Porte de Versailles, January 14, 2007: 70,000 spectators flock to the Parisian enclosure to listen to Nicolas Sarkozy’s founding speech. The UMP candidate recounts his career as a “little Frenchman of mixed blood” and unfolds his national story. The meeting is a triumph and launches the presidential adventure of the former Minister of the Interior. An exciting campaign, as was in parallel that of her socialist rival Ségolène Royal.
Fifteen years later, Valérie Pécresse fails in a similar exercise at the Zénith de Paris. The speech is mocked on the form, its bottom hardly prints. This failure could be placed in the radius of the simple misses, which populate all the presidential elections. It is actually more than that. “It reveals an academic and smooth campaign”, analyzes a lieutenant of the candidate Les Républicains (LR). “I have lived through happier and more dynamic ones”, smiles another.
The president of Ile-de-France fails to give momentum to her Elysian race. She suffers from the comparison with Eric Zemmour and Marine Le Pen, rivals in an unofficial primary to reach the second round of voting. The first raises the crowds in a campaign as radical as it is joyful. “He’s doing a fucking campaign. The best,” notes a member of the Pécresse team, of moderate tendency. The second survived the rise of the polemicist by playing the card of proximity and the betrayed woman. Valérie Pécresse is dependent on the aging image of LR.