Michael Scherer's article is full of good information and good reporting [Nov. 3]. In the future, perhaps it would be useful to do a companion article on what steps are being taken by states, counties, political campaigns and independent groups to mitigate some of these potential problems. That ought to include information on what a voter can do on the spot when a problem is encountered at a polling place. Are there officials who can be contacted in case of a problem? Are there people from each campaign standing by ready to help?
Gail Goldey, SANTA FE, N.M., U.S.
Where's the Beef?
As a Barack Obama supporter, I was excited to read that your cover promised "Exclusive: Joe Klein Grills Obama" [Nov. 3]. I felt that such a serious turn in reporting was exactly what the country needed. However, the article itself felt barely reheated, let alone grilled. Indeed, Klein refers almost apologetically to an earlier interview in which Obama "grew a bit testy when I pushed him on the need for universal health insurance and a more aggressive global-warming policy." Instead of continuing to push, Klein came off as merely pulling the Obama wagon toward the presidential finish line. Please, Mr. Klein, we finally have in Obama the grownup we've been missing for the past eight years. Grill him like one! My stomach simply can't take being force-fed any more leadership that is, shall we say, half-baked.
Kelly McLaughlin, NEW HAVEN, CONN., U.S.
Your cover shouted of an "exclusive" grilling of Obama, yet you sadly missed the opportunity to elicit some answers from the Democratic candidate. There was no grilling to be had. For that, Klein might have had to bring up any one of dozens of serious policy, experience and belief questions that might not serve the campaign's narrative. It is indeed sad that the first time Obama is likely to actually feel any grilling is in the boiler room of the Oval Office.
Jeffrey C. Kastelic, CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP, PA., U.S.
Bad President, Great Film
I'm not sure Richard Corliss and I watched the same movie [Nov. 3]. Oliver Stone most certainly did have a point of view in filming W., his slice-of-life depiction of George W. Bush. The genius of Stone is that he can duplicate the emotions in the movie theater that we all feel in real life: confounded disbelief that a person like Dubya could ever become the President of the United States. Bush is perhaps the worst President we have ever had or, hopefully, will ever have. The first election, in 2000, was engineered, jockeyed and ultimately stolen. The second, in 2004, was actually won by Bush. To cite the phrase that he himself found so difficult to utter: Fooled us once, shame on them. But the second time around, shame on us. W. should be required viewing in every political-science class in the country.
Linda Calcagno Melchione, EASTON, MASS., U.S.
The Obama Effect
The media make much ado about the so-called Bradley effect [Nov. 3]. And it doesn't take a genius to see that John McCain and Sarah Palin have counted on this racial motivation to help them overcome the consequences of their poorly run campaign. But we must now factor in an even more potent quotient: the Obama effect that quality whereby the more you get to know a politician, the more you like and trust him or her. This likability and perceived trustworthiness continue to grow over time. Across the board, Obama's ratings have steadily increased with key groups that had been cool toward him before. Likewise, regarding key questions like, Whom do you trust to improve the economy, be Commander in Chief, handle taxes or handle the housing crisis? Obama leads McCain in recent polls. Obama endures. He grows on you. He has time on his side. He is the new kid on the block you decide not to like but find yourself secretly admiring and then openly supporting. In future elections, politicians will have to factor in the Obama effect.
Lynn Capehart, LOS ANGELES
The Bradley effect? I predict a reverse Bradley effect this go-round. It will be fueled by sweet old ladies who have been voting Republican since Eisenhower and rugged blue-collar workers who were Reagan men but who can't bring themselves to press that button and vote for McCain-Palin. They won't admit it to their friends and family or the exit-poll people.
Margie Shepherd, FREE UNION, VA., U.S.
The Leaders We Deserve
Challenging times require leaders who are bright enough to think creatively [Oct. 27]. I completely agree with Michael Kinsley that America needs a smart President for the tough years ahead. But voters in many Western democracies, Ireland included, have a tendency to shy away from politicians who are far more intelligent than themselves. Adlai Stevenson was one of the best examples of this. As for any politician completely understanding the global financial mess, well, sadly Einstein is not on any ballot.
Robert Liffey, DUBLIN
Burden of Debt
There cannot be any debt without there being creditors somewhere as well [Nov. 3]. Yet, from what we read and hear, it seems that the whole world owes money to no one knows whom. If our capitalist governments have been socialist enough to use public money to pay for private debts, perhaps they might also be socialist enough to address the issue of fairness in the distribution of wealth. It's time we stopped the robber barons getting too rich.
Tony Attanasio, MANDELLO DEL LARIO, ITALY