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The French Debate

The New York Timesgreat report
Mr. Sarkozy grabbed the opportunity to bore in on his point that she could not lead France in such a temperamental fashion.

"Calm down," he told her.

"No, I will not calm down," she replied.

"Do not point at me with this finger, with this--" he said.

"No. Yes," she said.

"With this index finger pointed, because frankly--"

"No, I will not calm down," she said. "No, I will not calm down. I will not calm down."
Ms. Royal repeatedly interrupted Mr. Sarkozy to get him to stop interrupting her, saying, "Let me finish," and things like, "Please stop interrupting me because I know your strategy really well."

But Mr. Sarkozy was also stopped short in mid-sentence over and over.

"Will you let me finish?" he asked at one point."No," Ms. Royal said.

"Ah," Mr. Sarkozy replied.

By midway, Ms. Royal's perpetual smile disappeared from her face. Their tone was reminiscent of a couple bickering at the breakfast table, with the husband barely restraining his sense of superiority and the wife attacking him for not listening to her.

"You understand me perfectly but you pretend you don't understand," Ms. Royal told her rival.
Isaac Chotiner