April 24 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy hammers socialist frontrunner Francois Hollande as polls show him trailing ahead of a May election. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Nicolas Sarkozy in the campaign to save his Presidency. Two days after a second place finish to Socialist Francois Hollande, Sarkozy is hitting back. He is calling on his rival who won the first election round to agree to more than one debate before the final poll in May. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY SAYING: "My observation is that it's hard to have a debate on your own. So if he has other things to do, I propose we change the date. If he prefers the morning or the afternoon, no problem. If he prefers the evening, no problem. If Thursday's better than Wednesday, no problem. If he wants it to go on for an hour rather than an hour and a half because an hour and a half is a bit tiring, no problem. But he cannot run from the debate. Because the French will demand a debate. They have to know the truth about my project and his, that's what it means to respect the people of France." The socialists frontrunner was also out on the campaign trail Tuesday. He took his message top a factory in northern France where he slammed Sarkozy's economic record. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SOCIALIST PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FRANCOIS HOLLANDE SAYING: "Here, the supporters, sympathizers, citizens have only their job as their wealth. There is no difference between real work and fake work. Over here, we work. And when we don't work, we want to work, we ask for work. The candidate who wanted to be the candidate of true work is the candidate of true unemployment for the last five years." The first opinion poll to be taken since Sunday's first round showed Hollande with a ten point lead. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.