Give us specifics on solutions In Tuesday night's debate, it was great to finally hear presidential candidates talk about how they would rebuild our economy and improve access to health care. But the candidates' responses to the well-thought-out questions still lacked specifics.
As a voter, I'm disheartened by the continual attacks by both sides on the other's character. I don't care who is friends with whom. I don't care about what someone did 20 years ago. And I'm troubled that the campaigns spend much more time and resources on petty attacks and name-calling.
After nearly two years of debates and discussion, we still haven't heard full details of how the candidates would ensure financial and retirement security. We still haven't heard how they will ensure that all Americans have access to quality and affordable health care. We haven't heard details on how they plan to rebuild our economy and our standing in the world.
Stop bickering. Start telling us why we should vote for you, not why we shouldn't vote for the other guy.
Sondra Whitmer, Treasure Island
More than sound bites
Listening to the rhetoric in the Tuesday night debate, I wondered who else noticed that no one was answering any of the questions posed.
We had sound bites, political posturing, etc. What ever happened to people demanding answers to pertinent, proper questions? What is going on with the press, the debate rules and the moderators?
I will not waste another minute watching a so-called debate.
Who cares about the gaffes, zingers and style points? What questions were really answered?
Give us the details and the facts, not the sound bites and headlines.
Joe Sohlberg, St. Petersburg
Obama showed a lack of business sense
In the Tuesday night debate, Barack Obama proved that he has no clue about small business. He stated that we need to loosen up money so small business can make their payrolls. Any small business that has to borrow money for payroll is not going to be in business very long!
I have owned and operated a small business in St. Petersburg for more than 25 years. The only times we have ever borrowed money was to purchase equipment or the assets of another business.
Whatever happened to the practice of having a safety net of cash on hand when times are tough?
The problems that we are in now are a result of making money too easy to borrow. We have Democrats like Barney Frank to thank for that.
If Obama is this clueless on small business, I hate to think of him running a big business (the country).
Jim Byers, St. Petersburg
Address current challenges
I am left disturbed and disappointed after the second presidential debate. Neither candidate addressed the 500-point loss the market had endured that very day.
I understand that the world is changing in front of these men's eyes, but I expect our next president to react aggressively to the day's challenges. That being said, I am more likely to vote for Barack Obama than John McCain.
I lay the blame for deregulation and the unbelievable cost of the war at the feet of the Republican Party, regardless of their attempts to distance themselves from their own president's actions.
Neither candidate is perfect, but I believe we were and are a happier, healthier, safer and more prosperous nation under Democratic leadership.
Keith Richardson, St. Petersburg
The wealthy pay the way
Contrary to what Sen. Barack Obama thinks, the rich in our country, overwhelmingly, are the people who invest in companies that create jobs and expand the middle class. Since they are rich, they don't need the income and could just as well put their money in tax-free investments or worse, invest abroad.
The wealthiest 1 percent in this country pay more than a quarter of the taxes. The top fifth pay over two-thirds. Taxing them more can and will move them to invest in countries overseas, which will be more than happy to grant them tax incentives. The rich drive our economy and the future of our country. We cannot afford to lose them with a socialist policy of redistribution of wealth.
Rich Golden, San Antonio
An astonishing goal
In Tuesday's debate, candidate Barack Obama asserted clearly and specifically that, in his view, medical care should be a right in the United States.
We have a Bill of Rights and several other amendments to the Constitution which identify our rights. Obama's assertion of a new right to medical care presumably means he looks to federalize the medical care system, for how else to meet his extraordinary standard?
I was astonished that the press, including the St. Petersburg Times, did not zero in on this huge and extremely controversial statement. Where do you stand on this issue? Paying for this "right" will make the bailout pale in significance. Making medical care free and/or compulsory is an astonishing goal.
Linus F. Upson, Hernando
A different McCain
I supported John McCain in the 2000 Republican presidential primaries, where he ran a respectful and honorable campaign. In March of this year McCain pledged to continue to run a respectful and honorable campaign. I always considered him a man of honor, but now I question that after his approval of the recent negative ads and the negative approach that his campaign has taken.
I always thought he was the type of man who would take the high road and not stoop to the negative tactics of others.
If he had stuck to his word, he would have appeared more presidential and perhaps would not be having such a problem in the polls. Now he just appears desperate. Bring back the John McCain from 2000, the real maverick!
Glenn Smith, Tampa
I am concerned over the recent attempt to portray Sen. Barack Obama as a terrorist and the "kill him" comment that was made at the recent Sarah Palin rally in Clearwater. This letter is not an attempt to support either candidate but to express my sincere sorrow that the Republicans have crossed a line. This is dangerous territory!
I remember the '60s and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. I cried when Ronald Reagan was shot. We do not do things that way in this country.
It is easy to stir up hatred but impossible to control. This is the equivalent of crying fire in a crowded theater. Please stop this character assassination before it becomes the real thing.
Patricia Owens, Oldsmar