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This week marked the third presidential debate among Republican candidates, the second for Democrats. Democrat Hillary Clinton won points for being polished and commanding. John McCain was criticized by Republicans for supporting the immigration bill, but won praise for the way he defended his position. Eighteen months before the election, are the debates more about style than substance? Are voters even paying attention? Also, world leaders and protestors gather in Germany for the G8 and, on Reporter’s Notebook, if you’ve got $5 billion to spare, Wall Street Journal employees would love to talk about selling you their newspaper. Sara Terry guest hosts.

Main Topic Another Round of Presidential Debates

You could be forgiven for thinking the presidential election is just around the corner, instead of late next year. Debate season is well underway.  Last night, New Hampshire was the site of the third Republican debate so far. Earlier in the week, it was host to the second debate by the Democrats. Democrats elbowed each other, Republicans went after the Democrats, and pretty much everybody criticized President Bush. With a flock of contenders in both fields, what effect do early debates have on the long-term race?  Eighteen months before the election, what campaign strategies are emerging? Do debates have any effect on public opinion so early in the season? Will immigration and Iraq define the election next year?

Tony Fabrizio, Republican pollster, Fabrizio, McLaughlin, & Associates
Michael Crowley, Politico (@MichaelCrowley)
John Zogby, President and CEO, Zogby International
Ann Stone, Trump campaign / Republicans for Choice (@aews)
Mara Vanderslice, Founder of Common Good Strategies

Making News Protesters Outflank Police as G8 Summit Gets Underway 5 MIN, 46 SEC

In northern Germany today, G8 leaders gathered for informal talks and a pre-summit dinner, while some ten thousand protesters tried to block roads and railroad lines to the Baltic resort where the G8 Summit starts tomorrow. With disagreements about global warning and regional security, the meeting is expected to be a difficult one. Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post is in Heiligendamm covering the summit.

Craig Whitlock, Washington Post (@CraigMWhitlock)

Reporter's Notebook Wall Street Journal Employees Seek Anyone but Rupert 7 MIN, 1 SEC

The Wall Street Journal, which often covers billionaires in its news pages, has a particular interest in them these days. Last month it became public that media magnate Rupert Murdoch has offered $5 billion to buy the Journal and its parent, Dow Jones and Company. Journal employees are so worried about what Murdoch might do to its editorial independence that their union has begun writing letters to a select group of billionaires, asking whether they might be interested in a newspaper for sale. Columnist Tim Rutten writes on the media for the Los Angeles Times.

Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Daily News

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