Questions for the debates

Tomorrow is the first presidential debate.  If you were one of the moderators, what questions would you ask Barack Obama and Mitt Romney?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Ray

    Q: Why is it considered “greed” to want to keep the money you’ve earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money?

  • Ray

    Q: Why is it considered “greed” to want to keep the money you’ve earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else’s money?

  • Tom Hering

    Should we continue to act as the world’s policeman? Can we spend less on national security? Under what circumstances would you lead us into another war? What justifies preemptive action?

  • Tom Hering

    Should we continue to act as the world’s policeman? Can we spend less on national security? Under what circumstances would you lead us into another war? What justifies preemptive action?

  • SKPeterson

    Why should anyone in their right mind believe anything either of you say?

  • SKPeterson

    Why should anyone in their right mind believe anything either of you say?

  • Julian

    If you could vote third party, who would you vote for?

  • Julian

    If you could vote third party, who would you vote for?

  • fjsteve

    SKP, that would be rhetorical would it not?

  • fjsteve

    SKP, that would be rhetorical would it not?

  • Dan Kempin

    I would ask why the moderator gets to treat the debate like an interview and spring questions on the candidates. I would like to hear the candidates, not the journalists, express their views. The moderator should say nothing more than “It’s your turn, sir.”

    I would also ask whether I could ban the commentators who come on immediately afterward to tell me what the candidates just said because, apparently, I’m either too stupid to understand or don’t remember what I heard just five minutes before.

  • Dan Kempin

    I would ask why the moderator gets to treat the debate like an interview and spring questions on the candidates. I would like to hear the candidates, not the journalists, express their views. The moderator should say nothing more than “It’s your turn, sir.”

    I would also ask whether I could ban the commentators who come on immediately afterward to tell me what the candidates just said because, apparently, I’m either too stupid to understand or don’t remember what I heard just five minutes before.

  • Med Student

    I second Tom’s question @2.

  • Med Student

    I second Tom’s question @2.

  • SKPeterson

    fjs – Yes. But aren’t those the best questions to ask politicians? Anyhow, here are a few alternatives:

    1. Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In light of the Patriot Act, do you agree with this statement?

    2. In foreign affairs and our relations with other nations, what do you think are the national interests of the United States? Why? How do you propose to safeguard or further those interests? What do you think are the greatest threats to those interests? Why?

    3. Who is the Prime Minister of Canada and what political party is he leader of? Can you answer the same question for Mexico?

    4. The Federal Reserve has been engaging in new forms of monetary policy in recent years, such as buying trillions of dollars worth of U.S. government debt. Should this policy be encouraged? Do you agree that this policy is the best possible course of action to be taking at this time? What would you do differently?

  • SKPeterson

    fjs – Yes. But aren’t those the best questions to ask politicians? Anyhow, here are a few alternatives:

    1. Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” In light of the Patriot Act, do you agree with this statement?

    2. In foreign affairs and our relations with other nations, what do you think are the national interests of the United States? Why? How do you propose to safeguard or further those interests? What do you think are the greatest threats to those interests? Why?

    3. Who is the Prime Minister of Canada and what political party is he leader of? Can you answer the same question for Mexico?

    4. The Federal Reserve has been engaging in new forms of monetary policy in recent years, such as buying trillions of dollars worth of U.S. government debt. Should this policy be encouraged? Do you agree that this policy is the best possible course of action to be taking at this time? What would you do differently?

  • Tom Hering

    What is your name?

    What is your quest?

    What is your favorite color?

  • Tom Hering

    What is your name?

    What is your quest?

    What is your favorite color?

  • HippoAugustine

    What is the capital of assyria?

  • HippoAugustine

    What is the capital of assyria?

  • EricM

    1 – When does life begin? (assuming that they answer either some time in the womb or I don’t know follow with) How do you justify taking the life of that human being under any circumstances?

    2 – Please justify the killing of individuals within the territory of another country when that country has not given permission for US military action within its borders.

    3 – Please describe in detail your plan to reduce the national debt.

  • EricM

    1 – When does life begin? (assuming that they answer either some time in the womb or I don’t know follow with) How do you justify taking the life of that human being under any circumstances?

