That blunt messaging is one of the reasons why Nicolas Sarkozy still has a shot to win reelection.
He also claimed that, if elected, Parti socialiste candidate François Hollande would turn France into another Greece.
All of this would be fabulously amazing positioning for a president whose record on balancing the budget is not stellar — public debt has gone up under his watch. It’s more amazing when you consider that only in December, Sarkozy presided over France losing its ‘AAA’ credit rating from a major ratings agency.
Last week, Sarkozy pounced on the news that the French deficit for 2011, projected to be 5.7%, was, in fact, only 5.2% — never letting horrible be the enemy of terrible.
Even as unemployment hovers around 10%, last week’s GDP report also showed that France grew at a near-recessionary 0.2% pace in the final quarter of 2011. Nonetheless, Sarkozy managed to turn even that into an opportunity to attack his opponent:
“The Socialists said France was in recession, as if they actually enjoyed it every time there was bad news for France,” Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio, announcing the 2011 deficit figure.
You cannot imagine Dominique Strauss-Kahn, for example, letting Sarkozy push him around like this.
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