Tags: french | presidential | debate

French Presidential Debate: No 9th Inning Home Run for Le Pen

Image: French Presidential Debate: No 9th Inning Home Run for Le Pen

Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron prior to debate. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:51 AM

The French presidential debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen produced verbal fireworks Wednesday night, but the question remained whether the nationally-televised debate from Paris changed any minds.

French polls had suggested Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front, needed a home run because she reportedly trailed the center-left Macron by 15 to 20 points going into the general election on Sunday, reported Politico.

"Le Pen focused on trying to knock Macron off-balance, to unsettle him enough to make him lose his cool and look unprepared for the presidency," said Politico's Pierre Briancon and Nicholas Vinocur. "Smiling, smirking and frequently laughing at Macron's comments, she repeatedly told him not to get 'too excited.'

"… While Le Pen kept her poise throughout the debate and landed a few good one-liners, she often veered into mockery and bouts of dismissive laughter. Her attention was focused more on attacking her rival than presenting her own plans for reform."

Macron, in turn, charged that Le Pen lacked any strategy to turn the economy around, reported CNN.

"We must give our small and medium-sized enterprises the opportunity to create more jobs," said Macron. "Your strategy is simply to say a lot of lies and say everything that is wrong."

The two traded barbs on terrorism. There have been 11 attacks tied to terrorism in France since 2015, including deadly attacks Charlie Hebdo magazine offices in January 2015 and 130 deaths in coordinated attacks at a concert hall and other Paris locations in November 2015, noted BBC News.

Le Pen charged that Macron lacked firmness to attack terrorism and he would be "indulgent against Islamic terrorism," said CNN. She promised to immediately expel all foreigners identified on a terror watch list and to strip people suspected of Islamic extremism of their French nationality.

Macron claimed that fighting terrorism would be his first priority and pledged to increase resources of police and security forces and strengthen the enforcement of watch lists "even if it deprives people of some of their freedoms."

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The French presidential debate between Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen produced verbal fireworks Wednesday night, but the question remained whether the nationally-televised debate from Paris changed any minds.
french, presidential, debate
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2017-51-04
Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:51 AM
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