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Darts and laurels

Dart to the tendency of convenient anecdotes to, well, spring a leak when they’re more closely examined. Case in point: Joe the plumber. Republican presidential candidate John McCain (or his minions) zeroed in on a televised exchange between opponent Barack Obama and Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio, who questioned whether Obama would hit him with higher taxes if he bought a plumbing business. McCain latched onto that exchange and used it as the centerpiece of his debate with Obama Thursday night ó hardworking Joe the plumber, who would have to pay more taxes under an Obama administration. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that Joe is not a licensed plumber, owes $1,200 in back taxes to his state and, by many calculations, would not be hurt by Obama’s tax plan. Someone will consider these revelations as the media’s attack on yet another red-blooded American, a la Sarah Palin, for digging beyond the anecdotes. McCain could save himself and people like Joe a lot of embarrassment if he would do a little more investigating himself.
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Laurels to the people who have submitted questions for next Thursday’s candidate forum, sponsored by the Post, Catawba College and the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. The debate will start at 6 p.m. in Hedrick Little Theatre with county commission candidates Raymond Coltrain, Carl Ford, Jim Sides and maybe Laura Lyerly, who has not responded to her invitation to appear. After a break, it picks up again at 7:30 p.m. with legislative candidates Andrew Brock, William Burnette, Lorene Coates and Ada Fisher. There’s plenty to discuss, and you still have time to submit questions to editor@salisburypost.com. Even if you don’t submit questions, attending the forum might help you come up with some answers for Election Day.
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Dart to people who steal political yard signs. Pilfering placards, like negative campaigning, is a chronic irritant during elections, and it appears even more rampant this year, with sign larceny occurring here in Rowan and across the country. It could be another reflection of the high degree of interest in this presidential race ó or maybe, with the economy so bad, the sign thieves are just gathering fuel for winter heating. While some theft victims simply keep putting up new signs, others go on the defensive. During the last presidential election, according to an Associated Press report, a Minnesota man grew so frustrated that he screwed his Kerry placard to the wall of his house and coated it with vaseline. Another theft victim put his replacement sign on his garage roof. Desperate times call for desperate politics.

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