PBS NewsHour's Jim Lehrer will be playing the thankless role of moderator in the first of the 2012 presidential debates, which kicks off tonight at 9 p.m. ET streaming live right here on The Daily Beast. The debate will focus on domestic policy, with a heavy look at the economy. But veteran debate watchers know these high-wire balancing acts have a tendency to veer far from the script—so any subject could be on the table.
So what questions should Jim Lehrer be asking of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (here's our vote)? We asked our readers over on The Daily Beast's Facebook page to submit one question they thought Jim should absolutely not overlook—and then vote on their favorites submitted by others.
The result: We're publishing 13 questions that Jim Lehrer needs to ask at tonight's debate and which candidate those questions who should be directed toward.
Jim? Ball's in your court. Or risk disappointing over 200,000 of Facebook's finest! Hope you're taking notes.
1. How can you blame the president for a slow economy when Republicans in the House and Senate won’t pass the jobs bill?
—Nancy Huerta Intrator, for Romney
2. Please explain in two minutes how you expect to create 12 million new jobs in the U.S.
—Warren Potash, for Romney
3. Why is it that all Americans do not have the right to marry
—Stephanie Wireman, for both
4. Which tax deductions do you want to end?
—Tracy Smith, for Romney
5. Why do we, as taxpayers, fund the most advanced medical research in the world, but accessing these advancements is limited by individual income?
—Rachel Jones, for both
6. Why did you triple the debt after promising to cut it in half by the end of your first term?
—Mario Avalos, for Obama
7. Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?
—Malik Devon, for Romney
8. Thirty-plus years after President Carter warned us about declining petroleum, why hasn’t any other president moved forward on a nationwide plan of conservation and alternative fuels?
—Greg Hils, for both
9. Why is it that today, when an employer can vet the finances, credit report, and even social networks of a prospective employee, does Mr. Romney think his next employers, the American people, don’t deserve full disclosure of his financial dealings, especially with regard to his taxes? ([Especially considering that] your own father, a man I assume [you] respect to have had integrity and honesty, saw the necessity for public servants to fully disclose their finances with regard to their tax returns.
—Raoul Roach, for Romney
10. How would trickle-down economics effect the economy?
—Mariam Sauceda, for both
11. Please tell us specifically what programs and tax deductions you will do away with in order to reduce the deficit.
—Rita Handelman Closky, for both
12. How would you budget minimum-wage income for a family of 4?
—Kristen M. Barnhart, for both
13. Mr. Romney, you are on record as saying that the Republicans will do anything to get the president out of office, is obstructionism one of the ways?
—Marion Ellen Lee, for Romney