Balance of Power: A French Brawl

Candidates Clash as French Debate Turns Personal

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If the Trump-Clinton debates last year were testy affairs, this was a full-on political brawl.

Marine Le Pen’s showdown with Emmanuel Macron was her last chance to cut into his 20-point lead before Sunday's presidential election. She went straight at Macron for being too establishment -- and too weak -- to lead France.

“Monsieur Macron is the candidate of savage globalization,” Le Pen said in last night's debate. ``You have a soft spot for Islamic fundamentalists,'' she fumed, accusing him of wanting to turn France into a ''trading floor.''

Macron worked hard to keep his cool as Le Pen smirked, gesticulated and provoked. But he fired off a few shots of his own. “I’m looking at the high priestess of fear-mongering. You are a product of the system that you denounce, you live off it. You are a parasite.”

A snap poll of voters made Macron the winner by 63 percent to 34 percent, suggesting it's unlikely Le Pen changed the trajectory of the race and that Macron is on the cusp of becoming France's next president.

(From L) French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party, Marine Le Pen, French journalist Christophe Jakubyszyn, French journalist Nathalie Saint-Cricq and French presidential election candidate for the En Marche ! movement, Emmanuel Macron pose prior to the start of a live brodcast face-to-face televised debate in television studios of French public national television channel France 2, and French private channel TF1 in La Plaine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on May 3, 2017 as part of the second round election campaign.Pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen face off in a final televised debate on May 3 that will showcase their starkly different visions of France's future ahead of this weekend's presidential election run-off.  / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Eric FEFERBERG / ALTERNATIVE CROP         (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

French presidential candidates Marine Le Pen (left) and Emmanuel Macron (right) pose prior to the start of a debate in La Plaine-Saint-Denis on May 3, 2017.

Photographer: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images

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Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband seen at Senate House at Cambridge University, Tuesday, June 27, 2006. Prince Philip presided over a ceremony where Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England was given an honorary doctorate in law.  Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg News.

Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II's husband, is seen at Senate House at Cambridge University on June 27, 2006.

Photographer: Graham Barclay/Bloomberg

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