Even though nine Security Council members have recognized Palestinian sovereignty, it appears increasingly unlikely that all of those would vote for the formal request.
The hope expressed at late-night vigils from Paris to Hong Kong turned to revulsion as the US state of Georgia carried out its execution of Troy Davis.
Both leaders spoke Wednesday at the UN. Obama explained the US approach toward the Palestinians' bid for independence, while the French president tried to establish a new timeline.
Palestinian statehood is at the top of the agenda as President Obama heads to the UN this week. But meetings on the sidelines regarding a variety of issues could be even more significant.
The Security Council followed with a unanimous vote to ease sanctions on Libya and establish a post-conflict mission as the UN prepared to celebrate Libya as something it got right.
After holding off on attacking Bani Walid and Sirte for weeks, Libya's rebels have launched their assaults on the two remaining Qaddafi strongholds.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British premier David Cameron secured crucial NATO backing of the rebels. Now they want to help the new Libya become a model for other Arab nations.
The coalition government in Germany, the biggest contributor to the eurozone rescue fund, appears split over over a possible sovereign default for Greece.
The Constitutional Court rejected arguments against Germany's participation in eurozone bailouts, but said Merkel's government needs a parliamentary OK before offering more aid.
Spain voted in favor of a constitutional amendment to cap deficit spending by 2020, boosting its credibility amid Europe's debt crisis. But many Spaniards were upset with the rushed reform.