Revisiting the Royal-Sarkozy Debate: A Bizarre Impression Explained

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PARIS — One of the dominant impressions left by the televised debate between Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal last Wednesday was that of a strange disconnectedness of Royal’s discourse from both the questions posed and, above all, the remarks of her ostensible “debating partner” Sarkozy. It was as if Royal was reciting from a prepared script — in which, however, only her lines were written and hence she could not be sure when exactly to pronounce them. This bizarre impression was undoubtedly most pronounced during the most widely cited “exchange” of the debate: when Royal suddenly raised her voice, declaring […]

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