Just Like Dean

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For a while he was on top of the world. His speeches against the war in Iraq and his jabs at President Bush were delivered with passion and well received by the press. But then his balloon popped, and now he can't seem to find his stride. No, we're not talking about Howard Dean. We're referring to French president Jacques Chirac (search), who's gone through a similar fall from political grace.

Mr. Chirac's popularity in the Muslim world for opposing the war in Iraq crashed when he pushed for a new French law banning Islamic veils in public places. His French political base is shriveling up as a result of scandals that continue to dog he and his close political ally, Alan Juppe.

Mr. Juppe was convicted on Friday of illegal party funding; a case in which Mr. Chirac was also implicated. And Mr. Chirac's former prosecutor, who was called off after Mr. Chirac tightened the law on presidential immunity, has just written a book detailing kickbacks allegedly received by Mr. Chirac when he was mayor of Paris. Until his presidential immunity expires, prosecutors are left puzzling over many things, like how Mr. Chirac and his wife could have spent over $2 million in grocery bills while he was mayor. Stay tuned.

And that’s the Asman Observer!