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Debating the Debates

I disagree with the editorial "Citizens' Arrest," Oct. 19. The second presidential debate was by no means the best to date. It was a failure. The same day that the Monitor editorial ran, a member of the Richmond audience spoke on a nationwide radio talk show that dealt with how the debate was rigged.

The participant recounted the high-handed way organizers rejected his proposed question to Bill Clinton. The question would have put Governor Clinton on the spot regarding his draft record, his anti-war activities overseas, and how he would deal with anti-war protestors if he became president. In light of such censorship, the early demand from the audience that the candidates not attack each other's character may well have been rigged to strengthen the pro-Clinton bias. The result was a cramped discussio n and a great loss for the American electorate.

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Character is a serious issue in this campaign, and we should be leery of a nominee such as Clinton, whose character questions remain largely unresolved. We should be equally leery of the liberal agendas almost certain to become law during a Clinton administration: higher taxes; socialized medicine; gay rights; gun control; environmental overregulation. Such programs have already proved absurd at the state and local levels. Jim Hastings, Boston

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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