Hostility Toward France's Tough-on-Crime Candidate

Paris-based reporter Elaine Sciolino continued her strange fight against the right-of-center French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who is running for president of France, in Wednesday's "As Voter Registration Soars, French Presidential Candidates Woo Troubled Suburbs."

"[Socialist candidate Segolene] Royal is portraying herself as the mother-protector of France, a healing force who cares about the underdog.

"By contrast, her main rival, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, the candidate of the governing center-right Union for a Popular Movement party, has yet to shed his image as the enemy of France's underclasses.

"Shortly before the widespread unrest in the fall of 2005, Mr. Sarkozy was in the Parisian suburb Argenteuil when he called angry young suburbanites 'scum.' That remark, combined with his huge deployment of police to return the country to calm after rioting broke out and his criticism of France's immigration policy as too lenient, has contributed to his image as a man who is feared rather than loved."

Bashing Sarkozy is nothing new for Sciolino.On January 15 she described his reputation as "the country's unforgiving and divisive enforcer of law and order..."