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The public's reaction to the presidential debates (search) is scrutinized by pundits and pollsters. But some public reactions are being scrutinized in a less conventional way.

After the first presidential debate, editor James Taranto reviewed letters written to newspaper editors, supposedly from folks unrelated to any political party.

What Mr. Taranto found was that the same phrasing kept popping up in letters by John Kerry supporters. One sentence that kept appearing was: "Kerry staked out a strong plan to bring peace to Iraq and to refocus our efforts to fight terrorists around the world." It didn't take long before Mr. Taranto found exactly the same sentence on the DNC Web site.

Now this sort of thing happens all the time, where political parties write out templates that their supporters copy and paste into their own letters. Mr. Taranto notes that The Wall Street Journal began screening out such letters even "before" the debate began. But what's surprising is how many newspaper editors published the Kerry letters without catching the similar phrasing.

The N.J. Bergen Record actually published two of the template letters, leading Mr. Taranto to ask: "Who's in charge of letters over there, the Doublemint Twins?"

And that’s the Observer.

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