The 2012 presidential campaign is suddenly upon us, meaning that bloviating politicians are starting to get even more airtime and newsprint than usual. But is there anything, or anybody, worth listening to out there?
Laurie Tinklin of Roeland Park, Kan., is a sales rep
How closely are you following the 2012 presidential race? I watched the Iowa debate, and I read the paper daily.
What are President Obama's chances of winning re-election? Hopefully zero. He's done a poor job. He's totally messed up the economy.
Relate your impression of the Republican candidates so far. I like Michele Bachmann, and I really like Rick Perry. He's sharp. I like his religion and his belief in prayer.
Scott Loring of Briargate is a retired teacher
How closely are you following the 2012 campaign? It's too early to get worked up about it.
Assess Obama's chances for re-election. I would hope they're pretty good. He inherited a country going downhill fast and at least he righted the ship somewhat. Most Americans will recognize that.
If someone you knew ran for office, what advice would you offer? Watch your back.
Ivan Mayerhofer of downtown is a visiting lecturer
How closely are you following the election campaign? Semi-closely. I read articles most mornings in the New York Times and news stories on CNN, and I follow The Daily Show.
Can Obama get re-elected? I'm worried. He hasn't acted on many promises he made, and he's mishandled some major issues, especially the debt-ceiling debacle. The left-leaning side of his base is dissatisfied, and a bad economy always works against a sitting president.
Which Republican candidate do you view most favorably? Ron Paul. I disagree with him on many issues, but he seems to be honest and hold reasonable principles.
Yolanda Amundson of Skyway is a small business person
Assess Obama's chances for re-election. Fairly good. The Republican field is way too far to the right to appeal to a broad spectrum of the electorate.
Name something you'd change about the campaign process. Shorten the process to two to three months. Also, take the money out of it. Too much money puts candidates into the hands of lobbyists and special interest groups.
What change should Obama make in his re-election strategy? Take a stand, be less conciliatory. Compromise is good, but there are times that you need to fight for what you believe.