Canada.com has the details:
Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Segolene Royal jumped into their presidential run-off campaign Monday by wooing voters who deserted them for a farmer's son who championed the political middle.
Centrist Francois Bayrou didn't make the runoff, but his strong third-place showing in Sunday's first round of balloting could make him a kingmaker if he throws his support behind the law-and-order former interior minister or to the leftist with a chance of being France's first woman president.
Sarkozy wants to be a kinder, gentler kind of politician. Apparently, he can be a little gruff around the edges:
Sarkozy, who courted the far right during his campaign and is criticized by many for abrasive language, sought to soften his image as he appealed to voters in the middle, casting himself as "the candidate of openness."
"Openness of spirit is being able to take into consideration the positions of others, the ability to think that others might be right," he said at a rally in an eastern city, Dijon.
I'm sorry. But I do not recall DeGaulle being soft or gentle. And the last time I checked, he was still a hero. So what this has to do with running a country, I will never know.
But be that as it may, Bayrou is in a good position for both the short and the long-term. He can greatly influence this election in the short and with his new found name recognition (if he is smart), he can parlay this into a force or maybe even a movement, in the long-term scheme of things. But for now, the moment to be kingmaker has arrived. He holds the keys to the kingdom right now, and do not think for one minute that both Sego and Sarko do not know it. Just who will be giving the most, will be revealed in the coming days.
From the sounds of things, it may be a bit harder for Royal, even though some of Bayrou's support came from some of those disenchanted on the left:
Royal, who previously dismissed calls for an alliance with Bayrou, reached out to him Monday, saying she was available for a public dialogue.
"It is my responsibility to make this overture," she told supporters in the southern city of Valence. "I'm awaiting a response."
It's not good to turn your back on someone you may need later. I am sure that in hindsight, this now looks like a miscalculation on her part. Worse yet, she sounds like she knows she may still not get it. Note the emphasis on "I am awaiting a response". Like, Bayrou owes her something? It should be understood that not much context is given here, other than what we see. We cannot hear tone inflections in the print media, so I would caution against drawing the conclusion based solely on this. But, in the print media, it could be interpreted that she really expects something here. She will need to watch how she words things, from here on out.
That's one thing, but we have to consider other things as well. This thing may not only turn out to be a love-fest towards Bayrou, but may get to be a personality contest between the two remaining candidates:
Political analyst Dominique Moisi agreed: "There are very few 'extra troops' so to speak for Segolene Royal. The only thing she can dream for is to turn this election into a referendum against the personality of Nicolas Sarkozy."
That sounds like one thing the French election process has in common with it's American counterpart. When you cannot win the free exchange of ideas, you get personal. But what Sego needs to realize is, there are people that would be willing to complain about her management style too. In her campaign early on, her reputation suffered somewhat due to some problems along this line. Rumors have circulated on occasions that she is a micromanaging autocrat, as is her opponent.
So, I guess this should come as no surprise that both would have to tread lightly on making this an issue, at this late point in the game. If it didn't matter before, it's not going to matter now. But, if things start to go south for either candidate, I wouldn't be surprised if the gloves came off a bit.
But for now, it appears it's all about "establisment types" kissing someone's derrière. And that would be a "non-establishment type" someone named Francois Bayrou.