Romney's performance draws reader scrutiny


After watching the debate on Wednesday, I had two realizations. First of all, Jim Lehrer should no longer be a moderator. Mitt Romney closed nearly every debate section, ignoring the weak protests of Lehrer, and both candidates ran rampant over the time allotted them.

Second, no one will be able to predict what exactly Romney will do when he takes office. He just changed the entire economic plan he has been running on since the campaigns started.


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The polls following the debate brought to light a problem we have had in our society forever: Our inability to listen.

Some years ago the University of Minnesota published a paper on listening. Its point was that listening constitutes 70 percent of our communication. But, how good are we at it? How many classes did any of us have in listening during our school years?

My guess is none. Yet, it is so critical.

Most often, people are swayed by the appearance of the speaker, and by his or her forcefulness and articulation. Such was the case with Romney vs. Obama. Romney came out on top because of his salesman attributes while pursuing false or flawed information.

Hopefully, during the next debates, we will zero in on what the contestants are saying rather than on what feels good. Obama could help his cause by taking a page from Romney's debate prep book.


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Maybe seniors should keep listening -- not to Mitt Romney, but to their consciences. In the debate, Romney said that under his plan, no Social Security or Medicare benefits will be cut for seniors or near-term seniors, so they can stop listening now. He does not want them to think too much about the fact that the tax breaks he wants to give millionaires and billionaires is going to come at the expense of their children and grandchildren.

I keep hearing and reading about how insulted Republicans are when people say they are selfish. Well, this is the very definition of it.


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Romney did well and will no doubt get a bump in the polls. What I read from his remarks is his willingness to risk the environment and our national parks and resources for a quick fix on jobs. He said he supports green energy, but he isn't saying he will put any resources into developing it, which leads me to believe he will be a poor steward of our natural resources.

He wants a bigger military budget without a clear purpose why, and my impression is that he will take from domestic programs, including education, to pay for it, because he took the pledge not to raise taxes. Therefore, I believe the Romney-Ryan team has an underdeveloped fairness gene when it comes to creating opportunities for all of us.


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Might the contrast in last night's debate open some eyes that the emperor has no clothes?


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A middle way can preserve privacy


The Star Tribune's Oct. 3 editorial ("Is porn case in 'best interests of justice'?") on the prosecution of college football coach Todd Hoffner brought to mind an important point that has been neglected in the story's coverage to date but that could set the minds of picture-taking parents everywhere at ease. If child sexual maltreatment is suspected, there is a middle path for the government to pursue, between criminal prosecution (pubic and humiliating, not only for the potentially innocent defendant but for the certainly innocent child) and doing nothing (potentially harmful for children known and unknown). County Child Protection officers can, I believe, conduct an investigation that maintains the confidentiality of a family. In that system, the question is whether action is in the best interests, not of justice generally, but of the child. Very compelling reasons normally (it seems to me) accompany a decision to expose the private life of an identifiable child. Once that child's privacy has been breached, whether by pornography or by public prosecution, it can never be reclaimed.


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Believe or leave? No, honor conscience


Be very frightened of any organization that calls for the expulsion of dissenters. An Oct. 4 letter writer tells Catholics who "don't want to obey the bishops" to leave.

Thinking people will rise in opposition when a rule is counter to conscience. Church leaders are human and, as such, are susceptible to errors in judgment. When bishops take the extraordinary measure to raise money hoping to convince Minnesotans to amend the state Constitution for the purpose of exclusion, it is cause for alarm.

Change, even in the church, is inevitable and historic.

Many Catholics feel duty-bound to dissent when conscience calls a warning. They do this from the heart of the faith that is as much a part of them as breath.


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The problem posed by 'driverless' cars


Dale McFeatters (Short Takes, Sept. 28) implies that the technology that makes possible driverless cars will solve the problem of the distracted or otherwise inept driver. I would remind him of recent studies showing that airline pilots can become so dependent on autopilot that they forget how to handle the plane when that autopilot fails.

Technology, as well as drivers, are subject to failures, so ... I would not count on the driverless car as the ultimate solution for safe driving.