Multilingual Kerry charms French, German hosts

Associated Press
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands after a news conference with French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius at the Foreign Ministry in Paris on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. Paris is the third leg of Kerry's first official overseas trip, a hectic nine-day dash through Europe and the Middle East. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

PARIS (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is charming his way through the capitals of western Europe with his knowledge of local languages, delighting audiences by speaking German and French to his hosts.

The multilingual Kerry complimented a television host's shoes in passable German on Tuesday at a town hall meeting with youth in Berlin.

On Wednesday in Paris, he won approving nods from journalists and diplomats when he opened a news conference in fluent French, effusively praising his lunch and relations between the U.S. and France.

He then drew laughter by saying that that he would switch to English because quote "otherwise I would not be allowed to return back home."

Kerry's French skills were cited as elitist by Republicans during his unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign.