Sarkozy, Hollande Clash in Fiesty Debate
No clear winner emerges from bad-tempered debate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2012 12:53 AM CDT
Hollande, left, and Sarkozy, right, prepare for battle.   (AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool)

(Newser) – Nicolas Sarkozy and challenger Francoise Hollande traded insults in a televised debate French media called the "Last Duel" and the "Final Confrontation." The event—the pair's only debate of the election season—ran to more than three hours long and while neither presidential candidate emerged as the clear winner, viewers were left in no doubt that the two dislike each other, the BBC notes. Both men repeatedly called each other liars during the debate, which focused on the economy.

Sarkozy called Hollande a "little slanderer," while Hollande accused the president of ruining the economy, dividing the French people, and shirking his responsibilities. "Mr Sarkozy, you would have a hard time passing for a victim," the Socialist said. "It's never your fault. You always have a scapegoat.'' After Hollande praised German moves to reduce unemployment, Sarkozy shot back: "After criticizing Germany, it suddenly inspires you." France votes in a runoff election Sunday and polls put Hollande six to eight points ahead of Sarkozy.