Much speculation has arisen over how much race will play into the presidential election. Surveys show that even a significant number (around 40 percent) of white Democrats admit to some negative feelings toward African-Americans.

In the privacy of the voting booth, would such persons vote for their party’s candidate who is the offspring of an African father and white American mother?

But another issue of color — that has nothing to do with race — may be a greater factor in determining the outcome of the November election. It has to do with whether voters like short answers that clearly divide all issues into black and white (right or wrong) choices — or welcome an exploration into gray areas.

During the Saddleback Civil Forum, Sen. John McCain seemed to answer every question with a brief statement or a phrase of few words. Then he would turn his eyes from the pastor to the crowd and give one of his “My friends,…” speeches.

Sen. Barack Obama — according to critics — came across as “too professorial.” That is, he didn’t attempt to capture the complexity of abortion procedures and politics (or other issues) in concise, sure statements.

Sen. Obama wrestled with the issues while Sen. McCain gave quick, sure and brief answers regardless of the question.

Heading into the presidential debates, both candidates are surely working with their handlers on what — and how much — to say when a question is posed. The right answer, I suppose, is the one that most of the electorate want to hear.

Some want black and white answers. Others don’t mind a little exploration of gray areas. That more than race may color this election.

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