According to the Financial Times, UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is winning general praise for his ability to stay measured during his TV question session yesterday. Here are some of the sharpest moments:
At one point Mr Sarkozy was accused of racism by Hayate, a Frenchwoman of Algerian origin, who said she felt insulted by his claim that France had no place for people who slaughter sheep in their apartments, an apparent reference to Muslims.
“I do not accept being called a racist,” said Mr Sarkozy. “I am the interior minister who has done the most for Muslims. I have nothing to be ashamed about on my record.” He referred to the French council of Muslim faith that he founded and his appointment of the country’s first Muslim prefect.
Reacting to the accusation from one member of the audience that he was repeating the populist message of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the far right National Front party leader, he replied: “If Le Pen says the sun is yellow, I’m not obliged to say it is blue.”
Sarkozy also outlined specific reforms that are characteristic of his "law and order" persona. Sarkozy promised a new drug war on all illegal substances, said he would evict illegal immigrants from homeless shelters, and would lower the age of sending multiple offenders to prison to 16. All in all it will be a tough act to follow for Segolene Royal, who will go on the same show February 19. That is several days after she reveals her platform, so hopefully she will have more than platitudes for answers.
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