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  • Morning Bell: 10 Questions for the First Presidential Debate

    Tonight’s debate between President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney is supposed to focus on domestic policy, with a major concentration on the economy. Health care, the role of government, and philosophy of governing are also on the agenda. The Heritage Foundation’s policy experts have submitted 10 questions they would like to see asked in the debate.

    1. In 2008, then-candidate Obama said, “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.” In reality, President Obama’s signature health care law contains 18 new or increased taxes and penalties that will cost taxpayers $836.3 billion over the next 10 years, many of which fall heavily on the middle class. In fact, almost 70 percent of those responsible for paying the fiercely debated individual mandate are below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. Should these tax increases be stopped to protect middle-class Americans from their damage? If yes, where would the money needed to help pay for Obamacare come from?

    2. Millions of baby boomers are starting to retire, and spending on Social Security and Medicare as these programs are currently structured is simply unsustainable. What is your plan to solve the looming entitlement program spending crisis?

    3. Medicare as we know it today is facing severe financing problems that are unsustainable and putting future generations’ Medicare benefits in jeopardy. Over the long term, Medicare has made $37 trillion worth of promises to seniors that it cannot keep and the hospital insurance trust fund will be empty by 2024. Worse, the President’s health care law will cut Medicare by $716 billion over the next 10 years to pay for new spending in Obamacare. As Medicare’s solvency hangs in the balance, what structural reforms, if any, are you willing to make to preserve Medicare for future generations?

    4. Everyone talks about shoring up our battered American Dream. How would you define the American Dream and what do you think are the most serious threats to it?

    5. The Health and Human Services Department recently rewrote the law governing welfare to weaken its work requirements. Meanwhile, the number of people relying on food stamps has doubled under the current Administration. Should all able-bodied recipients be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving aid in public housing, food stamps, and cash assistance?

    6. The federal government is currently spending much more than it has, and annual budget deficits over $1 trillion have become the norm. What is your plan to stem the tide of deficits and rising debt?

    7. One of the few bright spots in America’s economy has been energy production, particularly on state and private lands.  According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), energy production decreased 13 percent on federal lands in fiscal year (FY) 2011 when compared to FY 2010.  What would you do to reverse course on energy production on federal lands?

    8. Congress—most notably the Senate, which hasn’t produced a budget in over three years—is sorely lacking in its basic responsibility of budgeting. What would you do to ensure the fundamental process of budgeting is restored?

    9. President Obama has previously stated that, in the most important 5 percent of cases before the courts, it matters more what is in a judge’s heart (what has come to be known as his empathy standard) than what the rule of law requires. Is this the correct standard by which to evaluate judicial nominees? If not, what standard would you apply?

    10. Former Attorney General of Mexico Victor Humberto Benítez Treviño estimated that approximately 300 Mexican citizens have been killed using Fast and Furious weapons in addition to U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry. Should Eric Holder resign as Attorney General because of his failures related to Operation Fast and Furious, including his failure to properly supervise the operation? If not, why not?

    Watch the debate with Heritage tonight—you can watch it live, streaming on our Debate 2012 page. On the page, you can also follow our experts’ live blog and chime in on Twitter.

    Quick Hits:

    • Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday that the middle class has been “buried in the last four years.”
    • The White House has no comment on assertions that the U.S. Consulate in Libya had requested additional security—and been denied—before the recent terrorist attack.
    • The government is suggesting that school lunch programs provide a helpful template for family dinners at home, reports CNSNews.
    • The House Oversight Committee has listed security threats and attacks in Libya that occurred during the six months leading up to the September 11 attack.
    • Tune in online to Istook Live!, the radio show broadcasting from Heritage, from 9 a.m.-noon ET for a lineup of pre-debate discussion, including Heritage experts and Bill Miller from the Business Roundtable.
    Posted in Energy, Obamacare, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    40 Responses to Morning Bell: 10 Questions for the First Presidential Debate

    1. John Augustin says:

      Does anyone here believe the main stream media will ask these questions tonight or at any other time?

      • E. Jack says:

        Yes – Those in the Liberal Media are much fairer than those who doubt their fairness. In fact they are the ones who truly merit the badge of fairness. Think about it – It must be rather difficult to have to think about unpleasant things to say so often – eh?

      • roytimothy says:

        If these questions were asked of Romney/Ryan there would be no specifics, just their usual blather & rhetoric. Their appeal to the right is only because they are neocons and are afraid to get specific or are just buffalo-ing the swing/independents with"just wait until after the election and then we'll show ya". Which means if they win, they will pander to the 1% in reality by way of fiscal exploitation of and further demoting the middle class. Just like he said in his in Florida when he was being taped. BTW, Health care for seniors & Social Security ARE NOT entitlements. It will be worse than bush

      • Harry says:

        These woukd be some of what needss to be asked. I think I would ask As a standard what happened to our constitutional standard? Half of the Supreme Court seems to ignore that standard.

