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As Sarkozy seeks new term, French are wary of 'Merkozy' (+video)

An embattled French President Nicolas Sarkozy is touting his strong ties with powerful German chancellor Angela Merkel as he prepares to announce his bid for a second term today. 

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy (l.) welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a French- German cabinet meeting at the Élysée Palace in Paris in early February.

Michel Euler/AP

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Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to officially strap on his political battle gear today in an uphill bid for reelection.

An economic crisis and European leaders are toppling around him, and France's Triple A rating has also taken a tumble. Add to that Sarkozy's deep unpopularity, and the French president will have to use his crisis smarts as a weapon to convince his countrymen that he should return as its leader for five more years.

If the world of Europe is turning upside down, he's the "captain in the storm," the guy with experience, the comeback kid, the toughest hombre on the block.  

And he is convinced that Europe's most dominant leader, German chancellor Angela Merkel, can help make his case.

Strong French and German relations have long been the core of postwar Europe, driving greater unity and decades of peace and prosperity.

Mrs. Merkel and Mr. Sarkozy are hoping to polish that ideal and present a united front in support of the German model of European recovery.

The eurozone crisis has soured Europe's mood sharply, bringing down five governments. On top of that, Sarkozy's style so offends many French that one joke here has it that a third of them wouldn't vote for him if he were running against the shipwrecked Costa Concordia's captain.

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