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McCain-Obama debate, debated

September 30, 2008

Re "Too close to call," editorial, Sept. 27

Your editorial concluded that Friday's debate "showed that John McCain is clear-eyed about the threats to America."

You were apparently watching a different debate than I was. As Barack Obama correctly pointed out, McCain was wrong about the need to invade Iraq, wrong that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators, wrong about the ease with which that invasion would be concluded and wrong about weapons of mass destruction.

In what way, then, is McCain "clear-eyed" about the security threats this country faces? To the contrary, Friday's debate made it painfully obvious that he needs to have his eyes examined.

Erik Goldner

Northridge

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The first presidential debate made it clear why McCain doesn't want to negotiate with our foreign adversaries: He can't. McCain couldn't even look Obama in the eye.

McCain behaved like he was still a POW bent on survival -- don't ever look your captor in the eye. His avoidance tactic is a losing strategy.

Tom Avildsen

Woodland Hills

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I listened to the first half of the debate between McCain and Obama on the radio and watched the remainder on TV. I was immediately reminded of the Kennedy/Nixon debate of 1960.

Listening to the debate, McCain seemed strong in his delivery and his message. The television visual, however, was a different story. Obama was statesmanlike, assertive and very presidential. McCain, on the other hand, appeared nervous, angry and fidgety. Worst of all, when he never once looked at Obama during the entire debate, he appeared weak or even frightened.

McCain needs to heed the lesson of the Kennedy/Nixon exchange and quickly learn how to effectively use the medium of television to his advantage. Otherwise, he will likely suffer Nixon's 1960 fate.

Ken Blalack

La Mesa

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Re "Fence-sitters inch to McCain," Sept. 27

This article reports that "Friday's debate provided a slight boost for Republican John McCain." This proclamation comes from the apparent fact that six of 14 undecided voters in Pennsylvania said they were more likely to vote for McCain after watching the debate, and only four moved to Obama.

This conclusion, then, was drawn from the response of one single person deciding one way rather than the other.

The headline of this article that covers over half a page states in large print that "Fence-sitters inch to McCain." To inch implies movement, and one person is movement?

Reports of movement have been shown to affect some voters, and to report that these data support movement is a misleading sham and a shame for a major newspaper like The Times.

Earl R. Carlson

Long Beach

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