After last Sunday's failed triumph, ZDF managed to create a stable backdrop for Olaf Scholz on Tuesday evening.

The studio decoration from Sunday had partially collapsed during the broadcast.

With Scholz everything stayed in its place.

The discussion topics on Tuesday evening also seemed closer to German reality than Armin Laschet's artificial aggression and the pale anger of Olaf Scholz, who was harassed at times.

Peter Carstens

Political correspondent in Berlin

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That evening, twelve days before the election, it was all about the Social Democrats and his plans for Germany's future. The subject of “Wirecard” came up quickly, however, this time as a factual dialogue between a betrayed small investor and the finance minister (“I am saddened by you.”). Scholz saw and still sees his responsibility in this criminal case in “drawing the right conclusions”.

For the program "Klartext" the candidates for chancellor from the Union, SPD and Greens are invited to a forum and answer questions from around 70 citizens, women and men, who each briefly present their problems and thus connect one or more questions to the candidates.

And because Olaf Scholz was the only guest on that evening, the snotty ping-pong between Scholz, Laschet and Annalena Baerbock was canceled without replacement, which considerably increased the knowledge gained.

The toughest thing Scholz said about the political competition that evening was that he wished the Union the opportunity to rearrange itself in the opposition.

Objectivity and self-confidence

Scholz also used the ZDF format because he is a fan of well-founded objectivity. And also the pleasant phrases that he has been trying out for weeks at events. Coupled with the increased self-confidence of the leader in surveys, Chancellor candidate Scholz looked relaxed. The moderators Bettina Schausten and Peter Frey saw it as their task to disturb the emerging cosiness by asking more pointed questions. For example, after the Twitter public relations work of his State Secretary and confidante Wolfgang Schmidt, who allegedly illegally disseminated details of a house search in the Ministry of Finance.

The whole thing affects at least the SPD as part of an election maneuver outside of political fairness.

Nevertheless, the moderators' question about Schmidt's remaining in office seemed so harmless to Scholz that he did not even answer it and then no one asked.

Mostly, however, it was about the subjects of the citizens who had come to the old telegraph office in Berlin Mitte.

Matthias wheels from Templin, for example, asked how he and his family could find an apartment.

"A legitimate topic that has been on my mind for a long time," said Scholz, referring to his good record in terms of housing construction in Hamburg.

For the federal government, he is aiming for 400,000 new apartments per year, 100,000 of them with social ties.

Until they are finished, the rent increase should be limited.