To the editor: Abraham Lincoln, when he was president of the United States, was holding a cabinet meeting and the discussion became unnecessarily skewed. Lincoln finally got up and asked, "How many legs would a dog have if you called the tail a leg?"

There was a pause. Much thought. Careful political head scratching. Diplomatic toe turning. Then somebody said, "Well, Mr. President, it would be five."

"No," said the man who began his life on a farm in Kentucky. "It would still be four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

I will vote for Mitt Romney. President Obama constantly calling Gov. Romney something Gov. Romney is not did not work on me.

Each candidate for the presidency has distinct differences in political philosophy. President Obama has demonstrated he believes in the power of the collective. Gov. Romney believes in the power of the individual.

This debate has been going on since civilization arose in the Tigris Euphrates Valley. Both candidates realize that the individual strengthens the collective and the collective strengthens the individual. That is what America is about. The land of E Pluribus Unum. Abraham Lincoln understood this well.

The debates were interesting and entertaining. One thing we can all agree on is that they made the jobs of the late-night comedians a lot easier. The voters of New Hampshire have a unique opportunity to see and talk to all candidates up close and away from the biased interpretation of the media and the constant bombardment of political ads. I cherish this opportunity and have always sat and listened to candidates for all offices, including President Obama and Gov. Romney. That is why when a candidate calls his opponent something the opponent is not, it does not work on me.

The first time I saw then-Sen. Obama speak was in Peterborugh five years ago. My expectations were high. From the press reports, I expected to see a great orator with new ideas. Let me just say he was no John Kennedy.

I first met Gov. Romney at the Boys Club in Milford nine years ago. I did not vote for him in that primary, but the man I saw then is the same man I saw on television delivering his acceptance speech in Tampa and in the presidential debates.

President Obama has not changed much, either, since he ran in the 2008 election. He still acts like a candidate and not the president.

One must be careful with the level of attacks dished out during a campaign. To govern effectively you still need some support and input from the opposition. Many people believe they have the answer. The truth is many people have part of the answer. It is the job of a good leader to listen openly, find the good parts and forge a government that will work.

The biggest thing I like about Romney is that he has stayed on message regarding the economy and jobs being a very important part of this election. Especially when he was trailing, he did not fall back on the tired old GOP (alleged) vote-getters, like opposing gay marriage, being the only candidate who understands "family values" or the only candidate that can keep me safe. I also think Gov. Romney just might be able to steer the GOP backs toward a centralist party. I believe he respects the Tea Party crowd, but is not going to pander to them.

I have two sons, ages 16 and 18. It is their future I will be voting for when I vote for candidates on Nov. 6.

My sons are very bright and gifted. They have learned from the example of both their parents to care for others, to have empathy. This is why I believe in the power of the individual.

Barak Obama is an honorable man. He is young and will continue to make a difference. If you see this in him, the best thing you can do for President Obama is to send him into the private sector for a few years so he can return to government someday with a little practical experience on how the world really works.

Tim Farrell

Bennington, N.H.

(Farrell is a Shamokin native whose father whose mining career began as a laborer and included stints as superintendent of the Glen Burn mine and general manager of Reading Anthracite.)