Say "Nevada!"

Language matters in debates, and Barack Obama has missed a big opportunity.

Published September 27, 2008 1:39AM (EDT)

Sometimes, it's the little things that matter in a debate -- a single answer, a sentence, even just one word. (Don't believe me? Ask the late Adm. James "Who am I? Why am I here?" Stockdale.)

So as I was watching John McCain and Barack Obama discuss energy issues a few minutes ago -- and specifically, watching McCain hit Obama for not supporting nuclear power -- I sat there wondering, "Why doesn't Obama say the word 'Nevada'?"

The state, which could be critical on Election Day, is the proposed site of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility. The majority of Nevada residents are, as you might imagine, opposed to the idea of storing nuclear waste in their state. In an August poll, 23 percent of Nevadans said the issue would have a "major" effect on their vote for president, 43 percent said it would have "some" effect and 32 percent said it would not influence their vote.

McCain supports the Yucca Mountain plan, Obama doesn't. So this seems like a missed opportunity.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama John Mccain R-ariz.