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Gingrich has them talking

August 28, 2007

Re "Debates that say something," Opinion, Aug. 23

Never in a billion years would I have expected to be in such agreement with Newt Gingrich. His "Nine Nineties in Nine" proposal, while alliteratively strange, is not just sensible, it is imperative.

Debates among presidential candidates are currently an embarrassment. At best, they are poor performance art. Nine 90-minute conversations without overbearing moderators and absurd rules of engagement are our best shot at understanding the intellect and temperament of the next U.S. president. Anyone who declines participation should simply be disqualified from the race.

Claude Goldenberg

Seal Beach

Congressional staffers used to laughingly recount how they would file "Newt's Next Big Idea" -- the bad ones in a large filing cabinet, the good ones in a thin file. I would put this one in the thin file.

Anyone who witnesses the British prime minister answer relentless questioning by Parliament must be impressed by the eloquence, facility and command of the issues of those esteemed speakers.

I have often thought that if we had a similar system of ongoing debate within our government, it would be impossible for someone like George W. Bush to be elected president; that the emperor had no clothes would become immediately apparent to all.

David J. Ryan

La Habra

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