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Pundits & Editorials

Tide is turning blue in Pennsylvania and Bernanke tries to reassure readers about the financial crisis. Plus: backing the North Korea nuclear deal.

Richard Cohen suggests some blunt -- and sarcastic -- questions for the candidates in Wednesday's final presidential debate.

• "Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama has shown a willingness to address the peculiar effects of this nation's lingering racism," DeWayne Wickham remarks. "Neither candidate should be allowed to avoid giving specific answers to specific questions about the problems that afflict blacks."


• In the Washington Times, columnist Thomas Sowell criticizes Obama's record on education, remarking: "as with other issues, he has talked one way and acted the opposite way."

• "If Obama were a white Democratic nominee named Barry O'Malley, the GOP would be going after him twice as hard," Jonah Goldberg maintains. "But many liberals would still caterwaul about fomenting hatred and racism, because that's what they always do."

• "Are we witnessing the reemergence of the far right as a power in American politics?" wonders E. J. Dionne Jr. "Has" McCain, "inadvertently perhaps, become the midwife of a new movement built around fear, xenophobia, racism and anger?"


• "Several senators, including some in" McCain's "own party, have complained of his explosive temper, and he has even acknowledged that his hothead reputation has some basis," Steve Chapman comments. "But today, McCain is advertising it as an asset during a time of economic trouble. He sounds madder than John Edwards on a bad hair day."

• Writing from Pennsylvania, David S. Broder observes that "the striking shift in Montgomery County, often a bellwether, makes McCain's task of recapturing Pennsylvania from the Democrats look almost like Mission Impossible."

Dana Milbank, also stationed in Pennsylvania, senses that "something has happened in recent weeks among the" Hillary Rodham Clinton "faithful. Fear of the right-wing" Sarah Palin, "coupled with the economic collapse, has caused them to quietly swallow their Obama misgivings."

• "After eight years of the Bush administration, the Republican Party -- to put it bluntly -- is a mess and a fraud," Eugene Robinson proclaims.


David Brooks predicts what government would be like with a Democratic president and Congress in the midst of an economic crisis: "There will be a big increase in spending and deficits. In normal times, moderates could have restrained the zeal on the left. In an economic crisis, not a chance. The over-reach is coming. The backlash is next."

• "As Americans well know, the challenges we now face in the financial markets and in the economy are both extraordinarily complex and historic in scope." But in the Wall Street Journal, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke states that he "firmly believe[s]... that with the actions policy makers are announcing today, we will be able to meet those challenges."

William McGurn commends former Rep. Richard Baker, R-La., a current lobbyist for the hedge-fund industry, because he "spent nearly a decade crying in the wilderness... er, Congress... that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were ticking time bombs."

Bret Stephens quips that "it's a safe bet that the era of American dominance will not be brought to a close by credit default swaps, mark-to-market accounting or (even)" Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

• Commenting on a recent New York Times article that showed American children failing in mathematics, Bob Herbert asserts that "a country that refuses to properly educate its young people or to maintain its physical plant is one that has clearly lost its way."

• "In the week in which the Bush administration announced its decision to remove North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism," Anne Applebaum insists that "it's worth focusing again on the strange, ritualistic nature of the relationship between North Korea and the outside world: In its way, after all, that announcement was strange and ritualistic, too."

From The Editorial Boards...

• "On the question of who will best bind up this torn nation," the Los Angeles Times is "far more troubled by what we know about McCain than what we don't know about Obama."

• "McCain is no George Wallace. But" he "may be desperate," posits the Philadelphia Inquirer. "How else do you explain McCain's having let his campaign wander down roads that have raised comparisons to a dead bigot whose very name is synonymous with racist politics?"

• The Wall Street Journal has "written about them for years, but Acorn is now getting more attention as" McCain's "campaign makes an issue of the fraud reports and Acorn's ties to Mr. Obama. It's about time someone exposed this shady outfit that uses government dollars to lobby for larger government," the board declares.

• "During the Democratic primaries and caucuses," Obama "said he hoped to find common ground with the pro-life movement in order to reduce the number of abortions," the Washington Times notes. "But the issue has not been raised much since then. And yet, there is much common ground which can be found."

• "Let's say there isn't a Florida recount or a quarrel over results in Ohio," Roll Call (subscription) muses, regarding the Nov. 4 elections. "That should not allow Congress to ignore whatever glitches and misdeeds do occur this year -- no matter the outcome, they must plan to help the nation's elections officials at last get voting right before the 2010 elections."

• The San Francisco Chronicle applauds three steps the White House has taken in response to the financial crisis.

• "If the $2.3 trillion committed to backstopping European banks" Monday, "and the emerging plans for the Bush administration to announce parallel measures today, do not restore confidence in markets," the Washington Post can't "imagine what will."

USA Today thinks President Bush should grant asylum to Chinese Muslim detainees at Guantanamo.

• Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., counters in an opposing view: "Detainees awaiting release should be freed as soon as possible, but only while respecting existing law and protecting U.S. citizens."

• The New York Times is "glad to see that the nuclear deal with North Korea is back on track. Presuming the latest agreement holds (always a big if with North Korea)," Bush "can at least say that when he left office Pyongyang was no longer producing plutonium for nuclear bombs."

• The Chicago Tribune agrees: "Removing North Korea from the list of terrorist states is the right move because it stops the North from building more nuclear bombs. That's the main goal right now. Everything else, get in line."

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