Notes made on the back of a Don Hallett for President button . . .

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IF THERE have been more important presidential debates in the history of our country, I don't know which ones they would be.

Politics have always been somewhat divisive but can you recall the last time people talked about whether our country would survive four more years of a particular leader, or survive if the other candidate wins? I've heard several people make those remarks.

Last week, I mentioned Gov. Mitch Daniels' excellent book, Keeping the Republic. In it, he describes a scenario that begins with a statement from China that they will no longer buy treasury securities from us because they don't believe in our ability to pay up. The scenario ends less than a week later with tanks in the streets. Our streets. This week, billionaire and former presidential candidate Ross Perot said our country could be "taken over" because we are so weak financially.

Don't know about you, but when people who are smart enough to have made billions talk, I tend to at least listen.

Which gets us to tonight's first presidential debate. The second and third are Oct. 16 and 22. They each begin at 9 p.m. Tonight's topic is domestic policy. The next one will feature a town hall format and will focus on foreign and domestic policy. And the last one is back on foreign policy.

Just one man's opinion, but it's important this year that we make an educated choice. Watching the debate is a good start.

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BACK HOME in Indiana, we have three debates for the three men running for governor, Sen. Mike Pence, former House Speaker John Gregg and former Survivor star Rupert Boneham. The first is next Wednesday, followed by Oct. 17 and Oct. 25.

For the muddy Senate race involving Republican Richard Mourdock, Democrat Joe Donnelley and Libertarian Andrew Horning there are two debates, Oct. 15 and Oct. 23.

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SINCE IT'S October, thoughts are turning to Halloween. OK, retail stores turned their attention to Halloween a while back. However, the popular History-Mystery downtown Crawfordsville walking tour will be back once again. Tales of a man being hanged not once, not twice but three times, along with ghostly apparitions and even the East Main Ghost are waiting to be told. Stay tuned for dates and details coming soon.

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SOMEONE ASKED me the other day how long The Paper's been around now. We've started our ninth year and are already looking forward to our big 10th! Thanks for asking!

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Wednesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be reached at