Election Connection

Timing is Everything

The upcoming presidential debate may be focused on foreign policy issues, but that's not the issue on the minds of many voters this week.


With the bailout bill working its way through Congress and the stock markets trembling, it's clear that the economy and housing are taking center stage. Even with Sen. John McCain's running mate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin meeting world leaders at the U.N. and President Bush making his final address there yesterday, the events were merely a blip on the radar for most of America.

Patchwork Nation's Dante Chinni is traveling to key states this week and he reports on how voters are following the turmoil on Wall Street and whether the "Palin effect" is still holding strong for McCain.

"I sent out a query about the economy last week to of all my communities and heard back from nearly all of them close to immediately. The upshot was most of them were waiting to see what the candidates were saying, but there was, even in the early stages, a sign of softening for McCain. 

All the Obama supporters said the news on the economy made them more fervent in their support and most of the McCain people said it wouldn't make any difference. But at least one McCain supporter was backing off. And the people I would say are undecided were... well ... undecided, but seemed to be leaning toward Obama."

What has been the reaction to Palin, now that she is becoming more known politician on the trail? Chinni says the "Palin effect" is starting to wear off in some of the communities he has visited.

"The other interesting thing going on out there is the sudden diminishing of the Palin effect. Is it because of the economic crisis, or simply a concurrent development, based on her performance? It's not clear, maybe some of both. But it looks like she may be costing McCain votes, especially among better educated, wealthier women. People I spoken with in Eagle, Los Alamos, and even here in El Mirage, AZ (where I am today) have said she has pushed them away from McCain. One of the women here, who owns a restaurant, said Palin was the deciding factor in pushing her from McCain."

What are the trends in your community? Do they reflect what Patchwork Nation is seeing in their analysis?


Dinah Howey-Mouat said:

I believe that the debate scheduled for Friday should continue -- particularly to give voice to
the candidate's views regarding the different proposed solutions to the economic meltdown.
rather than foreign affairs.

I also hope that Jim Lehrer will ask both candidates if they will release their personal health and financial
records, if they actually do believe in transparency.

Jane McMillan said:

The debate should go on as scheduled. Voters are too concerned about their own futures and that of the country to be put off for any reason. We want to know NOW what each candidate thinks he can do towards fixing the current economic mess, what he thinks Congress should be doing to address the problems, who should be helped and how that can happen. We re tired of negative campaigning with slurs about what's wrong with the other party. We want positive specifics from each so that we can decide for ourselves who has the better plan or ideas. We are angry. We are upset. We are fed up. And, if you have to ask "WHY?", you are part of the problem. Please ask the questions for us as if it really matters to you, too. I sincerely hope it does. Thanks for this opportunity. JM

MaryAnn Burman said:

The debates should certainly continue. I would like to hear more about possible solutions to this financial crisis. I have zero trust in this administration and therefore have a high level of caution about any solutions they would put forth.

Teresa Herlinger said:

I just read that it has already cost U of Mississippi 5.5 million dollars to host this debate. Having the debate as planned won't have any impact on the Wall Street bailout or any other economic issue, but postponing it will devastate this university. They say they probably couldn't host it in the future, as all their resources will have been sapped. It would be terribly unfair to them, and to the American public, to cancel it, and there is no good reason to do so. McCain needs to step up and have this debate, ready or not.

Charles Whitman said:

Politics is (are) our national scourge. For us, the presidential election ended this past January, though we did glimpse a bit of Super-Tuesday news. Since then, we've gotten on with our lives and have watched zero campaign coverage. Life is too short to spend so many months (or years!) mired in a political campaign. Imagine the wasted money, time, effort, and energy on the part of candidates, media, and viewers, among others! Other countries do it in 6 or 8 weeks--France, for example. So get over it, America: end your narcissistic obsession with presidential politics. Get rid of the electoral college. And revise the Constitution to provide for a parliamentary system like so many nations have, with the executive chosen from the same party that controls the legislature; the so-called "checks-and-balances" of our present system really translate into nothing more than "gridlock", as we all have learned. Until those reforms occur, the U.S. will be the world's foremost "failed state", far more so than Iran or North Korea.

