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Your point is well-taken that the generalizations about evangelicals border on bigotry. But it has to be said that single-issue voters tend to play to that model. I'm thinking of that electric moment when McCain's instant two or three word response to the question regarding when life begins drew spontaneous applause when Obama's longish, overly nuanced response to the same question seemed to go over like a lead balloon.

My guess would be that in retrospect Obama wishes he had never darkened the door of that forum. It seems to have been a watershed moment in the contest with McCain being the beneficiary. (Obama's team may be saying "Thank God for Michael Phelps or it would have been even worse.")

I share your jaundiced view of the popular press. I tend to watch the main news channels more for the pictures than whatever passes for content. Thoughtful reflection is way, way down their list of virtues. Thinking usually requires whole paragraphs at least and they have a hard time with single sentences.

The sad part is the both candidates are obliged to cater to that type of reporting. I hear a lot of talk about "branding" and have concluded it means little more than holding a finger in the wind to decide what next to say. Despite the obfuscation -- or maybe because of it -- most voters in the end vote in response to feelings than reason. That would be okay if those feelings were rooted in longer memoriesof the past and visions for the future, but the bulk of voters, like children, seem trapped in the eternal "now."