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>> A rally in central Paris to inject life into an embattled campaign. Pundits saying it's make or break for Francois Fillon's bid for the French presidency. The scandal plagued politician taking to the podium Sunday, an attempt to show he's still in it.>>
> It's my fault the project I carry, in which I believe in, which you believe in, is running into such formidable obstacles.
I made the first mistake I told you, by asking my wife to work for me because she knew the grounds, because it was practical. I should not have done it. And I made the second mistake by hesitating on the way in which to speak about it. To speak to you about it, to speak to the French people about it.
But just before this stage managed show of force, a fellow conservative went of script. Christian Estrosi telling French TV a number of party heavyweights will call for him to be replaced. Once a front-runner, Fillon is marred in scandal over his wife's pay. His campaign in trouble since news he may be formally investigated.
Party leaders are set to meet Monday for crisis talks. This an attempt by Fillon to show them he can still pull in a crowd, but the thousands in attendance might not be enough. Conservatives must think about Marine Le Pen to their right and in Poland Emmanuel Macron on the left.
The real popularity test will likely come behind closed doors amongst party elites.