No holding back for Biden, Ryan | Oct. 12
Biden called out inconsistencies
In the first presidential debate, President Barack Obama was concerned with giving clear answers to the questions asked and not appearing too negative toward his opponent. Consequently, he failed to press Mitt Romney about the obvious contradictions in his positions.
On Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden did not fall into those traps. He consistently called our attention to the inconsistencies in his opponent's positions. To start with, it is clear that you cannot reduce tax rates across the board, give tax cuts to small businesses reporting as individuals, refuse any tax cut that will increase the deficit, and not increase taxes on the middle class. It is also apparent that proposing to eliminate deductions without specifying which ones are targeted is just political smoke and mirrors.
Rep. Paul Ryan, in contrast, spent his time accusing the current administration of mishandling domestic, fiscal and foreign policy, without specifying what a Romney administration would do differently. This is characteristic of their "Etch A Sketch" strategy. By trying to hide or change the positions Romney spent the past year defining, they hope to solicit votes without actually committing to any course of policy.
Gregg Niemi, Tampa
No holding back for Biden, Ryan | Oct. 12
Not a draw — a drubbing
I wonder if Times reporter Alex Leary and I were watching the same vice presidential debate. Leary referred to the showdown as a "draw" between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, but it was clear to me that a masterful Biden soundly secured victory over his arrogant, junior colleague.
Rather than a draw, I think most viewers would agree it was a drubbing.
Jon Paul S. Brooker, Gulfport
Rude and condescending
Joe Biden looked like and more importantly acted like an old man treading water and gasping for air. After four years as vice president and a career in the Senate, he looked nothing like "presidential." His lack of facts was only exceeded by his rudeness and condescending demeanor.
John Osterweil, Tampa
No record to run on
The Times didn't go far enough when it described Vice President Joe Biden as snarky during the debate. He was also arrogant, rude and condescending towards Congressman Ryan. This is no surprise since it's also how his administration treats the American people and, more importantly, the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
To paraphrase President Barack Obama in his 2008 speech, when your record stinks, you attack. If the enemies of the United States were treated with the same vigor we would be much safer today.
Richard Golden, San Antonio
Vote yes on Pinellas school levy Oct. 12, editorial
Music in the schools
As a music educator, I am writing to thank our community for approving the Pinellas County education referendum in 2004 and again in 2008.
This referendum has provided important funds for music education in Pinellas County schools. I can't thank you enough for the music equipment, instruments and technology that have been purchased for students because of this additional funding.
It is exciting to see tangible, positive results every day from the referendum dollars. On Nov. 6, voters will once again get the opportunity to vote on this issue.
Music education is alive and well in Pinellas County schools because of you. Thank you.
Lisa M. Lehmann, president, Pinellas County Music Educators Association, Largo
Early voting warning
It will be too bad and too late for the thousands of voters who participate in "early voting," and consequently do not have the benefit of all of the facts needed to make an informed decision. We need to take into consideration the reality that very important information can and does come up during the debates or at the last minute.
MaryJane J. Dodds, St. Petersburg
Bite turned monkey from friend to foe Oct. 12
Leave animals alone
Regarding the woman who was bitten by the roaming monkey and the child recently bitten by a raccoon: What is it going to take to teach people not to encourage and feed a wild animal? People are just looking for trouble in thinking they can befriend a wild animal.
Elizabeth Bridwell, Hudson
Reality, a product of the vast left-wing conspiracy | Oct. 11, commentary
Give us the facts
Leonard Pitts' column brought to mind the dystopian novel 1984, which depicts a totalitarian society bent on total control of thought and facts. One of the most disturbing practices used to accomplish these goals in George Orwell's tale is the "Ministry of Truth," a government agency that alters historical records to fit the needs of the party in power.
The current penchant of our leaders to twist, alter and malign facts is a disturbing trend. Lies are the essence of a totalitarian society. The truth is the bane of a society that controls rather than represents its people.
This "War on Reality" may be one of the most important issues facing us today. Without facts, truth and honest discourse, democracy cannot exist.
Roz Fenton, Hudson