Presidential Debates Strategy: Expectations are key

From ABC News: Debate Day Draws Near: Raising The Stakes, Lowering Expectations

"Will Mitt Romney get the game changer he needs in next week’s presidential debate?

Even as the Republican presidential nominee has been touting President Obama’s debating chops ('The president is obviously a very eloquent, gifted speaker,' Romney told Fox News this week. 'He’ll do just fine.'), he’s also been raising the stakes for his own performance..." Read more.
Speaking of setting expectations, check out this video from Buzzfeed of Joe Biden hyping up Sarah Palin's debate skills: 

My questions for the debates (Alan Baren, Livingston, NJ)


President Obama:  Critics of the Healthcare Reform Act complain it was passed without one opposition party vote in Congress, and many believe it does not do enough to address reducing long-term healthcare costs and infringes on the rights of Americans by imposing an insurance purchase requirement. How do you respond to that?

Mitt Romney:   Clearly there are parts of the Healthcare Reform Act that are provide valuable benefits to Americans; not requiring pre-existing conditions, no lifetime caps  and allowing children to be insured under their parents policy until 26. When you say you would repeal the Healthcare Reform Act, which parts would you keep and which would you not?

Mitt Romney:  You required a health insurance mandate for Massachusetts, yet claim the Federal government should not do this and let each State determine their own path. Why do you think a mandate was a positive thing for Massachusetts but yet not something you think all Americans in all states should have?



To Both Candidates: The biggest challenge for the next Administration and Congress is balancing the reduction of our deficit with stimulating the economy.  On stimulating the economy, what stimulus other than tax cuts and reduce regulation would you pursue by the Federal government to create jobs and foster growth - beyond leaving it all to the private sector?

What's your plan to stimulate both private and public jobs?

For the deficit, it is generally agreed to that a balanced approach of increased revenue and decreased spending is needed to successfully address the $16B deficit. What would you specifically do to increase revenue, and which programs would you specifically cut to descrease spending?

Mitt Romney:   You have stated that if elected you would cut taxes across the board, and maintain the same tax base on eliminating exemptions and deductions, yet you have not  explained what exemptions and deductions you would eliminate.  Can you tell us what specific exemptions and deductions you would target cutting or eliminating?  Would you cut home mortgage or charity deductions?



Mitt Romney: In the videotape released at your May fundraiser in Florida, you stated that 47% of Americans do not pay taxes and as such would not as moved or incented to vote for tax cutting - samller government policies.  Your general position on economic growth has been supply-side economics where by cutting taxes keeps more money in people's pockets, especially in the upper class, which as a result, trickles down, creates business and job formation and overall economic growth. If you truly believe in trickled-down economic growth and that it creates jobs for everybody, why would the 47% you referred to not supportive of tax cuts - if it would supposedly create jobs for everybody?



Mitt Romney: Your running mate, Paul Ryan, supports Personhood - which criminalized all abotion and would make use of birth control analogous to pre-medicated murder. Do you support Personhood?

Mitt Romney:   Planned Parenthood helped provide less economically privilege Americans to access not just family planning resources, but also breast cancer screenings, HIV screenings, and access to birth control. You have said you would eliminate all funding for Planned Parenthood. Does this put the less privilege at risk of not being able to afford or have access to these other services?

To Both Candidates: Several states lead by Republican initiatives has started imposing increased requirements around what is required for women to make decisions over their own personal healthcare - including in some cases invasive, unnecessary procedures when seeking a legal abortion. What is your view on these new laws? Don't these State laws attempt to circumvent Roe v. Wade, and don't they put more of a burden on poorer women who may need to pay for these procedures or wait in long lines?


Mitt Romney:  Israel - What is your approach to facilitating peace in the Middle East? In your videotop from your May fundraiser, you said "you move things along the best way you can....You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem,"..."We kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it". It seems you are saying "this is a problem so hard to solve, you are giving up on it.  Would you proactively try to facilitate peace in the Middle East, or do you truly believe this is an unsolvable problem as you stated and therefore will wait for someone else to address it?

President Obama: Mitt Romney has critized you for not being a strong enough ally to Israel. How do you respond to that?

Mitt Romney:  You have criticized the current Administration's poilicy when it comes to Iran and prevenint Iran from developing nuclear weapons capabilities. Can you specify if you were elected President, how your policy towards Iran would be different and what actions you would take differently from the current Administration?

President Obama: In Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to the United Nations last week, he talked about drawing a red line around Iran's nuclear program, and stopping them before not after they reach 90% uranium enrichment - which could be as early as next spring or summer. What actions is the United States willing to make to prevent Iram from obtaining nuclear capabilities and in what timeframe?



Help the American people understand your position on immigration?  Should there be a legal path to citizenship for those already in our country?  And if so, does that include or not include exportation prior to re-admittance?  Do you support the Dream Act?


To President Obama: It is felt your proposals on economic growth, stimuls and deficit reduction to the Republican-lead Congress were generally met with opposition. Many in this country feel, Congress has done very little to act on these issues during your Administration. What would you do differently in your second term, if elected, to come to move things through Congress?

To President Obama:  One thing you have stated is that you need to engage the American people more in influencing Congress. Can you give examples of how you would do this?


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