The Political Junkie

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Politics and economics go hand-in-hand this week, as lawmakers continue to debate the government's $700 billion bailout plan. Leaders from around the world are in New York, for the United Nations General Assembly. And the first presidential debate, between Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL), is this week.

Ken Rudin, NPR's political editor — and our Political Junkie, will join us, as he does every Wednesday, to take us through the latest news. (Because Neal is in transit to Phoenix, from where we'll broadcast tomorrow, Lynn Neary, a correspondent in NPR's Arts and Information Unit, will host.) "Will Ken still have a trivia question, even though there is a substitute host?" Yes.

If you have questions about the debates, leave 'em here. How do you think it will go?



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

We keep experimenting with political extremists both left and right. Ronald Reagan said "deregulate everything", businesses will make smart decisions and government regulation is not needed. This bailout will cost about $2,300 per American and could have been prevented with a few sensible regulations. We are probably doomed to repeat this again because moderates can't get organized into a third party.

Sent by Steve Tyler | 2:02 PM | 9-24-2008

Jimmy Carter to his daughter Amy.

Sent by Troy Bell | 2:13 PM | 9-24-2008

Please tell Ken Rudin that it was Roger Staubach not Troy Aikman who made that comment.

Sent by Paula in South Carolina | 2:15 PM | 9-24-2008

I believe the Dallas Cowboy quarterback who was the NFL football analyst making the comment was Roger Staubach, not Troy Aikman, as Troy was about 13 then. (Troy was drafted by the Cowboys in 1989)

Sent by Mike Ardis | 2:17 PM | 9-24-2008

What would it take to get third party candidates into the debates? I just really don't understand why there is this artificial constraint of two parties put on our political discourse, it is insulting to people's intelligence.

Sent by Chris Oneal | 2:21 PM | 9-24-2008

Since we really have 51 separate elections for president, why do the media expend so much energy reporting on national polls? Aren't national numbers not only somewhat misleading but also irrelevant in a tight race?

Sent by Steve Gietschier | 2:24 PM | 9-24-2008

Question: How have the polls accommodated any change in demographics engendered by the Obama primary battle? Comment: Unfortunately the success of the debate depends on the moderators; will they ask serious questions or do they just want to see blood in the water? This is NOT entertainment; it is a serious presidential election,

Sent by Stanley Bernstein | 2:24 PM | 9-24-2008

Why is it that presidential elections have been so close lately? I am amazed that the country is 50-50 so many times. Is there something going on here

Sent by Mike Dovichi (dough vic e) | 2:27 PM | 9-24-2008

Uggh. Please ask your guest to stop making excuses for McCain. The question was simple: what are the candidates' positions on regulation. It shouldn't be that hard to answer that. The fact that your guest is bringing in the war vote is dishonest and a tactic meant to divert attention. Shame on him.

Sent by DL Austin | 2:30 PM | 9-24-2008

Today's commentator's guest
seems like an apologist for
John McCain. Why is NPR so
biased in its treatment of
the presidential candidates?

Sent by nana joanna | 2:35 PM | 9-24-2008

Mr Shaw's question was and is out of line. What would have been a "good answer"?

Sent by Steve B | 2:36 PM | 9-24-2008

i would like to see the McCain asked if he favors charging women for rape kits as does Gov. Palin.

Sent by Steve Johnson | 2:42 PM | 9-24-2008

Do you agree that the U.S. standing in the world community is at an all time low and, if so, what would you do to regain our 'goodness' and respect?

Sent by richard koerner | 2:44 PM | 9-24-2008

Boxers or briefs?

Sent by Eileen | 2:44 PM | 9-24-2008

What are the candidates going to do about reforming the educational system in this country?

Sent by Kristi | 2:46 PM | 9-24-2008

I want to hear a question about why Obama voted to give immunity to the telecommunication companies for ignoring the 4th amendment.

