parents of "Mean Girls" and their unlucky targets, profiles the typical powerful instigator as part "Queen of Hearts", part "Barbie."

"Through a combination of charisma, looks, money, force, will, and manipulation, this girl reigns supreme over the other girls and weakens their friendships with others thereby strengthening her own power and influence," writes Wiseman in the book's opening chapter.

A wealthy supermodel turn political royalty, Bruni-Sarkozy is constantly at the epicenter of drama poised with a cool smile. One biographer wrote that on their first meeting, she plied Obama for details on her sex life by offer her own risque shenanigans with the Prime Minister. After the conversation, she "delighted in telling friends that she shocked Michelle Obama at their first meeting," writes author Johnathan Alter. She may as well have said: "I love her! She's a martian!"--a classic quote from "Mean Girls'" Regina George, master of the back-handed insult.

Speculation of a tense relationship between the two women has been rumored for some time. In the popularity game, they're neck and neck. Both are looked to for international style cues. For Bruni-Sarkozy, who built a career in fashion, the fact that she has any competition, much less a strong competitor can't be easy to swallow. Moreover, she's long been under fire in the press, for everything from nude pictures, to rumored affairs and reported problems on the set her new Woody Allen film.

Between the two, Obama's got a closer friendship with the international media. She's the woman everyone wants to be popular, not the woman everyone expects to be. Unlike Bruni, she wasn't born to wealth or whisked away at 19 to conquer the runway. But the hyper-intelligent mother of two earned the label "style icon" through a combination of affordable taste, impeccable wit and effortless beauty. It's the kind of thing that really rattles a Queen Bee.

To add insult to injury, in June, the Obamas declined a dinner party invitation from the Sarkozys. Not cool. The American family's brief trip to France turned out to be "a huge embarrassment for the French president" when Obama bowed out of hang-times, according to the Agence-France Press. "Both the French media and the Opposition have mocked Sarkozy over Obama's coolness towards him."

It's reminiscent of another Regina George-ism: "She thinks she's gonna have a party and not invite me? Who does she think she is?" Uh oh. When a Queen Bee feels she's losing power over her minions or worse, becoming the butt of the jokes she used to make, expect a fight...Or a carefully planted detail that makes 'little miss perfect' a little less perfect.

On the other hand, Bruni-Sarkozy could be totally misunderstood, and incapable of malicious intent. The tendency to belittle women in power by pitting them against each other, or picking apart their wardrobe, negates the philanthropic work they do and their positions of importance. Is it possible two women in the public eye can have a relationship that isn't deeply competitive? Certainly. But there's no question that the Sarkozy/Obama dynamic --the men included-- is rife with rivalry. At least from the perspective of the Sarkozy's. The Obama's seem to have more pressing interests than the French First Couple, unless they're forced pay them attention. And today they were.

So for the sake of the argument, even if Bruni-Sarkozy never uttered those words about Obama and Obama never uttered those words to Bruni-Sarkozy, there's still some thick air that needs a-clearing. The best way to do it is to confront the Queen Bee at the center of the swarm. Here's Wiseman's advice on what to say: "You've said some really awful things about me, and I don't like it...I'd like to be friends with you, but you can't treat me badly...We both have the right to walk down the hallway in peace." Hallway, presidential walkway-- same diff.