Inside the Beltway: Reviling the pundit

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“The candidates shouldn’t be told what the questions are before the exam. Obama and Romney are running for the highest office in the country and, like their predecessors, should be compelled to think on their feet during the debates, rather than recite a series of memorized sound bites.”

Mr. Farah calls it a “radical departure” from previous debates, and one that demonstrates the willingness of the commission to submit to the “anti-democratic demands of the major party candidates.” In July, lawyers for the Obama and Romney campaigns negotiated a detailed contract, he says, and now conceal that contract from voters.

In 1988, the League of Women Voters refused to implement debate contracts and accused the campaigns of “perpetrating a fraud on the American voter,” Mr. Farah adds. Even then, the commission implemented the contract and has sponsored every debate since. He calls it a monopoly that has yielded “sanitized” formats and an exclusion of third party challengers, something that Libertarian hopeful Gary Johnson has been complaining about all along.

BUMPER PATROL

“The Constitution is not a list of suggestions.”

- (Bumper sticker spotted in Stafford, Va.)

WEEKEND READING

Kudos now, for friends of tax payers. The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste has released its annual ratings parsing the voting records of all 535 members of Congress for signs of frugality, praising in particular those lawmakers who seek to protect the citizenry and just plain save money. At the very top of the heap are Republican Reps. Steve Chabot of Ohio, Tom Graves of Georgia and Ron Paul of Texas, plus Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

See it all here: ccagwratings.org.

POLL DU JOUR

• 43 percent of Americans say the secret “47 percent” video featuring comments by Mitt Romney will make “no difference” in who they vote for in the presidential race.

• 51 percent of Republicans, 27 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of independents agree.

• 36 percent of Americans overall say Mr. Romney’s comments will make them “less likely” to vote for him.

• 4 percent of Republicans, 68 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents agree.

• 20 percent overall say the comments will make them “more likely” to vote for Mr. Romney.

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