In spite of the negative attitude especially among liberal white women, Condi Rice continues to smolder promisingly as a possible ticket mate for John McCain. Her track record brims increasingly with expertise, experience and cautious equanimity.

She is well-seasoned in where we have been, while the recent "Frontline" documentary on Iraq surprisingly shows her critical and creative input at top strategic levels. Less appreciated perhaps are her unangry sensibility and patriotic devotion as an American black woman reared in the South. We hugely appreciate Barack Obama's persona in similar regards. It is incontestably a moral miracle there can be fully aware blacks not profoundly angry with white America. In some ways it seems even more unlikely for them to be women from Alabama.

This year's presidential contest already qualifies as one of history's most dynamic But there appear to be quite a few of us who believe Dr. Rice would add needed vitamins to the white male admiral's son's acknowledged virtues. As I get ready to weigh the debates of late summer, I am fearfully hoping we can choose between the very best this country can offer. Our world's peril demands nothing less. — Andrew Foster, Ashland

The definition of racism is that members of one racial group consider themselves inherently superior to members of other racial groups. In James Snyder's recent letter, his comparison of abortions among black Americans to Asian doctors or black basketball players doesn't make sense when you give it a moment's thought.

There is nothing inherently racist about blacks who are good at basketball and who take full advantage of their gift. There is also nothing racist about Asians whose parents emphasize education above Nintendo and the result is acceptance to medical school.

But there's every reason to suspect racism when Planned Parenthood's founder supported Hitler and his theories of racial purification. Margaret Sanger's enthusiasms included plans to eradicate the poor, disabled and black populations in this country. When Planned Parenthood currently locates most of its clinics in low-income neighborhoods that are often black neighborhoods, it's hard not to make the connection. And when you know that most women who choose abortion do so because it's conveniently close, you better understand the concern.

It will be a happy day when black leaders in every community stand up and protect black babies and black families by refusing to allow abortion clinics in their neighborhoods. — Phil Hunkler, Grants Pass

Everyone should have access to the health care they need, and Barack Obama promises to give you that. But, there's only one way the government can give you anything -— by having your neighbor (taxpayers) pay the bill. A national health plan would be fantastically expensive, and would create a massive new federal bureaucracy.

So if you think you can get something for nothing, vote for Obama. But if you're a taxpayer, watch your wallet. — Neal Smith, Jacksonville

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