      • Timroy says:

        If these questions were asked of Romney/Ryan there would be no specifics, just their usual blather & rhetoric. Their appeal to the right is only because they are neocons and are afraid to get specific or are just buffalo-ing the swing/independents with"just wait until after the election and then we'll show ya". Which means if they win, they will pander to the 1% in reality by way of fiscal exploitation of and further demoting the middle class. Just like he said in his in Florida when he was being taped. BTW, Health care for seniors & Social Security ARE NOT entitlements. It will be worse than bush; unless you are a 1%-er. In which case when we go to war with Iran, you'll make a big pile$$$ again.

    2. Larry says:

      Regarding Fast and Furious: two dead federal agents (possibly three with the shooting yesterday), several HUNDRED dead Mexican citizens, failure to notify the Mexican government before the program was implemented. Which administration was responsible for this? Who are you going to vote for?

      • Bush had a similar program, but they were planting bugs in the stocks of the guns before they left the US. When the cartels found the bugs, the Bush Administration abandoned the program for it was a failure. "Fast and Furious" was purely a program of the Obama Administration. Definitely not voting for the current dismal administration!!

      • The oie report blames the Obama justice dept, but not Holder – he did not knew what his employees were doing. Bosses are the place where the buck stops murdering thousands of people with weapons you give them – which by the way makes you an accomplace. The question should be, should Mr holder go to jail like Scooder Libby did?

    3. DennyB says:

      LOL!! If anyone thinks that the MSM hacks conducting this debate are going to ask questions of the President that are anywhere near this tough they are delusional. As per usual, they will protect him at all costs. One can only hope that, at least, they will further reveal their bias in fgront of a national audience so that someday people will wake up and turn off these biased outlets.

    4. Andrew Conneen says:

      When obama blames the previous administration for the bad economy that he "inherited" he is never or rarely reminded that HE was part of the congress that ran up these debts.

      • The economy and current federal deficit should be thought of as two different categories. While the economy is based of free market principles, it is nothing but free. The manipulation of the market by the federal government with so many rules, regulations, and laws, the feds pick and choose the winners which are usually whoever has the most money to lobby with. As far as the deficit goes, I distinctly remember Obama calling Bush's deficit spending "un-patriotic" while he has racked up over $1 trillion every year he has been in office. I would call that business as usual on steroids as well as hypocritical.

      • Ray says:

        Blaming past administrations for current problems, having some validity is nonsense. If a corporation failing in direction and financially fires their CEO and hires a new one, how long do you think he would last. After 4 years and corporation still failing, new CEO excuse….It was the past CEO agenda that is causing our current problems? He was hired to fix problems, not come up with excuses.

    5. ACD says:

      What specifics will Romney outline as his plan to solve the problem areas.
      We need a plan, that will work and a leader to make it happen

    6. Paul J says:

      Great questions. Count on not one being asked. If anyone thinks the media hasn't taken sides with Obama & the Democrats, they're just not paying attention.

    7. PamE says:

      Item #4 states "relying on food stamps". It is my experience that most of the people on food stamps would be eating adequately without them. Therefore, the "relying" is a misleading term.

    8. PaulE says:

      All good questions and yet another example of why limiting the selection of debate moderators to the liberal mainstream media does an incredible disservice to the people of the United States. None of the mainstream moderators selected for any of the debates, which once again the Republican Party leadership foolishly signed off on, will ask any of these important questions.

    9. Lloyd Scallan says:

      When the moderators for these so called debates were slected by the left, any through that any of these type of question would be ask, was thrown out the window. Yet the brain-dead Republicans agreed to the unfair and biased moderators.

    10. toledofan says:

      Horrah, some great questions, I hate to echo everybody's sentiments but, not one of these will ever be asked. I fear tonights debate will be more about gotcha and ways for Obama to wiggle his way out of the problems he's caused. Heck, Obama will probably spent most of his time calling Romney a liar and blaming G. Bush and then the moderators will ask him if he prefers boxers or briefs.

    11. A Young says:

      The liberal commentators won't allow these questions as is. They will ask questions that make Obama look good and Romney look bad,

    12. Will the Liberal Moderators of the Mainstream "Chicago Mob" mentality ask both candidates the same questions? Or will it continue to display the bias for Obama that is so evident these days!!?
      This election is not only about the Character of the candidates; but about the Character of the American People!! From our Founding Fathers; "If you vote for evil men/women — you will also be a traitor to your country."

    13. I wish these were the questions Bill Lehrer would ask. Of course, he is not going to ask a question that makes the administration look bad. Romney is going to capitalize on the questions and use the answer to refer to these issues.

    14. Phyllis Murrell says:

      Add a question about circumventing congress to issue regulations which strangle business and harass individual citizens. We are becoming a dictatorship when the president can unilaterally issue these orders to force his agenda on energy, immigration, health food, environment, and a host of other invasions of personal privacy.

    15. Pat Norris says:

      Here's another question…Why did you give a failing company our tax dollars (Solyndra) rather than giving it to our military defense fund so they can defend the U.S. properly instead of DEFUNDING them??

