And he does so knowing he has some catching up to do in the polls.
As the New York Times reports, Mr. Sarkozy used a television interview in France to offer a not-so-subtle hint that his nation cannot afford a Socialist-led government.
“If we want to defend the French social model,” Mr. Sarkozy said, striking an almost fatherly tone, “we will need to take the necessary measures.”
Six months before a re-election campaign that has yet to formally begin, Mr. Sarkozy — his popularity at an all-time low — painted a pessimistic tableau of slowing economic growth and deeper spending cuts aimed at shoring up France’s credibility with financial markets. And while he did not directly take aim at his main Socialist opponent, François Hollande, he dismissed popular keystones of past Socialist governments, including the 35-hour work week and retirement at age 60, as untenable vestiges of a pre-crisis era that would only complicate France’s efforts to revive economic growth.
“We will have to revise and adapt our budget plan to the new reality,” Mr. Sarkozy told an estimated 12 million viewers as he revealed that his government had lowered its forecast for gross domestic product growth next year to 1 percent from a previous outlook of 1.75 percent. To compensate for an anticipated decline in 2012 tax revenues, he said he would announce a program of budget cuts of between €6 billion, or $8.5 billion, and €8 billion by mid-November.France 24 notes that not surprisingly the French media reacted to the president's remarks in predictable ways. And as RFI reports, Mr. Sarkozy reminded his audience that without the Euro debt deal that was hammered out earlier this week, France would have found itself in that same economic vise.
With an opinion poll last week showing him at 36 per cent compared to Socialist presidential candidate François Hollande’s 64 per cent, Sarkozy tried to grab a little glory from Thursday’s eurozone deal.
"If the euro had exploded last night, all of Europe would have exploded," he said. “If Greece had defaulted, there would have been a domino effect carrying everyone away. If there had not been an agreement last night, it was not just Europe that would have sunk into catastrophe, it was the whole world."Mr. Hollande also went on television, and he quickly dismissed most of what Mr. Sarkozy said.