I wrote this post once already but realised that 90% of the debate is of literally no interest to you guys on here. All you probably whan to know is what was said about Europe and what was said about terrorism, maybe the economy as well I'm not sure on that? But if I am wrong and there are other topics that were touched on that you are interested in I can try and provide a synopsis of what was said. It was pretty diverse and covered a lot of stuff some of it very low level and detailed.
There were two very different approaches taken to the debate. Macron came to talk policy and to talk down to Le Pen.
Le Pen came to interrogate Macron on his policies and try and paint him as part of the previous government.
First some background, It got ugly and the moderators had no real control the whole debate. A lot of interruptions and a lot of talking over the top of each other. The format of French debates is the 2 candidates face each other at a desk with moderators there is no live audience just the cameras and the prepared questions which they both are aware of. Le Pen showed up with piles of folders and was constantly shuffling them and looking for things but only produced about two things that I can remember from them. Macron came with a notepad and a pen. Because of the format, the zingy one liners and what not that you get in the US debates, tend to fall pretty flat when you don't have an audience to reveal in you sick burn. Not to say there weren't a few good ones they just don't score you points like they would if you had someone there to actually laugh at them. Le Pens about a woman being in charge of France was funny, as was Macron thanking Le Pen on behalf of the gay community in France for all she had done for them. It did get personal though Le Pen denied she was a racist. Macron denied he was an elitist.
Le Pen tried to paint Macron as complicit in the failings of the last government. But she didn't come well prepared to this discussion, and economics is not something you want to spar with Macron about. He repeatedly corrected her figures and had to explain to her some basic principles to her. This is when he started using his quiet big boy voice. He also started pushing her for her policies but she just went back on the attack. This continued throughout the debate. So he asked if this was an interview or a debate.
On Europe Le Pen got herself a bit stuck she is now thinking of having 2 currencies for France. Macron tore this idea to bits. Rumor has it her party came up with this idea over the weekend and it showed as she couldn't even answer basic questions about how it would work. Macron wants to reform the EU but never got into how or what he wanted to actually do with this. Annoyingly he was never pressed on this either. Le Pen wants out of the Schengen treaty. Thinks an extra 10000 customs officers should be able to secure the border. Accused Macron of not believing they did a good job, when he said that it may be more difficult then that to secure all the French borders.
This was interesting. Macron said something which apparently will have lost him a few points. He said that France needs to take some responsibility for the terror attacks carried out by French nationals. Le Pen was outraged by this. I'm not sure why. He also said he would dismantle any organisation that promoted hate.
Le Pen had waited all debate for this. She hoed in with a lot of prepared rhetoric but never gave very much detail about her plans other then closing the border, and restricting immigration. She mentioned closing mosques, youth groups, sports teams or anything that was being used as a cover for radicalisation. She did mention removing the nationality of people involved in terror attacks. Macron asked her how concerned did she honestly think suicide attackers would be by their loss of French Nationality.
If Le Pens tactic was to get under Macrons skin and try and get him to react angrily. It failed, he never took the bait. It was not a knock out for Macron though, Le Pen gave so little detail that he couldn't really attack her policies too much and he left a lot of stuff very vague himself.
Where this matters is with the far left voters of Melanchon. He is refusing to back either candidate, (Though he has stated he would never vote for Le Pen) He had 19% of the first round. That is who they needed to try and win over last night. I had a wee look on reddit and twitter and it seems Macron may have just seemed more presidential to these people. Though I never no if you can trust when someone on the internet says they were an undecided voter, so take that with a grain of salt.
As I said earlier Le Pen constantly interrupting and trying to be funny and trying to talk over Macron looked like a calculated tactic, for me it didn't work she came off as a petulant child. It also gave him room For Macron to shoosh her then talk down to her. As you may be aware being condescending is almost a national pastime here.
Finally. I have tried to write this as factually as I could but as I said earlier I have a dog in the fight and have a preference. So if you want to reply just to smugly point out all the places my bias is showing you can save yourself the 1s and 0s. But if you have any real questions or are interested in my opinions I will be happy to offer them.