President Obama dodged a question about whether France has replaced Britain as the closest ally of the United States by comparing the two nations to his daughters, Malia and Sasha.

"I have two daughters and they are both gorgeous and wonderful and I would never choose between them — and that's how I feel about my outstanding European partners," Obama said. "All of them are wonderful in their own ways."

He did emphasize though that the U.S. relationship with France is better than it was during the Clinton or Bush years. "The U.S.-French alliance has never been stronger and the levels of cooperation that we're seeing across a whole range of issues is much deeper than it was" five, 10, or 20 years ago.

French President Francois Hollande attacked the premise of the question. "We're not trying to be anyone's favorite," he told the Le Figaro reporter who asked the question. "It's not about hierarchy, it's just about being useful to the world."