Sent by Brian | 2:48 PM | 9-24-2008

For Bernie Shaw - why was your question to Gov. Dukakis relevant? The death penalty is a state issue, not a federal issue in most cases? Presidents don't have to deal with that issue very often - so why ask it given all the other possible issues?

Sent by Russ Dondero | 2:48 PM | 9-24-2008

I have a question - Given that Sarah Palin has yet to give many real interviews, how would a moderator go about forming meaningful questions to ask her? Also, how would you have approached the moderating a debate given the limited information the public has about Sarah Palin?

Sent by Meladara | 2:49 PM | 9-24-2008

Why are the third party candidates excluded from the debates? Ron Paul, and by extension, Bob Barr, have better solutions to the current monetary crisis, and actually to all problems facing the Federal Government. Why can't we hear them?

Sent by John George | 2:49 PM | 9-24-2008

I want to suggest a question for Friday night's debate. McCain keeps saying that he wants to get out of Iraq, but only after we win. I want somebody to ask him what a "win" looks like. I doubt he has any idea. If we succeed in stabilizing a Shiite government, we just handed the country over to Iran.

Sent by Roger Webb | 2:49 PM | 9-24-2008

What I need to know is what do the candidates intend to do to enforce the Animal Welfare Act. Slaughter houses must be investigated and those who violate the law need to be prosecuted. What are their plans for funding Animal Shelters?And Puppy Mills? Our country has MANY secrets of animal abuse and torture. Which candidate will open the eyes of America?

Sent by Jamie | 2:50 PM | 9-24-2008

With Palin's appointment the much maligned "Bridge to Nowhere" has come back to the front. I would like to see 2 points on this project clarified in the debate.
1. How is a bridge linking a city to its' airport a "bridge to nowhere"?
2. That an earmark is not an expenditure of money. An earmark is a allocation the vehicle that spends the money is an appropriation. So removing an earmark does not reduce spending; it just removes congressional direction of the expenditure.

Sent by Paul | 2:52 PM | 9-24-2008

I would like to ask John McCain why he voted to allow the US to use tactics of torture in light of his experience as a Prisoner of war?

Sent by Naomi Benzil | 2:55 PM | 9-24-2008

You couldn't tell Bernard Shaw is an Obama supporter... really turned me off from following the show today.

Sent by Jason | 3:00 PM | 9-24-2008

On McCain asking to postpone the debate on Friday:

Perhaps it is about the vote on the bailout, but my honest reaction?

He doesn't have an answer and doesn't have a clue how to spin it.

In other words: Chicken.

Sent by Teresa Celsi | 3:02 PM | 9-24-2008

Let me get this off my chest after 20 years. Dukakis was forceful and consistent with his anti-death penalty position. The conventional wisdom that he did not show enough passion shows the superficiality of American voters aided and abetted by a shallow media.

Sent by DAniel C. Hudson | 3:22 PM | 9-24-2008

I've been fascinated with the information in Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Has anyone in the media compared or contrasted Lincoln's tactics/approaches to elections with the recent elections?

Sent by Gail McGovern | 3:23 PM | 9-24-2008

Are you kidding? $700 BILLION. As a cancer survivor without insurance it disgusts me that our gov't. has degraded to this point...Mention the words SOCIALIZED MEDICINE and the nation cringes, what do think our highway system, public schools and public libraries are? Another time that a gov't. bailed out it's corporations was 1936 in Germany...No taxes until ALL Americans have medical insurance.

Sent by Timothy Link | 3:27 PM | 9-24-2008

Yikes, did I really say Troy Aikman? Of course it was Roger Staubach who made that comment in 1980.

Sent by ken rudin | 3:29 PM | 9-24-2008

A question for both candidates. What is your position on the installation of missals in Poland to discourage Middle Eastern rouge states?
And a follow up,If the Russians choose to install missals in Cuba for similar logic what would be your position?

Sent by Bob | 3:36 PM | 9-24-2008

John McCain is now saying he wants to postpone the debates. Do you think that this is partly motivated by the fact that he is in trouble in the campaign and does not want the spotlight on him during this financial crisis?

