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Editorial: Presidential debate needs serious topics on menu

Oct. 13, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Although most Americans don't really care, perhaps presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ought to get one question out of the way before they meet in a second debate next week.

Do they prefer sausage or pepperoni on their pizza?

If they answer before Tuesday's televised event, then maybe they won't have to waste their time -- and the viewing public's -- on such a frivolous question during the debate itself.

The topic has come up because the Pizza Hut restaurant chain is hoping it is one of the questions asked during the town hall-style debate. The company is offering one large pie a week for 30 years or a check for $15,600 to anyone who poses the question to either President Obama or Republican challenger Romney.

Marketing experts say the promotion is an attempt by the chain to reach consumers in a different way. But the experts also suggest that Pizza Hut risks the wrath of people who are serious about the presidential campaign, and those experts are more than likely correct.

The candidates have plenty of serious issues to discuss: the economy, taxes, health care, energy policy, government regulation, budget deficits, the Middle East, just to mention some of the chief ones. And the public wants to hear from the candidates where they stand on those issues.

But sausage or pepperoni?

In its defense, Pizza Hut says there should be some room for light-hearted questions in the presidential campaign -- ones that every one can relate to, such as pizza. The company is right that millions of Americans care about their pizza. But they're much more apt to like it on their lunch or dinner plate, not during a presidential campaign debate.

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