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    French candidate Emmanuel Macron endorsed by Barack Obama

    French candidate Emmanuel Macron endorsed by Barack Obama

    Doug Stanglin , USATODAY
    Published 11:00 a.m. ET May 4, 2017

    Former President Barack Obama says he's not planning to get involved in many elections, but he is showing support for Emmanuel Macron. The ad was posted on the French presidential candidate's Facebook page.

    Former president Barack Obama, who is wildly popular in France, has formally endorsed French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron, an independent centrist he calls the candidate of "hope."

    The unusual high-profile endorsement by a former U.S. president in a foreign election amounts to something of a proxy fight with President Trump, who has spoken positively of right-wing candidate Marine Le Pen of the National Front party.

    Obama's remarks appear in a taped message, with French subtitles, posted on Macron's campaign En Marche!website.

    “I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run,” Obama said. “He has stood up for liberal values. He put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world, and he is committed to a better future for the French people."

    In a none-too-subtle reference to his own campaign, Obama said Macron "appeals to people's hopes and not their fears."

    Trump, in an interview last month with the Associated Press, said although he was not offering an endorsement in the race, he thinks Le Pen is “strongest on borders, and she’s the strongest on what’s been going on in France.”

    France's far-right Marine Le Pen hopes no-shows hand her Trump-like upset

    Le Pen, who has mounted a populist campaign, and Macron, who beat France's two major-party candidates in a primary election with his pro-European Union message, face off Sunday in the final round of voting for president. The latest polls show Macron leading Le Pen by about 20 points.

    Obama's involvement in the French election, while uncommon, is clearly an attempt by Macron to tap into the former president's strong support among the French.

    A poll released this week by the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston shows Obama with a 90% favorable rating in France, compared to Trump's 82% unfavorable rating.

    Obama, in the statement, said he is not planning to get involved in many elections now that he is out of office, "but the French election is very important to the future of France and the values we care so much about." He added that the success of France "matters to the entire world."

    "Because of how important this election is," he says,"I also want you to know that I am supporting Emmanuel Macron to lead you forward."

    He ends by saying in French: "En marche (Onward). Vive la France." En Marche refers to the independent political party Macron founded last year.

    Macron's campaign asked for Obama's support following a conversation between the two last month, according to a statement from Obama's office. The two spoke in April when Obama phoned the presidential hopeful "to discuss their relationship and express his admiration for the independent movement Macron has been leading."

    Obama decided to express his support more publicly "because this is an important moment for the French people and France’s success impacts how the entire world confronts international challenges on the global stage," the statement said.

    Contributing: David Jackson in Washington
    Last edited by Judy; 05-05-2017 at 08:30 AM.
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