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There was a main page thread which started last night which grew to over 500 posts.  The topic was "If you could ask one question at the debates" and there were many wonderful suggestions.  Since the thread was so long I selected some of the favorites and have listed them here to give them more visibility and to give everyone a chance to vote for the best.

If you do not want to read through the whole list, the top ten are in the extended entry. I edited and combined some of the entries to get the list down to only ten.  I suggest you read the whole list if you haven't already.  

1. (suggested by existenz)
Mr. President, NBC news has reported that before the Iraq war you passed on three opportunities to attack the terrorist camps of Al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, who was based in the areas of Iraq that were not controlled by Saddam. Why did you not attack these camps when you had the chance, considering that he is now responsible for hundreds of terrorist attacks against our forces in Iraq?

2. (suggested by republicansforkerry)

Mr. President, in July of 2003 you said if anyone wanted to attack our troops in Iraq, they should bring it on. In March of this year you appeared at  a reporters' dinner and ran a video in which you jokingly stumbled around your office looking for weapons of mass destruction. Can you explain this behavior to the families who have lost loved ones in Iraq?

3. (based on ideas from eyelessgame, bribri and space)

Mr. President, shortly after the terror attack on 9/11, you swore to capture Usama bin Laden, the perpetrator of the greatest crime ever committed against Americans, 'dead or alive'.  You also said that finding Usama Bin Laden was "our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."  More recently you have said that you are "just not that concerned" about Usama bin Laden. Why have you failed to bring bin Laden to justice, and do you believe there is a correlation between your lack of concern or the fact that you have taken more vacation time than any President for which records are available, and your inability to kill or capture him?

4. (based on ideas from Smokefilleddoom and Cyberactor)

Mr. President, you recently received a formal intelligence assessment provided by your own agencies, indicating that our mission in Iraq was in great danger of failing.  You described this as the CIA 'just guessing'. and indicated that you did not believe what it said. Given your lack of confidence in this NIE, and given all of the intelligence failures that you have acknowledged over the past four years, why have you not fired or replaced a single member of your staff, and what intelligence sources do you trust to give you an accurate assessment of the situation in Iraq in order to make decisions as Commander-in-Chief?

5. (based on ideas from LisaDawn82 and ETinKC)

Mr. President, with over 130,000 troops in Iraq, over 6,000 mutilated from the war and over 1,000 dead, why are you cutting funding to the VA, and why did you try to cut hazardous duty and separation pay, fight an increase in the death benefit for military families, and instruct VA officials to reduce expenses by denying veterans information about their eligibility?  If you are not doing these things, why does the Army Times newspaper say you are?

6. (based on an idea from chickdebater)

Mr. President, with both North Korea and Iran capable of building nuclear weapons, Pakistan acknowledging the selling of nuclear secrets and Russian nuclear scientists fleeing the country, can you please provide some specifics on your plan for international nuclear security and justify the apparent lack of priority of this issue?

7. (based on ideas from Disgusted in St Louis and geneticdem)
Mr. President, on Sept. 11, after being informed by Andrew Card of the 2nd airplane hitting the WTC, you have stated you did not leave immediately because you were concerned about upsetting the children. Why did you remain at the school after leaving the classroom for another 20 minutes of photos with the teachers?   If Mr. Card had came to you in that classroom and told you that your family had been carjacked on September 11, would you still have sat there and done nothing for seven minutes in order to avoid upsetting the children?

8. (suggested by madwayne)
Mr. President, do you believe in the Rapture, and if you do, how does this affect your dealings with the Israelis and Palestinians?"

9. (based on an idea from Carl Ballard)
Mr. President, during the 2000 campaign you said that Jesus was the political philosopher you most admired. Yet you've scoffed at the poor and the meek for the last four years. During your first term millions more people fell into poverty, and millions more people don't have healthcare. You've mocked the peacemakers, at one point comparing millions of people around the country and the world trying to stop the war in Iraq a "focus group." My question is, which, if any, of the groups which Jesus blessed in the Beatitudes do you think deserve compassion or respect from your administration?

10. (based on an idea from jackieca)
Mr. President, why is the Republican National Committee sending out campaign material telling people falsely that Democratic party wants to ban their bibles, and how do you reconcile this behaviour with the commandment which proscribes bearing false witness?

Originally posted to Schmendrick54 on Wed Sep 22, 2004 at 02:25 PM PDT.

Poll

Which is the best debate topic?

12%7 votes
10%6 votes
15%9 votes
12%7 votes
10%6 votes
3%2 votes
12%7 votes
3%2 votes
14%8 votes
3%2 votes
1%1 votes

| 57 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I should probably have been more clear that ... (4.00)
    the people listed above did not write exactly the words in the "quote boxes" (at least not in every case).  To see their exact words, search the original thread.  I wanted to be sure to give them credit for the excellent ideas, but I did not mean to suggest that the text in the boxes was a "quote", even though I put them in "quote boxes".  

    Sorry if I caused any confusion.

    </thinly disguised tip jar>

    •  I considered doing this (none)
      but you beat me to the punch. Good job on collecting together all of the top-rated questions (including my own :).

      Once there is a clear winner (or two clear winners) we should all e-mail the winning questions to the Kerry camp. Click here to send a letter to John Kerry, and suggest that he invoke this question against Bush.

      Obviously, some of the questions wouldn't be appropriate coming from Kerry himself. And some of these would have to be trimmed down a bit. But maybe the Kerry camp can plant the questions into the "soft supporters" who are picked by Gallup for the debates.

      We know by now that the Kerry camp is listening to us. Let's do this!

  •  honorable mention for Rapture (none)
    but I voted on the "who do you trust" question.

    My vote is based on the idea that Bush will not answer the question, so the better questions are the ones that answer themselves if evaded.

    My question, burried deep in that thread after it became a bear to load:

    Mr. President, would you please define the term "major combat operatioins" and tell us what constitutes "accomplishing" a military mission?

  •  Mr. Bush.... (none)
    ...how many times have you been arrested?

    And its worth money too!

    "When your opponent is drowning, throw him an anvil". (James Carville)

    by Blue Shark on Wed Sep 22, 2004 at 03:05:37 PM PDT

  •  The question for Bush (none)
    In March of this year, you were asked "Other than trading Sammy Sosa, have you made any mistakes?"  You responded that you would need some time to think about it.  Having thought about it over the last six months, do you now have an answer?
  •  if it's going to be a serious question (none)
    you need to tone down the hostile wording in the questions. for instance, "Yet you've scoffed at the poor and the meek for the last four years." is very accusatory. questions like that will garner more sympathy to the person being questioned than to win points for your side.
  •  Here's my own favorite: (none)
    We talk about America's greatest strengths--the democratic process and the Bill of Rights.  We hear much about the threats that we face--most especially terrorism.  We do not hear candidates talk very often about this country's weaknesses.  Mr President, what do you feel this country's greatest weakness is?

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