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Checking final exams

It is final exams time, and also time for students to submit their research papers. And so, in the last three weeks, I have been besieged with interviews from both undergrad and graduate students, from Ateneo, Metro Manila schools and outside the Metro. Students call it hell week, when they cram to study and cobble together their research papers and theses. If not personal interviews, I have to answer many e-mail interview questions, inquiries, and such. Yesterday, I spent two hours in the morning in an interview with a Pol Sci major from UP Manila, and in the afternoon, three long hours for a graduate school thesis interview by students from UP Diliman.

I am sometimes tempted to just tell them to read the ang ladlad website, or my books, or my blog. But there is still nothing better than one-on-one interviews, where they ask questions, clarifications, even debate with you. It reminds me so much of the Inquirer Podcasts in February of 2007, where the grizzled veterans of the newsroom grilled us candidates for three hours. After that, they asked me, "Danton, you answered so well. Who comprise your research staff?" I think my laughter filled the entire newsroom of www.inq7.net. No research staff, I just read books and magazines and surf news and views on the Net until my eyelids close.

Those running for public office should not be afraid of these tete-a-tetes. That is why I was smiling when I was reading the Time and Newsweek reports on the Palin media gaffes, and why the Hockey Mom chose to have very, very few interviews. The Republican camp, it turned out, was the one farming out the few and far-between interviews. Do they know something that we already know about the moose hunter from Alaska?

You can wink and be folksy but what will you do when Vladimir Putin is already there, shrewd and cunning and quick as a desert fox, leading a Russia that has oil reserves, something the US does not have?

My fearless forecast is that Barack Obama and Joe Biden will win by a mile.

As for the Philippine 2010 derby, it is too early to tell. I have seen internal surveys that show Erap is far, far ahead of the pack. But since the Supreme Court will block his candidacy, therefore, he is now being courted by several Opposition parties. Erap is followed by three contenders whose survey results are close to each other.

The Erap Factor sits at a low of 30 percent and a high of 40 percent of the voters. A study done by the Ateneo Institute of Philippine Culture in 2006 said that the profile of the Filipino voter is that he or she is young (between 18-30), poor (Classes D and E), and barely finished elementary school.

There you go.

And as for the internal surveys for senators, I have seen some of them but I am keeping my mouth shut. Suffice it to say that I am happy about the results, and the smile on my face is truly wicked.

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