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Election cartoons: Last batch before the vote

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Election letters galore: Malone confusion, 100-year storms and women

Another round of election letters. You will note that there are few if any pro-Romney letters. That's because the few we got are running in the paper this weekend. And that's the truth.

Election letters galore: coexisting, campaign money and Christians

We always receive more letters than we can possibly print. As you can imagine, the number we get during an election increases exponentially. We can't come close to printing them all, so here's a look at 30 you won't see in the paper. More to come.

Enjoy.

Election letters galore: selling smoke, manning up and handing out birth control

We always receive more letters than we can possibly print. As you can imagine, the number we get during an election increases exponentially. We can't come close to printing them all, so here's a look at some you won't see in the paper.

Please remember the rules: We give priority to letters that mention SPECIFIC articles, editorials, opinion pieces or letters that have been printed in the paper. Random election musings are not likely to make it. We do not print generic endorsement letters. The letter limit is 200 words; letter-trimming time around ye ol' Opinion Shop is scarce. And you can't have more than one letter in the paper every 30 days.

Enjoy.

Debating the debate: And the advantage goes to ...

A sampling of letters from readers on the presidential debate:

That 47 percent comment keeps on giving

Lots more letters about Mitt Romney's comment, a few in support of Romney this time. Find some of these letters in Sunday Forum this Sunday.

George Will: Whoever wins in November is going to regret it

Syndicated columnist George Will, in town to give the keynote address tonight at the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce banquet, made a pitstop at The N&O this afternoon.

How I wish I could give a full accounting of what he had to say, most of it in response to questions from N&O employees, but I could hear about only a third of what he said and typing at my usual speed would have meant no one around me could have heard that third. I reckon he was saving his voice for the Chamber.

But here, nonetheless, is a look at my limited, nonverbatim, very quietly typed notes:

Read more here: http://projects.newsobserver.com/under_the_dome/george_will_coming_to_raleigh_big_words_sure_to_follow#storylink=cpy

Will said he'd be talking tonight to the Chamber about the presidential race -- and about why whoever wins is going to regret it. Stopping the death spiral of our entitlement state is a tall order. This is Will's 11th presidential campaign since he moved to Washington.

It's not a pretty picture out there, but we're an industrious, educated people who have proved we can create wealth.

President Obama is a true progressive, a direct descendant of Woodrow Wilson. Both believe the Constitution is a nuisance. The question is whether it's a document to secure our rights or to offer a fountain of rights.

Answering a question as to whether Congress will ever return to bipartisanship, Will said this will not be a big election that actually settles something.

Barack Obama, in 2008, had one of the best hand of cards ever, Will said. He was an African-American at the best time. The Republicans nominated an implausible 72-year-old lawyer with an even more implausible running mate. And yet Obama got only 53 percent of the vote. This year, Obama will get even less. In 2008, he was a national Rorschach test. Now he’s had four years of making presidential choices. Expect him to get even less of the popular vote, although he can still pile up an enormous Electoral College victory.

Question: Given the state of the economy, why isn't Mitt Romney doing better?

Answer: Romney should be 10 points ahead. People like to say Americans vote their pocketbooks, but, no, they don't. They're much more interesting than that. Romney has been elected to one office: one term as governor. He speaks conservative as a second language. It's very difficult to be Mitt Romney and to have to stand about 3 feet away from yourself to watch and make sure you get things right. He’s just not a very gifted politician. Some have the aptitude, and some don't. Politics is 98 percent making small talk with strangers.

Question: How do you feel about Super PACS?

Answer: I regret that they're necessary. But If you're going to have the McCain-Feingold Act, PACS are a good thing. People who say there is too much money in politics are saying there's too much political speech. People say, "There's going to be $2 billion spent on this election." That's what Americans spend every March on Easter candy.

Question: Should a man such as Mitt Romney who made a comment this week denigrating half the American public as moochers be president?

Answer: The subject of dependency on government merits a speech that is careful and public. But dependency is the Democrats' agenda. The more who are dependent, the better for the party. Democrats stress equality. Republicans stress liberty. Democrats want everyone to be equally dependent. More than 1 in 7 Americans are using food stamps; 50 years ago when the program started, it was 1 in 50. Increasing dependency is a problem. When the top 1 percent of Americans pay 37 percent of the income tax, it's a problem.

Challenged again on Romney's comment, Will reiterated that dependency on the government is a subject worthy of serious public debate. Someone who is not worried about increasing dependency on the government is the one who is not qualified to be president, he said.

Asked how he can separate those increased "dependency" numbers from the recession that caused so many Americans to lose their jobs, Will noted that the limit for unemployment benefits has increased from 26 weeks to 98 weeks, a fact that offers a clear disincentive for people to rejoin the working. (audible groans from the audience)

Government programs have a way of going too far, he said. More is always better in Washington.

Asked why he's so critical of Obama without noting the problems that the president took control of in 2008, Will said that Obama is not the first president to inherit an imperfect world from his predecesssor. "There is an expiration date on alibis," he said. Obama told us if we pass the stimulus, we won't have unemployment over 8 percent.

Regardless, not much will change, no matter who is elected. The world of 2013 is going to look remarkably like the world of 2012. Political forecasting is much like weather forecasting. More than 90 percent of the time, if you say today is going to be like yesterday, you're right.

Other tidbits:

A Republican Party that loses in November is one that will go farther to the right.

Foreign aid isn't worth discussing. It's a rounding number in the federal budget.

If we're ever going to manage to return to bipartisanship, it will be over tax reform. The tax code is our principal means of how favors are granted. Simplifying the tax code would bring about political reform because you put out the parasite class of those who are in Washington simply to influence the tax code.

Income inequality is a concern. 200 years ago, wealth was land. 100 years ago, it was fixed capital: steel mills, etc. Today, it's education, information, minds, human capital. And there are limits to how much that can add value to the economy. The biggest reasons we have increased income equality are because the illegitimacy rate has increased and because public education has deteriorated. We all understand the pathologies that arise from single, uneducated parents.

And, lastly, anybody willing to do what it takes to be president shouldn't be president.

Libya and the election in the cartoon cross-hairs

This over the line?

Tuesday 'toons: The Olympics as metaphor

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