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A question for McCain

In his acceptance speech, John McCain promised to work to end bitter partisan politics in Washington. I would love to believe that could be true.

Yet, 24 hours earlier, his choice for vice president sounded as smug and divisive as they come. Sarah Palin's coming-out address, likely crafted by a Karl Rove-inspired speech writer, was as belittling and combative as anything we've heard for the past eight years.

So, Senator McCain, what's it going to be? If I cast my vote for your ticket, will your administration really work to reconcile the bitter divide with your political opponents? Or will we simply get a younger, perkier version of Dick Cheney presiding over the Senate?

JEFF DOLS, EAGAN

Obama's speech lacked a call for sacrifice

Barack Obama gave an acceptance speech last month in Denver that stirred our souls. Sadly, though, Obama also gave us a scary glimpse into what those souls really yearn for: a free lunch. He clearly had concluded that, to get elected, he must promise us a big basket of new benefits, all of them laudable, and at the same time promise 95 percent of working families a tax cut.

Improbable? Of course. But even if his promises could somehow come true, he said nothing about balancing the nation's budget and paying off its debt. And while he heralded individual heroics, he issued no call for sacrifice that would make us uncomfortable, like cutting down on all the driving we do every day. It was all get and no give.

Yes, Obama, whom I support, celebrated America's spirit and touted the rewards of working together. We like to hear that. But his campaign promises reveal what he sees when he looks deeply. The scary part is that he is probably correct.

GREGOR PINNEY, MINNEAPOLIS

McCain delivered what Obama promised

Ever since Barack Obama announced his candidacy for president he has promised us change. "Change we can believe in" has been his big motto. "[Believe]in my abiltiy to bring change to Washington" is at on the front page of his website.

Then, when he announces that he has chosen Joe Biden, an old-school, business-as-usual Washington Insider Politician as his running mate, no one raises an eyebrow and asks, "Where's the change in that?" In fact, most of the political pundits say it was a good choice to shore up Barack's lack of experience.

But when John McCain chooses Sarah Palin, a two-year governor from Alaska, as his running mate every one cries about her inexperience. About how she doesn't know how Washington works.

What's going on here?

I feel that McCain has turned the tables on Obama's "changing Washington" by bring in the fresh face that Obama had promised us but then did not come through on.

CHARLES NORGAARD, LAKE CRYSTAL, MINN.

A big insult to those who work to better communities

Sarah Palin's speech Wednesday night took a shot at community organizers, diminishing the value of work done by so many with little recognition or pay. People work to improve their communities for no other reason than the belief that by working to improve our own communities, we can make the world just a little bit better for everyone. Most community organizers never rise to the level of a Barack Obama, but some have: Thomas Paine, Susan B. Anthony and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., to name a few. Palin made light of this work, insulting millions across the country.

I have been working for the past 18 months to get Barack Obama elected president of the United States. I guess I see my volunteer work a little like community organizing. I certainly hope that the connections I have made over the past year and a half will be in place during an Obama presidency, ready and willing to make the needed sacrifices that all Americans will have for our country to weather the myriad crises brought on by the last eight years of Republican rule.

I certainly hope that we can get over this kind of rhetoric and talk about real issues. If we can do that, I am confident that Obama can win over the majority of Americans through a sensible, insult-free campaign.

KATIE MCGEE, ST. PAUL

Will McCain's brand of change create jobs?

Due to the economy, I am currently unemployed and am also trying to decide on a presidential candidate to support. The Republicans philosophy is to cut taxes for businesses on the theory that doing so will create jobs and thereby provide a prosperous economy.

Well, for me, this philosophy has had the opposite effect during the past eight years of a Republican administration. The economy has tanked, unemployment has risen and we have gone from a budget surplus to a record deficit.

Sen. John McCain says that he is a candidate for change. So far, I haven't heard him say how his stance is going to help me and others in the same situation. What is the "change" that he is in favor of which will improve the economy and provide more job opportunities?

Perhaps a Republican supporter would like to respond to my question and answer this for me. If no one is able or willing to do that, it will make my decision on who to vote for very easy.

BRIAN MARSH, SPRING LAKE PARK