Copies of " Carla Et Les Ambitieux" or "Carla and...

Copies of " Carla Et Les Ambitieux" or "Carla and the Ambitious" written by Michael Darmon and Yves Derai, displayed at a bookshop in Paris, Thursday, (Sept. 16, 2010) Credit: AP

The co-author of a new book about French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is defending his sources amid a media buzz over a passage that cites Michelle Obama as calling life in the White House “hell.” Michelle Obama’s spokeswoman, and the French Embassy in Washington, have denied the first lady said such a thing.

Author Yves Derai stands by the explosive dialogue, insisting it’s based on interviews with “reliable sources.”

Derai, in an interview with The Associated Press, declined to name his sources, saying it would violate his journalistic principles.

Derai is an investigative journalist who co-wrote “Carla and the Ambitious Ones,” along with a political TV journalist. Derai acknowledged the French word used in the passage, “enfer,” might not correspond directly with the English word “hell.”

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