D. Dunlap said:

Would I like to have seen the debate? Sure. I would have loved to listen to these two canidates tell us again how they are they smartest people in the room. I would have loved to hear how they were going to fix the problem that they help create. I wanted to hear how it was our responsablity, as tax payers, to correct this situation. To hear how complicated this all was, so much that you and couldn't understand it. Just PAY for it. We would not have heard about what or who was involed. You could have bet that we would have never heard that maybe congress needed to do like so many businesses have to do and cut back on spending. NOPE! It would have been interesting to hear how we had to stand up and be patriotic and give more. There will be now reform and nothing will get better until a lot of folks stop believing pretty words and start asking questions again, (from either party), and we get to gether, Liberals and conservitives and remember that these politicians are nothing more then civil servants, They work for us, we don't work for them. Look back the past twenty to thirty years and you can see why we are where we are, congress has not and does not solve problems, they just put band aids on bullet holes and paint pretty pictures.


Miriam G. Aw said:

Questions About "Credibility, Integrity, and Character,"

Senator Obama was correct to have this debate due to the time, money, and collaboration on the part of the university to put together a forum of this magnitude, and importance to America. And it is apparently clear that Obama was also correct when he stated that he believed that their presence at the 'bail out meetings' will cause distractions, and it should not be politicized in any way by them being there. Since President Bush, who is the Commander in Chief, personally telephoned and "asked" Sen. Obama to be present, he respectfully agreed to attend, yet, he still remained firm on his stance that the Friday debate should commence as scheduled. It is additionally apparent now that some members of BOTH parties (Republican & Democrat) firmly believe that [specifically] McCain and Obama should have the debates, go on about their daily campaigning, so that Congress can tackle the issues in these bail out meetings without any interference from either candidate, especially McCain, who IS NOT a part of the negotiation process!

My FIRST question to Sen. McCain would be put very simply: Has the public announcement of you suspending your campaign this past Wednesday, and since negotiations that appeared to be unified then by both Republicans & Democrats have now proven to be naught, since your arrival at these meetings?

My SECOND question to McCain: Is it presidential to abruptly cancel, or postpone events, such as your own presidential campaign, t.v. shows, this debate prior to your agreement on attending, etc., and choose where you want to go, meet, etc., without giving any forethought to your actions, or to whom you're committed to at that time?

My THIRD question to McCain: David Letterman, t.v. talk show host, publicly stated that he understood why you canceled your appearance on the show citing that the country is in a financial crisis, and you had to be there in Washington, D.C. immediately. But when he, and the American viewing audience learned that you was approximately six blocks away preparing for an interview with CBS news anchor, Katie Couric, and had shown you "live" getting prepped (makeup), Letterman, as well as America literally caught you in a lie! Isn't is insulting to believe that Mr. Letterman can not be serious about this 'bail out' issue at hand, but more importantly, such a dismissal can be interpreted to be that Mr. Letterman is a buffoon, which we all know that he is quite an intelligent man.

A FEW more questions to Sen. McCain about Gov. Palin:

How does having Gov. Palin meeting a few 'heads-of-state' leaders at the U.N. qualify her, now, to have foreign policy experience?

Doesn't it take an actual 'visit' to one's country, and have lengthy engaged dialogue to resolved issues: For example: Gov. Palin stated in an interview with Katie Couric of CBS news that she would not second guess, or question, Israel if they decided to attack Iran, when in fact our current President Bush "rejected" Israel's intentions on doing so. Plus, Gov. Palin also stated that she would not have talks with the Iran leader, Pres. Ahmedinejahd, unless there were pre-conditions using Henry Kissinger as an example that he operate[d] with pre-conditions when visiting some of these leaders, when in FACT, Mr. Kissinger DOES NOT have pre-conditions, which was confirmed by Katie Couric's on CBS news immediately after the Palin interview.
My FIRST question to Sen. Obama: How immediate will he propose to bring and attract NEW JOBS for the American people of ALL AGES, so that the working people can take care of their families?

My SECOND question to Sen. Obama: Like Kissinger, our current president, and other heads-of-state leaders, agree with you when you say that "dialogue" is VERY IMPORTANT to have when negotiating any issue or issues at hand. Many of these country leaders agree that you will make a great president, including the president of Iran. How can you convince us, the American people that they SHOULD NOT FEAR having YOU as a President who is respected and liked by BOTH allies and foes due to you possessing common sense, respecting that others have the right to quality of life, which is a PLUS for America, and the American people?

