VP Debate

13 Questions That Should Be Asked at the Vice Presidential Debate

From health care and taxes to women’s rights and pot legalization—13 reader questions for Biden and Ryan.

AP Photo

ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz will be moderating tonight’s VP debate between Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden. The debate starts at 9 p.m. ET, but The Daily Beast’s live stream will be starting up at 8 p.m. After President Obama’s lackluster performance at the first face-off, all eyes will be on Biden to turn the tide against Mitt Romney and Ryan. Paul Ryan, heralded for his smarts, will have an opportunity to prove just how sharp he is in front of a large national audience.

So what questions should Raddatz be asking of Joe Biden and Paul Ryan? We asked readers on The Daily Beast’s Facebook page to submit one question they thought the correspondent should absolutely not overlook—and then vote on their favorite questions submitted by others.

The result: 13 questions for tonight’s debate, and who those questions should be directed toward.

1. Mr. Ryan, this year’s extreme summer is predicted to lead to a rise in food prices, creating further pressures on household budgets already squeezed by the harsh economic conditions. Given that an unstable climate is becoming the new normal and will impact food production, what is your plan for dealing with the affect on food prices?

—Arpita Bhattacharjya

2. Mr. Biden, could you expand on your earlier statement that the middle class has been crushed over the last four years?

—Terry Graham

3. Mr. Ryan, the United States Constitution is an agreement between we the people, and our government. In recent years we have seen a rise in laws tha are in direct violation of the rights insured to us by the Constitution. There are laws which negate our civil liberties and allow for U.S. citizens to be imprisoned, killed, or placed into servitude, all in the name of a war against a tactic. What steps if any would your administration take toward re-establishing our civil liberties and eliminating these violations to the Constitution.

—Mark Sprigg

4. Ask Biden why their adm has insisted on promoting energy policy that is not economically feasible, has failed, and has cost millions of American jobs.

—William Steiner

5. I’d ask them both to describe the Norquist pledge and to explain their position on it, and I’d ask Ryan to defend/explain his signing of it.

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—Rebecca Glenn

6. For Mr. Ryan: You grew up with the help of Social Security after your father died, your mother reportedly has Social Security and Medicare now. Why do you want to privatize Social Security and make the benefit less accessible for others?

—Kathy Parslow

7. Where do you stand on the issue of workplace equity (equal pay for equal work) and WHY are we still discussing this in 2012?

—Carrie Smith Ardito

8. Mr. Ryan, I want to hear why women in America should vote for your party. We are 51 percent of this great nation and are continually under attack or being questioned because of our gender. I want to understand both sides from the men who are one heartbeat away from becoming our president.

—Jennifer Crosby-Meuriss

9. Mr. Ryan, please list at least two successful accomplishments of the Obama administration that you intend to keep in place?

—Edward Hilton

10. Mr. Ryan, what programs will you cut from the budget, in order to eliminate the trillion-dollar deficit next year?

—Terry Mcintyre

11. I would ask Ryan about whether the health-care plan would cover preexisting conditions if someone does not have insurance now.

—Sharon Nemecek

12. For both: what is your stance on the legalization of marijuana as a means to tax and make revenue in order to clear up the national debt crisis?

—Bryan Edward

13. To both: If you have a gay child/grandchild, how will you explain to that relative the fact that they will not enjoy the same freedoms as other Americans and why?

—Beth Bell Davidson