    2 – Please justify the killing of individuals within the territory of another country when that country has not given permission for US military action within its borders.

    3 – Please describe in detail your plan to reduce the national debt.

  • trotk

    First of all, I love SK’s questions, particularly the one voiced in #3.

    My own:

    Have you read George Washington’s Farewell Address? Why are you ignoring his plea that we shun political parties and avoid foreign entanglements?

  • trotk

    First of all, I love SK’s questions, particularly the one voiced in #3.

    My own:

    Have you read George Washington’s Farewell Address? Why are you ignoring his plea that we shun political parties and avoid foreign entanglements?

  • fjsteve

    Ok, here’s a question to get the debates started:

    You both refer to yourselves as Christians. What are your thought about the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one”?

  • fjsteve

    Ok, here’s a question to get the debates started:

    You both refer to yourselves as Christians. What are your thought about the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one”?

  • Jon

    ErikM@11

    Your Question 1 was already asked and answered by Obama during the meeting with Rick Warren in 08. He said, “That’s way above my pay grade.”

  • Jon

    ErikM@11

    Your Question 1 was already asked and answered by Obama during the meeting with Rick Warren in 08. He said, “That’s way above my pay grade.”

  • Jon

    President Obama, you said when you were newly elected that your term as president was “a one-shot proposition,” if you couldn’t get this economy fixed in four years.

    We are still at over 8% national unemployment during your entire time in office. Job prospects for graduates are all dried up. People have given up looking for work. You’ve put more people on food stamps than anyone. Economic growth is stagnant, GDP-wise. You’ve added over $4,000,000,000,000 to the national debt now over $16T. We are paying over $4gal for gasoline. Your green initiatives have been a waste, and your shovel ready jobs have not spurred any recovery. Yet your treasury officers are printing and pouring record amounts of dollars to inflate the stock market and still the economy splutters as if on 2 out of 8 cylinders.

    So, Mr. President, when can we expect your resignation?

  • Jon

    President Obama, you said when you were newly elected that your term as president was “a one-shot proposition,” if you couldn’t get this economy fixed in four years.

    We are still at over 8% national unemployment during your entire time in office. Job prospects for graduates are all dried up. People have given up looking for work. You’ve put more people on food stamps than anyone. Economic growth is stagnant, GDP-wise. You’ve added over $4,000,000,000,000 to the national debt now over $16T. We are paying over $4gal for gasoline. Your green initiatives have been a waste, and your shovel ready jobs have not spurred any recovery. Yet your treasury officers are printing and pouring record amounts of dollars to inflate the stock market and still the economy splutters as if on 2 out of 8 cylinders.

    So, Mr. President, when can we expect your resignation?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Can you tell me, in 100 words or less, how you are going to solve the economic sluggishness and the National debt?

    Of course, if any one of the two, or both, gives an answer to that, they are not worth voting for. Reality is far too complex, and the answers too nuanced, to imagine than an answer could be given in so few words…

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Can you tell me, in 100 words or less, how you are going to solve the economic sluggishness and the National debt?

    Of course, if any one of the two, or both, gives an answer to that, they are not worth voting for. Reality is far too complex, and the answers too nuanced, to imagine than an answer could be given in so few words…

  • DonS

    SKP’s questions @ 8 are great. I would modify the first one by broadening it beyond the Patriot Act — In light of your administration’s efforts to significantly increase the size and scope of government, and the Obamacare HHS regulations, do you agree with this statement?

    Also: In light of what happened in Benghazi, Libya, please tell me why I would ever agree to serve as an ambassador for your administration?

  • DonS

    SKP’s questions @ 8 are great. I would modify the first one by broadening it beyond the Patriot Act — In light of your administration’s efforts to significantly increase the size and scope of government, and the Obamacare HHS regulations, do you agree with this statement?

    Also: In light of what happened in Benghazi, Libya, please tell me why I would ever agree to serve as an ambassador for your administration?

  • Kirk

    No birther questions yet? Folks, I am impressed!

  • Kirk

    No birther questions yet? Folks, I am impressed!

  • Grace

    Julian #4 “If you could vote third party, who would you vote for?”

    The gold ☆ winner above. I’d like to see both ding dongs answer that one, as they stumble along, with the audience roaring with laughter.

