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Debate offered only dueling sound bites

Debate skates over tough issues | Sept. 27, editorial

Debate offered dueling sound bites You complain that career politicians chumming for votes did not really address anything of significance in a modern televised "debate" that as usual descended into regurgitated, dueling sound bites. In these days that are so troubling, no one can speak the truth about anything and actually get elected.

Plus this nonsense was invented to fit into the 24-hour campaign coverage that drives elections like a reality TV show's continuous blooper reel. You guys created it and are far more responsible for fixing it than the politicians playing the game.

Instead of what the public needs to hear, we get two Neros fiddling through a faux boxing Punch and Judy show, pandering about tax cuts from parts unknown and sloganeering the demonic nature of the other side.

If there really is anyone indecisive after a year and a half of this drivel, they would probably prefer not being distracted from football player dancing shows.

Back to sleep.

Dale Friedley, St. Petersburg

Just fodder for pundits

Watching the presidential debate on Friday night was a waste of time! Debates on the television today do nothing for most of the ordinary people who haven't the time to watch them either because they are working two jobs to support their families or taking care of their personal needs after returning home from their work.

These "debates" only offer fodder for the spin of the political pundits on TV. It was obvious John McCain thought he was above Barack Obama, without looking in his direction, and this demeanor is exactly what the people have had in the White House for the last eight years.

Russell Lee Johnson, St. Petersburg

McCain calls Obama naive in first debate Sept. 27, story

Don't mislead readers with slanted headline

Did we watch the same debate? The conventional wisdom was that John McCain would showcase his foreign policy experience while Barack Obama would demonstrate his inexperience. The debate did not conform to those expectations: Obama clearly showed himself to be knowledgeable and articulate on foreign policy. He had a global view of the interconnectedness of foreign policy, global financial situation and our national economy. McCain looked at each issue as a separate, unconnected problem and proposed continuing last century solutions.

McCain did call Obama naive on foreign policy while Obama called McCain wrong on the Iraq war. Repeating either of those characterizations without context is inaccurate and a disservice to your readers.

Usually the St. Petersburg Times is evenhanded and objective in its approach to politics. Not this time. Your headline and article mischaracterize the debate and mislead your readers.

Johanna deVryer, Tampa

McCain calls Obama naive in first debate Sept. 27, story

Read on for full story

I sincerely object to this headline used to portray the essence of the first debate between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama.

It lends credibility to a charge Obama clearly refuted in his responses throughout the evening. His thoughtful, nuanced comments contrasted starkly with McCain's angry condescension.

McCain is the one who does not "get it." Much of the rest of the world and a good portion of the United States has tired of the strident, simplistic "bring 'em on" language of the current occupant. I, for one, am looking for a leader who is equipped to deal with complexity and think before speaking and acting.

I hope that readers pressed for time did not simply absorb your ill-conceived headline without reading the fairly balanced article which followed.

David Spangler, St. Petersburg

McCain calls Obama naive in first debate Sept. 27, story

Debate had no winner

With all there was to say about the debate, your editor chose the headline "McCain calls Obama naive in first debate." Don't you think this is a little biased? Anyone seeing this headline would think John McCain won this debate.

I don't think anyone actually won the debate, and McCain certainly didn't hit a home run on foreign policy, which is his supposed area of expertise.

Del Palmer, Tampa

McCain shows he's a gambler | Sept. 28, story

Bringing skill to bear

The article on Page 1A of the Sunday paper really belonged on the op-ed pages.

Attaching the label "gambler" to John McCain is a not-so-subtle attempt to smear him with the negative attributes usually associated with the moniker.

I think McCain is better understood as a fighter pilot. His risk-taking is based on a foundation of training, skill, confidence and experience. He sizes up situations, makes decisions, and acts more quickly than his adversary. He knows he may take some hits, but he also understands "no guts, no glory."

Jim Clees, St. Petersburg

McCain shows he's a gambler | Sept. 28, story

Skip the risk

Sunday, a Times article described John McCain as a risk-taking gambler with an unpredictable nature.

This is a serious concern for all Americans. As a retired senior living on a fixed income, I shudder to think of Social Security benefits, health care, education and the future of this country being decided on an impulsive roll of the dice.

The first debate clearly indicated a sharp contrast between an out-of-touch warrior of the past and a young progressive thinker of the future. Barack Obama has continued to be a calm voice with a broader world view and a thoughtful approach to the problems we face in this troubled nation.

McCain's disrespectful refusal to look at Obama during the debate reminded me of something my father used to say: "Never trust a man who can't look you in the eye." Hopefully voters will agree.

Mimi Bryan, Tampa

Fair weather fans

First of all, congratulations to the Rays for winning the American League East and best of luck in the postseason.

I have one question for many of you Rays fans who couldn't wait to buy playoff tickets. Where were you the past 10 seasons when the team really needed you?

Anthony Margiotta, Seminole

Paul Newman

A great loss

Paul Newman's death is a loss to the world. Not only was he a great actor but he was an upstanding American citizen and he will be remembered for freely giving millions to charity.

To Joanne Woodward: There are many of us who cry with you. It was obvious that you loved him and nurtured him. We offer you and your family our condolences. We will also miss him.

Judith M. Stevens, Clearwater

Debate offered only dueling sound bites 09/29/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 30, 2008 8:13pm]
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