France's presidential candidates came out fighting with accusation and counter accusation on Monday (April 23), setting the tone for a final election that promises to be as tetchy as it is tightly contested.
Shortly after the final scores for the first round were published, the two frontrunners, Socialist Francois Hollande and the incumbent, Nicolas Sarkozy, were back on the campaign trail attempting to drum up the support that will give them victory in two weeks. It was just hours into the morning after the night before when Sarkozy, trailing after the first-round vote, challenged Hollande to three public debates. The runoff candidates usually have one.
When Hollande turned down the offer, Sarkozy's team accused the socialist of running scared. "The French have the right to several debates because there are numerous subjects," said Sarkozy's spokeswoman, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. "He's scared."