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Paul Coletti | 17:52 UK time, Tuesday, 7 November 2006

It's election day here in the US and the talk promises to be spicy. We're in Ohio and a big thank you to our hosts WCPN who are helping us out today and tomorrow.

Election day from Ohio

Mark: “Ohio is an indicator species for how the rest of the country goes. As Ohio goes, so goes the US.”

Some comments from our Cleveland audience to start us off:

“We rarely give the same party all the power and this time we had for the last 8 years. It’s time to get back to compromise.”

“I voted today based on the economy in Ohio”

“I work with older people and I’m concerned with how we treat our citizens. We need a change.”

“There is a throw the bums out attitude right now.”

“I’m voting against corruption.”

“I’m voting for economic reform.”

“70% of the country want stem-cell research and both Ohio senators voted against it.”

“I’m an independent. I vote on issues based on my morals and ethics.”

“My concern, especially in Ohio, there is not enough awareness of people with disabilities.”

Betty is in our Nairobi studio: “What matters most for me, as an African, the leaders should have an African agenda. What can they do for Africa? Generally people are dying because of injustices inflicted on them by irresponsible leaders.”

Some comments from our audience:

“I am a Palestinian. I hope the people will vote for international policy and change in the Middle East.”

Ros is asking where the Republican supporters are, Ohio was a red state after all?

“2004 was partially because they brought in non-issues. We lost the real issues.”

“Ohio has always been more of a moderate state.”

“Cuyahoga county is a blue county in a red state.”

Mervat is in our London studio, sitting opposite me actually: “I’m not in a position to tell Americans how to vote. They should take into consideration the situation in the ME and the so-called WOT. The policy that GW is taking is nourishing terrorism.”

Someone in the audience has a real poser: “What is meant by cleaning the Augean stables?”

It’s a new one on me but thanks to the powers and wonders of Google I can reveal the metaphor is from Greek Classics.

Skip has called in from Canada: “I thank God every day because we have Bush in power. And it looks like you’ve stacked the audience. People have to understand that none of us have the information the professionals have. When Conservatives voted for Bush and the GOP it’s because they demonstrated our values.”

Wade: “I believe Americans voted out of fear. We should spend more at home.”

Skip: “I’ve spent time travelling throughout Asia and Europe. The world does not think like we think. The world does not look at things from our values. It wasn’t Bush that decided we had to go to war. They took the battle to us.”

A response to Skip from the audience: “Recently a group of generals have called for a change. Get Rumsfeld out.”

Mervat: “Where does he think the situation is getting better? I think things are going worse.”

Skip: I see it better in many locations. Afghanistan. They used to murder woman for showing her face. There’s a lot of change. Germany didn’t turn around after WWII in months. It took years.”

Someone wants to ask Skip about the world’s number one bogeyman: “How do you feel about OBL getting away?”

Skip: “I’m not sure he’s gotten away. He is a player but terrorism is an idea a concept.”

Mirek: “A lot of people especially outside the USA don’t realise the elections are local.

We’te back after the news…

“Republicans aren’t what they used to be. They have become this Christian fundamentalist right wing . . . “

“I want to address one of Skip’s points. He said we should trust the pros. Well most of the agencies in the USA said that the threat of terrorism is worse now.”

“Most of my students are comparable with what in most countries are fifth and fourth graders.”

Mervat: “It’s quite simple. It turned out that they lied about WMD.”

Some comments . . . Skip has caused a stir.

“About two thirds of Americans are voting with machines that have not been used before.”

“Skip says we have a duty to change cultures? That is an arrogant idea.”

“Wouldn’t it be a boring world if everyone were the same.”

Hisham is in France: “I have a lot of respect for the American people. I’m very sorry to see that America is today like a banana republic with the illusion of democracy. Multinationals and pressure groups are the real power holders.”

Some responses to that statement:

“I voted in absentia because I don’t trust the machines.”

“I feel confident my vote was counted.”

Hossain: “The Chinese people without shooting one bullet have conquered the heart of the 48 countries of Africa. The American style of leadership is to spend money and lose lives. This brings hatred to the world. It is no use to say Republicans are better than Democrats or Democrats are better than Republicans.”

“I want the government out of my wallet and out of my bedroom”

“There are no viable alternatives. I’ve voted green and libertarian but really it’s a two-party system.”

“It’s a constitutionally limited democracy.”

“I’m from the UK but I have a vote here. People don’t discuss politics and religion. People need to debate it more.”

Betty: “I’ve always thought that Americans don’[t consider anything beyond their borders.”

An Ohian responds: “Unfortunately Betty, you may be right. Our representatives represent the corporations with money. They don’t represent us. It’s the same for Democrats and Republicans. The pople who pay the candidates are the ones who are going to be listened to.”

Betty: “It’s only he rich who will ever represent us . . I think that what’s she’s saying.”

“She’s right: we can’t see out of our borders. People think history started with 911. 911 was caused by how we bully other countries.”

“We vote by soundbite and ad campaign.”

“It’s the neo-cons who have betrayed the values of Conservatism.”

Eric in Annapolis: “Bush is the only person who has got the message from the radical muslims; who want to put the entire world under Sharia law.”

“I would just say it’s very important that we get perspectives from other arenas. What we get in American media is so limited.”

A perfect cue for caller Khan in Afghanistan and his Eastern perspective: “Because of American intervention I was able to come to Afghanistan 5 years ago. I have a good life here. They would like to paint the whole world the same colour.”

Some comments from the audience:

“This comes from our limited worldview. People prefer it that way. They don’t travel overseas.”

Paul is in the Netherlands: “Of course they should vote Democrat. Bush has set the world on fire. He should be stopped by any means.”

Ros is just reminding folks that this is a mid-term.

Eric: “I don’t know why people don’t realise that terror was going on before Bush. It was under Clinton and Reagan. The world never woke up to it. Now someone has decided to take action everyone is against him! Let’s stop people going to public places and blowing themselves up.”

Sayed is in Karachi and it looks like he’s getting the last word which is a shame because Mervat is dying to get on for one last bite: “The last eight years have been a bad show. A lot of countries have suffered ‘cos of his policies. We are looking forward to change.”

See you all again tomorrow when we return to Cleveland, Ohio. The first mid-term results might be dribbling in by then so please join us for early reaction.


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