By Jennifer Granholm, POLITICO
We’re in the final countdown for the greatest political show on earth! The presidential debate.
Inspired by my Current TV colleague Eliot Spitzer’s four debate questions in a column for Slate, here are 10 additional questions for both candidates with help from a politically enthusiastic and savvy group — friends on my Facebook page and followers on my Twitter feed.
Since Spitzer’s questions involved Iraq, Syria and health care, I left those out, but I couldn’t help adding some bonus questions for Romney.
Top debate questions for Mitt Romney:
1) In a Republican primary debate, you and your colleagues refused to take a deal that allowed $10 in cuts for $1 in tax revenue. Today, would you still refuse to take a 10-to-1 deal? At the end of 2006, you signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to never raise taxes. Are you still bound to that pledge? Would that pledge trump your oath to uphold the Constitution? Would you vow here to never raise taxes, no matter the consequences?
2) Do you endorse Rep. Todd Akin for Senate, and would you campaign with him in Missouri?
3) Be specific: Name the top three exemptions or deductions in the Tax Code that you would limit or eliminate in order to create a revenue-neutral tax structure that lowers the top rates from 35 percent to 28 percent.
4) You said your 47 percent comment was not “elegantly stated.” As elegantly as you can, tell us if you still believe that 47 percent of Americans “believe that they are victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing … and the government should give it to them?”
5) Should the U.S. still be subsidizing the oil industry? If so, isn’t that picking winners and losers? If not, would you push through legislation that would stop it?
6) Do you still believe, as you wrote in your book, that “climate change is occurring” and “that human activity is a contributing factor?” If so, what should the U.S. do to mitigate the human causes of climate change?
7) The Republican platform calls for reinserting the banks as middlemen on the granting of student loans. The Congressional Budget Office has said that would cost $60 billion more to students as banks take fees and subsidies from the loan management. Given that added cost and if you adopt Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan to cut Pell Grants and loans, how, specifically, would you help middle-class families pay for their children’s college education?
8) Do you believe Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was rightly decided? Do you believe that corporate and individual spending in politics should be unlimited and anonymous?
9) The U.S. has seen 50,000 factories close in the U.S. over the past decade — millions of jobs leaving for low-wage countries. Our economic competitors are luring these jobs aggressively. Studies have shown that this loss of manufacturing jobs has caused the hollowing out of America’s middle class. Should the U.S. craft specific policy — apart from lower corporate taxes — that attracts and keeps manufacturing sector jobs here?
10) If a personhood amendment lands on your desk as president, would you sign it?
Bonus questions for Romney:
1) If you had $50 to last for an entire week, which would you buy: a) groceries; b) gasoline so you could get to work; c) prescriptions for your child’s illness?
2) If America went to war again, would you encourage your eligible son to enlist? Did you encourage any of your sons to enlist when we went to war in Afghanistan or Iraq?
3) Your campaign has an ad that criticizes President Barack Obama for supporting redistribution. Are Social Security and Medicare forms of redistribution?
Top questions for President Barack Obama: 1) If reelected with a Republican House and a Democratic Senate, what new steps would you take to get Republicans to pass legislation to help the American people?
2) Would you back a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and if so, how would you get it passed because you’d be unlikely to get a two-thirds vote of Congress?
3) If elected with a Democratic House and Senate, apart from the American Jobs Act, what would be your top three legislative priorities?
4) Would you restructure the Department of Energy clean-energy grants and loans to ensure that taxpayers would not be on the hook for products that don’t make it successfully to market, like Solyndra?
5) Your administration has taken actions at the World Trade Organization against China. What further specific steps would you take to even the playing field when it comes to trade with China and other low-wage countries?
6) The use of drones is causing more anti-American sentiment overseas than any other foreign-policy action. Would you consider suspending drone usage until the technology is perfected in order to avoid civilian deaths?
7) Do you think the security at our embassies and consulates is adequate, and if so, why was the U.S. Consulate in Libya vulnerable? What further steps would you take to protect our diplomats in volatile countries?
8) Do you believe, as many Republicans do, that states should structure their social programs through the use of block grants?
9) Would you reform Social Security by lifting the cap on contributions of high-income workers? And would you do so by raising the age of eligibility?
10) Would you support filibuster reform in the Senate?
Political junkies watching the countdown with me: What questions would you like answered?