For Obama: Politico’s first question is a laugher. They want to know what Obama will say to the “millions of Americans who might have jobs today if you had made the 2009 stimulus package bigger.” They say he promised bold action and he “blinked.” Oh boy. He spent $787 billion. Basically, he spent the equivalent of the Korean economy. The Korean economy supports 30 million jobs. Obama promised 3 million. He got squat. Stimulus spending does not work and spending more wouldn’t have produce any more jobs. But of course, this question would let Obama sound reasonable to moderates for not overspending and he could simultaneously claim the Republicans blocked him (even though they had no power to block him). This is a softball.
Their next question is the standard, we thought you were going to bring us together, but those evil Republicans wouldn’t work with you, so did you overestimate your ability to work with those monsters? That’s a worthless softball too. But then things get more interesting.
The third question is why Obama hasn’t done more to protect people from losing their homes. This is a good question, though it would be better to ask him what he plans to do. The answer is that there’s nothing he really can do unless he wants to buy out mortgages or nationalize the lenders, so it would be interesting to see his answer.
The fourth question asks “how can you promise to protect entitlements when you’ve put them on the table.” This was during the debt ceiling negotiations. There’s no good answer here, though his campaign commercials are delusionally claiming that he strengthened entitlements by stripping them of money. It would be interesting to see how he spins out of this one.
Finally, they ask why he hasn’t shown “leadership on gun control.” The answer is he knows he’d lose the election if he suggested that, but it would be interesting to see him stuck between his gun-hating supporters and the public.
Other questions I would ask would be:
1. How did the DOE clean energy loans program become such a disaster and will you prosecute Solyndra and the others who took loans obviously planning to go out of business? Also, what will you do to protect the rest of the money that was lent?For Romney: The first question for Romney strikes me as odd. They want Romney to pinky-swear that he won’t eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction. I don’t recall anyone outside of this blog talking about that? I think this is an attempt to put words in his mouth and make him deny something he never said, so they can call him a flip-flopper while simultaneously scaring people. That’s dirty pool.
2. Why can’t we simply return spending to 2008 levels to cut the deficit?
3. What tangible benefits has your Middle East policy produced?
4. What do you plan to do to create jobs?
5. You said you would keep lobbyists out of your government, but your government is full of them. Why did you appoint these people?
Then they ask how he can keep “popular, expensive parts of [ObamaCare] but get rid of the underpinnings that pay for them?” Well, the two things Romney has promised to keep don’t cost the government a penny, so this question is misleading. Imagine that.
The third question is rotten too: “why is it fair that you pay a lower tax rate than many low-income and middle-class Americans?” Uh... that’s not true. Someone actually looked this up today and discovered that Romney’s tax rate was higher than 97% of all taxpayers. But it doesn’t sound so bad to say, “is it fair that you pay a lower rate than 3% of Americans?”
Then they try to revive the tax return issue by asking why Romney demanded more years of taxes from Paul Ryan than he released himself. Yawn.
Finally, they ask him to name three things he disagrees with in Ryan’s budget. This is just an attempt to make him and Ryan appear to be at odds, which they aren’t. Anyway, there’s no right answer here. I would evade this by saying that “you can’t look at a budget that way because it’s all part of a mosaic... now f-off twerp.”
Other questions I would ask would be:
1. What do you plan to do to create jobs?What would you ask?
2. Would you support an across the board spending cut in the Federal government? At what percent? And what other cuts would you make?
3. Obama has been blasting you on Bain Capital, can you tell us how many businesses Bain closed, how many jobs were lost, did they make any money on those closures, how much did they lose on those closures, what companies are alive today because of Bain, and how many jobs do they provide today?
4. What role will Paul Ryan play in your administration?
5. You once said John Roberts was the type of justice you wanted to appoint. Has your opinion changed in light of the ObamaCare ruling, and if so, what justice is most like the type of person you’d like to appoint now?
FYI: First debate Next Wednesday, October 3.