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A WINK AND A SMILE

Republican Sarah Palin, who came off as a superficial boob in her interview with CBS News' Katie Couric, faced off against Democrat Joe Biden in the first and only vice-presidential debate on Thursday, Oct. 2. Palin overcame low expectations to deliver a series of talking points aimed at reassuring America that she and John McCain were a team of mavericks, while Biden pushed his attack that McCain really isn't all that different from George W. Bush.

Most memorable moment: Palin's winks to the audience, which left Rich Lowry of National Review feeling positively giddy. Blogged Lowry: "I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, 'Hey, I think she just winked at me.' And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing."

Anything to keep from considering the actual content of her words, Rich.

Following the debate, Palin went on the offensive, accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists" as the McCain campaign launched character attacks against Obama in an effort to stop McCain's slide in the polls.


VOTE NOW!

More than 190,000 early ballots have already been sent out to Pima County households. County officials say the percentage of voters casting early ballots could top 60 percent this year. Get in on the trend by ordering your early ballot at 740-4330.


THE WEEK AHEAD

Thursday, Oct. 9: Democrat Andrea Dalessandro and Republicans Frank Antenori and David Gowan, who are battling for two seats in the state House of Representatives in District 30, will appear on KUAT Channel 6's Arizona Illustrated at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 10: Democratic Pima County Supervisor Sharon Bronson will face her GOP challenger, Barney Brenner, on KUAT Channel 6's Arizona Illustrated at 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 14: Democrats Matt Heinz and Daniel Patterson and Republicans Pat Kilburn and Juan Ciscomani, who are battling for two seats in the state House of Representatives in District 29, will appear on KUAT Channel 6's Arizona Illustrated at 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 15: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords faces Republican challenger Tim Bee in a Congressional District 8 debate at 7:30 p.m. at Flowing Wells High School, 3725 N. Flowing Wells Road.


ScrambleWatch Q&A

District 26 House Race

DEMOCRAT NANCY YOUNG WRIGHT

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

No, I do not. The state's budget shouldn't be weakened further by repealing this tax at this time. When the economy improves, I would be open to discussing this and other targeted tax cuts.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

Yes. Arizona is the only state that tries to pay for school construction through cash reserves. It makes no sense to go into the red when we could borrow at a modest interest rate to build the schools our students need. We have to provide quality facilities for our children and our teachers and staff to work in. Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states in the U.S.A., and about half of the population arriving here are children.


DEMOCRAT DON JORGENSEN

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

No. Given projected budget deficits, it would be irresponsible to change the current agreement without identifying a replacement source for $250 million. Tax rebates are great in prosperous years, and smart budgeting is necessary in lean years.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

Yes. It is an accepted practice among many states, and a necessary step toward improving Arizona's capacity to respond to 21st-century public-education needs and economic realities. It also provides an opportunity for cost-efficient energy-conservation measures.


REPUBLICAN VIC WILLIAMS

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

Our property taxes are too high, and now is not the time to overtax people. I believe we need to look elsewhere for tax relief on individual properties.

Since it will cost the state $250 million, what should the state cut to make up for the lost revenue?

We need to cut spending. Maybe not all programs, but we need to balance the budget by cutting spending across the board. ... Secondly, as much as I want to see our school infrastructure grow, we may want to consider suspending new school infrastructure, for a time, until we can pick up the slack.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

Yes, absolutely.


REPUBLICAN MARILYN ZERULL

Do you support the repeal of the state property tax?

I'm always in support of the repeal of any property tax.

Since it will cost the state $250 million, what should the state cut to make up for the lost revenue?

Wasteful programs such as Planned Parenthood and some cuts in education, but only to support other parts of education. For instance, I don't think the state should be paying for all-day day care. I think that should be the responsibility of the parents. I also don't believe we should be funding benefits for illegal aliens such as free health care and free education and all the freebies that we offer. I'm not familiar with all parts of the budget, but I do know that the government can be run like a household. When the family gets hit with a crisis, the family has to cut back.

Do you support borrowing for school construction?

No. I think borrowing just puts the financial burden on future generations.

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