News of Thursday's gunman attack in Paris reached French presidential candidates during a televised debate, just days before Sunday's election. Matthew Larotonda reports.
The (April 20) gunman attack in Paris that was claimed by Islamic State comes just three days before France holds one of the most closely watched presidential elections in modern times. It's a race where questions of identity and immigration have been in focus, and news of the attack reached the candidates in the middle of a televised debate. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENTAIL CANDIDATE EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "This threat is incalculable, and it's going to be a part of our daily lives for years to come." That from Emmanuel Macron, the centrist whose lead in the race has slimmed in the last week, which also saw the arrest of two men in Marseille on Tuesday (April 18), who had explosives and multiple guns in an apartment. After Sunday's first round, any two of the top four contenders are expected to face each other in a run-off. One of them, conservative Francois Fillon said campaigning should be suspended early in light of the attack. It was rebuffed by far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who said the violence shouldn't disrupt the democratic process. But the country's champion of the far-right, Marine Le Pen - whose anti-migrant National Front Party platforms on closing the EU's border - said her rivals were ignoring the bottom line. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MARINE LE PEN, SAYING: "Feelings of sadness of course for the law enforcement officers who are once more paying a heavy price in the fight against Islamic fundamentalism, and dull anger because I feel that not everything is being done -- I'm saying it simply and clearly -- to protect our compatriots." It's a close race, with the most likely scenario coming down to Le Pen versus Macron in the run-off. For months Macron's been expected to ultimately win that battle. A poll conducted just before the attack predicting a victory with 65 percent of the vote.