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Trail Mix - 9.6.12 

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Clams or Mussels?

As the GOP Convention played out on the other side of the continent, Washington’s gubernatorial contenders faced off. Held at Washington State University-Vancouver last Wednesday, the moderator from a Portland TV station (isn’t that in Oregon?) even asked their favorite foods. For Republican Rob McKenna, it’s mussels; Democrat Jay Inslee is a clam kind of guy.

But there were barbs, too, as when McKenna went after Inslee’s green jobs plan as “Solyndra-style economic policy.” Inslee said he was for adding light rail at the busy I-5 Columbia River crossing.

The race has been named one of three “toss-up gov races” by Politico. The pro-shellfish pair will have two more debates in October.

Forgetting Something

America is caught in the longest wartime in its history, yet Mitt Romney didn’t even mention Afghanistan in his acceptance speech. The Associated Press reported it was the first time since 1952 that a GOP nominee did not mention war in that speech.

Just last month, Spokane’s own 6th District state senator made national headlines for going after a West Side journalist for not reporting on the wars more. In fact, he told that reporter, via email, to go… well, you know — that thing Clint Eastwood was talking about. No word on whether Michael Baumgartner is queuing up another late-night missive for his own party’s honchos, who are now officially ignoring the issue, too.

The Ratings Are In

Last week we talked about how networks are souring on the conventions. Still, in 2008 there was an uptick — in fact, 37 million watched Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech, while 39 million watched John McCain’s. This year, according to Nielsen, just 22 million watched Paul Ryan, while 30 million watched Mitt Romney grab the party’s reins.

So in the late summer of 2016, maybe we’ll get more Hawaii Five-O reruns — or a Sarah Palin rerun.

The Next Big Things

It’s true that after the conventions, America starts to tune in. But weaned on American Idol as we are, we long for the competition. We want 90 minutes of gaffes and zingers. Yes, we want the debates. And they are coming, with three presidential debates and one between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden.

First up is the domestic policy debate on Oct. 3 at the University of Denver, moderated by PBS’s Jim Lehrer. Next, the veeps’ lone debate on both foreign and domestic policy is Oct. 11 in Kentucky, moderated by ABC’s Martha Raddatz. Then comes the town hall-style debate on foreign and domestic policy on Oct. 16 at Hofstra University in New York, moderated by Candy Crowley of CNN. Finally, it’s all foreign policy on Oct. 23 in Boca Raton, Fla., moderated by CBS’s Bob Schieffer.

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