Sent by William Stinnett | 4:21 PM | 9-24-2008

Whom has done more damage, terrorists or Wall Street/

Sent by John R. Wylde | 5:11 PM | 9-24-2008

McCain: As president you have the opportunity to appoint staff and must choose to maintain the organization left by the outgoing George Bush, or take
time to appoint new aides. What are your plans to change the current advisory community, and what will guide your decisions of who to keep and remove.

Both: Education in this country is in trouble. We presently value math/english test results rather over critical abilities. I would like to know how each candidate feels changes should be made. A comment on the complete privatization of education in Sweden, or Geoffrey Canada's work in Harlem.

It can be argued that government involvement by backing mortgages skewed the risk/value system of our economy and drove investment in what would otherwise have been economically invalid. What regulations do you wish to see emplaced to preserve market stability, and why do you see them as the most effective and efficient way to achieve that stability.

Sent by k | 11:02 PM | 9-24-2008

The Wall Street Crisis

By Average Joe:

Forget Wall Street -call their bluff. This country's economy is great and diverse and sophisticated. I haven't seen anyone other than politicians say that what's going on is a problem. We (America) have a vast economy. Agriculture, Automotive, High Technology, Entertainment, Mom and Pop, venture capitalism and deep (I mean deep) industry. So what if some of the economic players stall, or die? That's open markets -if I remember econ 101. Supply & demand. Amen.

Many --many of these sources of economic stimulus will continue to exist whether we bail wall street out, or not. I'm pretty sure everyone's going to gas up and get the kids to school and feed them tomorrow. Never mind rides after school, school projects, sport programs, and field trips, and, oh yeah -going to work to pay for all of it. Legitimate work that contributes to our privilege of doing so. (they won't get that)

They are (politicians) are lying and we all know it. How many times have we seen President Bush ask for something like this? How many times did a decision like this get us in even deeper?

I say we test the water. We've had higher unemployment. We've had similarly disappointing real estate markets before? BRING IT ON!

My wife and I paid $25,000 last year. What's that multiplied by 170,000,000.00? My calculator can't process that high a number. The money isn't at issue -the BS is!

Spook me with my kids -college funds and/or their future? My 401. My future when I was my kids age was not that bright, either. Mainly this kind of old school BS, for the most part, is the reason. Line someone's pockets! No.

When will we learn? It's a smoke screen. Smoke and mirrors. A con job. The big sting.

I say we test the water and see what the market decides. Maybe I'll end up with a rental. One that someone can afford to rent!

I say we hang on to our money, let the chips fall, and see what the debates bring. Bring it on America!

Sent by Dave Popham | 11:34 PM | 9-24-2008

Dear Countrymen,

Once again as we watch another chapter in our Commander and Chief's long standing game plan to use fear and ignorance as a tool to shove self serving agendas down the throats of Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Q Public....

I am reminded of the fable of the boy who cried wolf.

Though most wolfs have real teeth, we have too long now surrendered our sensibilities in this great nation to a self serving administration who howls fear and delivers ignorance as a clever yet criminal mechanism to convince an honorable yet sometimes lazy Republic to ignore all practical and historic reason and to be led again and again by our collective nose into an uninformed, misguided, costly, toothless and sadly to often, deadly compliance.

With all DUE respect, just how many more times will we allow this, "little boy" to sell us out into yet another misguided catastrophe of HIS own making???

At this point it may be better to just face down the wolf!

What we need now is a reincarnation of the spirit and leadership of our founding fathers.

I still believe!

Sent by Joe | 2:53 AM | 9-25-2008

I am disappointed that they are not expanding homeowners' access to the bankruptcy courts.
The monied interests have won again with barely a peep. They argue that mortgage rates would go up. Interest rates should probably go up for this bread and circus society I argue that they would have start exercising due diligence in loaning money.

Sent by james ng | 2:13 PM | 9-25-2008

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