  • Grace

    Julian #4 “If you could vote third party, who would you vote for?”

    The gold ☆ winner above. I’d like to see both ding dongs answer that one, as they stumble along, with the audience roaring with laughter.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace – We no longer adhere to gold. You need to make that a fiat paper star.

  • SKPeterson

    Grace – We no longer adhere to gold. You need to make that a fiat paper star.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    1) Why do you want this job?
    2) What do you consider your greatest strength? And your greatest weakness?
    3) Describe a situation in which you have overcome a challenge or seen a project to its conclusion.
    4) Where do you see yourself in five years?
    5) Why are manhole covers round?
    6) There are three lights in a closed room. Outside are three switches, all currently off. You’re allowed to set the switches in any configuration and go into the room, but you can only do so once. How can you determine which switch controls which light?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    1) Why do you want this job?
    2) What do you consider your greatest strength? And your greatest weakness?
    3) Describe a situation in which you have overcome a challenge or seen a project to its conclusion.
    4) Where do you see yourself in five years?
    5) Why are manhole covers round?
    6) There are three lights in a closed room. Outside are three switches, all currently off. You’re allowed to set the switches in any configuration and go into the room, but you can only do so once. How can you determine which switch controls which light?

  • Grace

    SKP

    You have have the paper cut outs, you can make them yourself ! :lol:

  • Grace

    SKP

    You have have the paper cut outs, you can make them yourself ! :lol:

  • TE Schroeder

    As the president, you are to swear to preserve, defend, and protect the Consitution of the United States of America. Now, here are 20 True/False questions about the Constitution…….

  • TE Schroeder

    As the president, you are to swear to preserve, defend, and protect the Consitution of the United States of America. Now, here are 20 True/False questions about the Constitution…….

  • Grace

    Questions:

    Romney: since you consider yourself to be a future god, what achievements will you strive for here on this planet, to solve the problems in the U.S., perhaps to use when you become a god? But of course, if you’re a god, you can solve anything, is that what you believe? Both for the U.S. and then when you become a god.

    Obama: you’ve made real rubble of massive amounts of money, just as you promised to “spread the wealth” believing in a socialist government. How “socialist” are you? Are you willing to show us first hand how it’s done, using your private funds?

    What comes to mind is the promise you made to those of your relatives and friends in Africa to help them build a school. You never did that, why didn’t you use some of your own money to help your own, after you promised?

    Barack Obama’s broken promise to African village

    David Cohen, Evening Standard
    25.07.08

    “But this bucolic scene in his father’s village of Kogelo near the Equator in western Kenya conceals a troubling reality that, until now, has never been spoken about. Barack Obama, the Evening Standard can reveal, after we went to the village earlier this month, has failed to honour the pledges of assistance that he made to a school named in his honour when he visited here amid great fanfare two years ago.”

    Another excerpt:
    “He told the assembled press, local politicians (who included current Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga), and students: “Hopefully I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be.” He then turned to the school’s principal, Yuanita Obiero, and assured her and her teachers: “I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so.”

    Another excerpt:
    But the Evening Standard has heard that the promises he made to help the school as well as a local orphanage appear to have been empty.

    Another excerpt:
    When we ask an Obama spokesperson in Kenya, who is also a family member, why no support has been forthcoming, he says: “We have no comment, the family are not doing any interviews at this time.”

    However, the school’s senior teacher Dalmas Raloo, 41, who is often used as a translator for Obama’s grandmother who only speaks Luo, and is a friend of the family, says the family are mystified by what they are calling “Obama’s lapse”. “If you ask whether Obama’s family think he should give something to the village and to the school, the answer is ‘yes, definitely’. But they feel it should come from him spontaneously. They don’t want to ask him for it.”

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23520981-details/Barack+Obama's+broken+promise+to+African+village/article.do

  • Grace

    Questions:

    Romney: since you consider yourself to be a future god, what achievements will you strive for here on this planet, to solve the problems in the U.S., perhaps to use when you become a god? But of course, if you’re a god, you can solve anything, is that what you believe? Both for the U.S. and then when you become a god.