    16. will says:

      Finance without morality expolits some people;
      Morality without finance destroys America.

      Pick one, and defend your choice.

    17. Southern Girl says:

      All of the moderators for the upcoming debates are left leaning liberals. I'm sure they will not ask any hard questions that will put Obama on the spot. Instead, they will try to point out the "good" that he has done in their eyes and ask Romney what he plans to do to match it. Ha! Should be a joke at best. I hope I'm wrong and I hope that Romney can handle the pressure and come out looking good.

    18. Do you propose to review the many recent Presidential Executive Orders and report which if any will be recinded?

    19. Corker McGee says:

      Got a good zinger for Mitt – So, Mr. President, if you get re-elected for another term, are you going to blame the previous administration for the economic and financial mess you are inheriting?

    20. roytimothy says:

      If these questions were asked of Romney/Ryan there would be no specifics, just their usual blather & rhetoric.

    21. will says:

      Everyone else increases the opulence of the rich;
      And the rich increase the standard of living of everyone else.

      Agree or disagree and why?

    22. Owen K. says:

      Absolutely right on. These are question that should be asked. They will not be asked. The reason is obvious. The media gets to control the debate with their milksop questions for Obama with "attack" type questions for Romney. Its what they do and its who they are. And, regardless of the outcome, the media will praise Obama for winning the debate. This is a loosing proposition for Romney.

    23. Ed In Leesburg says:

      Even if these good types of question are asked, the candidates will dodge and not answer. I hope the moderator keeps them on point. I expect he will not and this time will devolve into yet another worthless political commercial.

    24. Bobbie says:

      All excellent questions!!

      How sad it is that men can't be seen for the man they are! We can however see Obama is a phony who's work consists only of resentment building and voices it to all he can. He doesn't motivate productivity, he motivates self pity! He has saturated the black community with lies and distortions of this country and of people he doesn't know. He holds people back to guilt or sympathize while he promotes human weakness. He can't respect this country enough to be truthful. He has an embedded attitude that gives no chances to see where he's wrong, he refuses truth. He's focusing on convincing 99% perception to make it his reality. His hatred is ongoing without merit. For the first time in America's history we have a president that instills low self esteem and exploits low self esteem. Not the role of the president of America.

    25. Clearhead says:

      Hope springs eternal, gentlemen.. The deed is done and the die is cast — However, there is an off chance that the 'moderator' has a bit of a conscience, and if so — well, we'll see.

    26. T. Cooprider says:

      What I want to know when Social Security and medicare became an Entitlement ? These are programs that we HAD to pay into whether we want to or not. If Congress had keep there hands out of it we wouldn't be in this shape. This Entitlement crap really burn my bottom, this something that Goverment owes as we have paid for it.

    27. mbs says:

      I believe the most important question of all is to inquire of Obuma why should one person in America cast their vote for you; a public figure that has his entire past life sealed ? This should be a no brainer for everyone! No reputable man or woman on any level would consider doing such a despicable thing other than they have plenty to hide from the American populace.

      And, does the GOP REALLY want to win this election? I think not, for agreeing to allow liberals in charge of the debates. What are they thinking? Evidently NOT!

      Also all the uproar of Romney's taxes-he at least made the money honestly. Strategy to keep anyone from delving into the fruadulent birth certificate, all the sealed records, his affiations with Muslims & the Chicago mobsters that helped put him in the White House. Tell me, what has our beloved country become?

    28. Romney simply must stick to the economy, the debt, the job market, oil production and the false hopes that were fed to the American people four years ago. Not one of Obama's promises was fulfilled.

    29. z1queenie says:

      Good luck with getting anything even vaguely resembling those 10 questions. If a liberal asked ONE of those questions, they would burst into flames.

    30. Leonard ?Cooper says:

      Such detailed but valid questions only muddles the waters, and the intent is lost. Make it as simple as possible. Say, You promised a significant reduction in the unemployed but it has remained high. You failed to deliver. Responsibility would NOT say, it was bigger than I thought, or, nobody could turn this around, or,, its the House that refuses to allow me to do my job. or continually offers excuses, refuses blame and does not ask for more time. The strategy is to focus on the simple, and to anticipate the possible responses he could give BEFORE HE uses them. Repeat this process continually, forcing him to fumble for answers. People can readily grasp this, I know, because I sold religious books, door to door, for a number of years, and as you should know there is probaly nothing harder to sell than these. I broke records and sold on one occasion 13 straight . The trick is to beat others to the punch, answer their obfections before they can. It's the simplest approaches that are the most rewarding. Look at former President Reagan and his remarks: "—youth and inexperience." , and "Mr Gorbachov, tear down this wall." The masses get it!

    31. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Three Presidents in the 20th century, Harding, Kennedy, and Reagan, cut taxes. Obama's raised the deficit more
      than the previous 43 Presidents combined.

    32. Just askin... says:

      Ask this: Why did the federal government instruct the SSA to purchase over a hundred thousand of hollow point bullets? Who do they intend to hurt? The elderly, the ill?

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