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DEBATE CUISINE

Political culture continues to flourish as the nation considers its destiny, its appetite and the poll booth. Now offered to the public for their debate dining pleasure, and all the way to Election Day: from the California Tortilla Kitchen franchise, it’s the Obama Bowl with rice, grilled chicken, teriyaki sauce, snow peas, broccoli, carrots, red onion, red pepper and bok choy, topped with grilled pineapple spears and scallions. Then there’s the Romney Bowl with freshly made mashed potatoes, Mexican meatloaf, sauteed vegetable medley, a savory sweet sauce, corn and salsa.

And from Legal Seafoods: the President Obama-inspired Blue Plate Special showcases macadamia and coconut crusted mahi-mahi with roasted Brussels sprouts in a lime butter sauce. The Mitt Romney-inspired Red Plate Special offers pan-seared cod with steamed spaghetti squash in a bourbon lobster cream sauce.

HILLARY-CHRISTINA MOMENT

Singer and stateswoman meet in the nation’s capital on Wednesday: That would be the platinum-tressed Christina Aguilera and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Both will be at the State Department in the afternoon for the annual George McGovern Leadership Award ceremony, honoring Miss Aguilera and David Novak, CEO of Yum Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. The pair have raised $115 million for the United Nations World Food Program.

POLL DU JOUR

• $8 billion: the amount Americans will spend on Halloween this year.

• 72 percent, or about 171 million U.S. adults, plan to celebrate Halloween.

• 75 percent of that group plan to hand out Halloween candy; 74 percent say the state of the U.S. economy will not affect their Halloween plans.

• 51 percent will decorate their yards, 50 percent will carve pumpkins, 45 percent will wear costumes.

• 36 percent will attend parties, 33 percent will take children trick-or-treating.

Americans will spend $2.3 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on adult costumes, $1.1 billion on children’s costumes and $400 million on pet costumes.

Source: The National Retail Federation.

Churlish remarks, astute observations to jharper@washingtontimes.com.