    Obama: you’ve made real rubble of massive amounts of money, just as you promised to “spread the wealth” believing in a socialist government. How “socialist” are you? Are you willing to show us first hand how it’s done, using your private funds?

    What comes to mind is the promise you made to those of your relatives and friends in Africa to help them build a school. You never did that, why didn’t you use some of your own money to help your own, after you promised?

    Barack Obama’s broken promise to African village

    David Cohen, Evening Standard
    25.07.08

    “But this bucolic scene in his father’s village of Kogelo near the Equator in western Kenya conceals a troubling reality that, until now, has never been spoken about. Barack Obama, the Evening Standard can reveal, after we went to the village earlier this month, has failed to honour the pledges of assistance that he made to a school named in his honour when he visited here amid great fanfare two years ago.”

    Another excerpt:
    “He told the assembled press, local politicians (who included current Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga), and students: “Hopefully I can provide some assistance in the future to this school and all that it can be.” He then turned to the school’s principal, Yuanita Obiero, and assured her and her teachers: “I know you are working very hard and struggling to bring up this school, but I have said I will assist the school and I will do so.”

    Another excerpt:
    But the Evening Standard has heard that the promises he made to help the school as well as a local orphanage appear to have been empty.

    Another excerpt:
    When we ask an Obama spokesperson in Kenya, who is also a family member, why no support has been forthcoming, he says: “We have no comment, the family are not doing any interviews at this time.”

    However, the school’s senior teacher Dalmas Raloo, 41, who is often used as a translator for Obama’s grandmother who only speaks Luo, and is a friend of the family, says the family are mystified by what they are calling “Obama’s lapse”. “If you ask whether Obama’s family think he should give something to the village and to the school, the answer is ‘yes, definitely’. But they feel it should come from him spontaneously. They don’t want to ask him for it.”

    http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23520981-details/Barack+Obama's+broken+promise+to+African+village/article.do

  • Cincinnatus

    Q: Who cares?

  • Cincinnatus

    Q: Who cares?

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@21:

    Don’t forget: “So, why do you want to work for the United States of America?”

    Also:

    “Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?”

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@21:

    Don’t forget: “So, why do you want to work for the United States of America?”

    Also:

    “Do you prefer to work alone or on a team?”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus @ 26 :) :)

    I was actually reading a blog today about the meaningless questions / requirements people ask in this context -

    Everybody’s A ‘Team Player’
    The same goes for ‘excellent communicator’, ‘hard worker’ and ‘self-starter’. These are meaningless requirements because everyone believes they’re all of the above.

    From http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-truth-about-job-postings

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Cincinnatus @ 26 :) :)

    I was actually reading a blog today about the meaningless questions / requirements people ask in this context -

    Everybody’s A ‘Team Player’
    The same goes for ‘excellent communicator’, ‘hard worker’ and ‘self-starter’. These are meaningless requirements because everyone believes they’re all of the above.

    From http://www.recruitingblogs.com/profiles/blogs/the-truth-about-job-postings

  • Tom Hering

    Mr. Obama, have you stopped beating your wife?

    Mr. Romney, have you stopped beating your wives?

  • Tom Hering

    Mr. Obama, have you stopped beating your wife?

    Mr. Romney, have you stopped beating your wives?

  • Cincinnatus

    On a more serious note, it seems to me that both candidates–especially Obama–need to be seriously questioned about recent events in the Middle East, since as it happens the video satirizing Mohammad was not the cause of the riots and murders.

  • Cincinnatus

    On a more serious note, it seems to me that both candidates–especially Obama–need to be seriously questioned about recent events in the Middle East, since as it happens the video satirizing Mohammad was not the cause of the riots and murders.

  • Tom Hering

    To be or not to be?

    Who’s on first?

    Do ya feel lucky?

    You talkin’ to me?

    Is it safe?

    What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

  • Tom Hering

    To be or not to be?

    Who’s on first?

    Do ya feel lucky?

    You talkin’ to me?

    Is it safe?

    What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

  • Booklover

    Which other amendment to the Constitution do you feel it is OK to violate?

  • Booklover

    Which other amendment to the Constitution do you feel it is OK to violate?

  • Jon

    How you doin’?

  • Jon

    How you doin’?


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