Mary Hill said:

I want to know why Jim Leher continues to be the moderator. He is inept at keeping the debate on track and the candidates within their time frames. The debate has become boring because Jim has no idea what he is doing. And what is up with him trying to get the two candidates to look at each other? And when Jim canít figure out what their answers really are he keeps asking them, over and over and over. Give it a rest. We should have skipped the debate or next time, I hope we have a competent moderator.
Mary H.

Cindy de Leon said:

Ask Senator Obama where he was when his friends in Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Wall Street, et al were dishing out the big bucks to him and sinking the American economy in the process?
Ask him why he believes that Iran and all the other tyrannical governments in the world want him elected as our next president?
Ask him if his mother taught him to be rude and condescending? He refuses to respect Senator McCain who by the simple virtue of being in the Senate much longer than he and having served this country much longer than Senator Obama has is deserving of much more respect. Respect has nothing to do with agreeing with one's political ideas.
Ask him about his constant paraphrasing of the Socialist line of thought.

Dixie from Dallas said:

Mary H, you hit the nail on the head! Lehrer needs to give up as a moderator. He was pitiful! Not stopping Obama's interruptions was inexcusable. Obama used a lot of McCain's time doing it.

Bob Holt said:

Ifill is biased in favor of Obama and should not be the moderator for the Thursday debate between Sarah Palin
and Joe Biden,

Since she has written a book favorable to Obama, she should step aside for the Palin-Biden debate.
It is grossly unfair for Ifill to be the moderator!!!

Jose Aguiar said:

I stoped seeing Gwen Ifill show on PBS after seeing it few times and see that how obviously biased for Obama she is. I do not understand how PBS can do this keep sending me mail asking for money to support the station. It will not be long until I stop wantiching that channel at all. I guess they do not care because they are going to get their money from the democrats and liberals. This thing with Gwen Ifill beign the moderator of the debate is absolutly unethical of her and PBS. Do they think that ALL of us are stupit. First they tell us that we are not smart enough to listen to talk radio and process it. Then this manipulation with the debates and their supposed unbiased opinion what it next? kremlin type media...1984 orwelian society

CarlyinNJ said:

Yesterday, when I read the first reports on the obvious conflict of interest problem with Gwen Ifil as Moderator for the VP Debate, I thought about the commitment PBS is suppose to have to the public good and the promise to offer unbiased truth and news coverage. Instead of keeping faith with the PBS mission, most of the PBS reporters and commentators ( including Gwen Ifill) have been proselytizing for a particular candidate during the Presidential Democrat Party Primary (there was obvious bias against Senator Hillary Clinton) and now the bias is impacting the coverage of the Presidential Campaign.

The fact that Gwen Ifil can not even see the depth of the potential for conflict of interest with her involvement in the book that she is working on (which includes Senator Obama) and which is to be released on January 20; just shows the level of self deception and arrogance that members of the media have now attained.

One simple solution to this problem is to replace Gwen Ifill with Tavis Smiley (also with PBS). Tavis Smiley is a much better choice; he actually is the only person on PBS that has worked to remain balanced and fair on his shows. Gwen Ifill on the other hand has gotten more and more outlandish in her biased reporting and obviously she is also more secure that no one would dare challenge her in any way.

If Gwen Ifill won't step down as Moderator then she needs to be very careful in how she conducts herself in the VP Debate tonight. The world will be watching.

Regarding Gov. Sarah Palin in the debate tonight, Gov. Palin is a class act and she will do just fine.

Payday Loan said:

With our economy falling behind, the war on terror, pork barreling legislation, corruption, and criminal activity on the rise, payday loans should be the last thing on politiciansí minds. Yet, for some reason, high profile politicians like Obama are focusing on this issue. Some states have banned them, such as Georgia and North Carolina, and more are in the process. Instead of fixing the important issues, they are trying to take out the payday loan industry for personal and political gain. Payday loans are simply for short term financial assistance for the all-American family to cover some cost that wasnít budgeted or an emergency that they couldnít pay for at that moment. They provide help to citizens during these financially troubling times with loans that the government otherwise couldnít provide themselves. Stop the potential loss of thousands of jobs and the loss of a viable financial option by voicing your opinion to the legislature, before a nationwide ban becomes in effect.

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