Sometimes it seems as if there are more calls for political debates than there are voters who'll watch the candidates go one-on-one. One of the more recent debate requests, however, does have an interesting twist.

Utah Democrats have asked their Republican counterparts to consider a sparring match between a representative of the Utah for Dukakis committee and someone from the Bush for President, Utah Campaign.Pat Shea, co-chairman of the Utah for Dukakis steering committee, has sent a letter to Bonnie Stevens, chairman of Republican presidential candidate George Bush's campaign in Utah, asking for such a debate.

So far, no word on whether the Republicans are interested.

There's a debate over debates at the national level, too. But when political campaign leaders are talking about the real candidates, their language seems to get harsher.

Paul Brountas, chairman of the Dukakis campaign, used words like "shocking" to describe his reaction to Bush turning down requests for debates prior to Sept. 20.

Brountas went on in a recent press release to say that the vice president's decision may deprive voters of the full benefit of their right to a full schedule of debates.

Meanwhile, First District Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, wants voters to know that he has joined in signing a report released by the House Armed Services Committee Defense Burdensharing Panel that called for the European members of NATO to do more to defend their continent.

"Our European allies have become stronger," Hansen said in a press release. "Japan has experienced dramatic economic growth and could contribute more to our collective security. If we all do not accept the risks and responsibilities, our alliance will not survive."

Hansen noted that the report found that if the United States devoted the same percentage of national wealth to defense as do Germany and Japan, the U.S. could eliminate the budget deficit and even create a budget surplus."

Additional hearings on the report are scheduled during the next six months to determine how the Europeans could better defend themselves.

Back in this hemisphere, Hansen campaign manager Peter Jenks said he wants to know why Gunn McKay voted as a congressman in 1978 "to use American tax dollars to give away the U.S. Panama Canal."

Jenks said in another Hansen press release that in 1978 an amendment was proposed in the House to prohibit any tax dollars from being used to implement the Panama Canal treaty.

McKay, Jenks said, voted no on the amendment. The vote, Jenks said, was "to give away the canal," which he described as "the world's most strategic waterway."

Brian Moss, Democratic candidate for the seat held by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has said he will not accept contributions from tobacco, beer or alcohol political action committees.

Moss cited personal convictions and his background in preventing drug and alcohol abuse as the reasons for his decision. He served five years as executive director of Allied Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based drug prevention program.

"It's a matter of integrity," Moss said. "It's wrong for a politician to denounce drug addiction on one hand while pocketing a tobacco check with the other."