Three-quarters of France is expected to tune in tonight to the sole debate between François Holland and President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is in danger of becoming the first incumbent to lose since 1981.
The Dow slipped 102 points to close at 12927 Monday as worrying news out of Europe sent US stocks sharply lower.
Both François Hollande and incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy now advance to a runoff presidential election on May 6.
Germany and Switzerland signed a treaty today in which Switzerland agreed to impose taxes on Germans' secret accounts in Swiss banks, but the deal still falls short of the transparency Germany wants.
Germany's traditional family policies have forced German women to choose between a career and motherhood. The consequences could slow its economic momentum.
Some European leaders want to give the permanent bailout fund as much money as possible, but others say that will do nothing to deter a repeat of the current debt crisis.
Both Germany's new President Joachim Gauck and Chancellor Angela Merkel hail from the former communist East Germany, marking a turning point in the country's reintegration efforts.
The Greek bailout and cheap loans may have pulled Europe back from the edge, but economists warn that without real change, the eurozone will continue to teeter.
As prosperous Germany reshapes Europe's fiscal operating system to fit the German doctrine of austerity, questions and warnings are on the rise.
Germany has been heavily criticized for its 'German doctrine' of austerity, but Germans are confident that it will work for the rest of Europe and are tired of apologizing for their success.