SURVEY SAYS: What would you ask the candidates?

This week, I’d like to know, which candidates in the running for the Republican and Democratic nominations are you familiar with, and if you could ask the candidates one question, what would it be?

You may respond to this week’s survey by 6 p.m. Pacific time today at


SURVEY SAYS: What Would You Ask the Candidate(s)?

October 23, 2008 ( - Whatever your take on "Joe the Plumber", he at least got a chance to ask a presidential candidate a direct question.

This week I offered readers a chance (of sorts) to pose a question of their choice to one (or both) of the candidates.   There are some doozies here, as you might expect – and many that I would love to hear the candidates address.   Some, sadly, I have heard asked of these candidates – but can’t say that they have really been answered.  

Some readers chose to direct their question to one candidate or the other – and you can pretty readily infer from some the leanings of the questioner – but, all in all, I thought the questions were fair, reasonable, and – at least in total, balanced – my appreciation and thanks to all who participated so thoughtfully.

Oh – and I have to share one question that I thought stood out as this week’s Editor’s Choice ; “Are you sure you want to go through with this?” 

As a parent of 2 college students, what can the government do to help reduce the future financial burden on graduating students. Schools are very quick to offer loans, but the federal subsidized loans and grant awards have just not kept up with inflation - college tuition inflation that is.
Mr. Obama, once the electorate recovers from whatever spell you have managed to put them under, how many days into your administration will it take before your approval rating sinks to below 20%?
You have two minutes. Fill that time by saying positive things about your opponent.
Mr. Obama, If you intend to cut taxes for millions of Americans while increasing spending are you not implying that Ronald Reagan was correct and that lowering taxes leads to increased revenues for the government?
who will be your foreign service secretary?
Despite your promises, do you really believe that you can bring about all the changes that you have described throughout your campaign and are you ready to take responsibility for ones you don't deliver?
Why don't suitable candidates ever run for office?
Don't you people have jobs? Why is it acceptable to completely shirk your duties to campaign all over the world???
If you are elected President, will you have a more open administration than the current one?
Why do you make promises that can't be kept? Anyone who says he can bring peace to the Middle East, end our dependency on foreign oil, or solve any real financial crisis is lying, and insulting me by saying it.
Even if I could think of a question at this point (I'm "politicked" out and the campaigns are much too long.), I would not trust the answer from either candidate. I'm not happy with either of them, but I suppose I'll have to make up my mind in less than 2 weeks.
I would like their thoughts on introducing a third-party into the two-party system.
How will you encourage the people of this great nation to take better care of their own health, and stop looking to doctors and medicine to fix the health problems they have brought upon themselves?
Is balancing the federal budget a priority for you? If not, why not?
Over the next couple of years how will you stimulate the economy while keeping an eye on fiscal responsability.
How come you don't explain the economy meltdown in terms of how it affects real American and provide solutions using simple arithmetic. For example, how would you help the person who lives from hand to mouth and had the following unforeseen events not lose his home, his mind and possibly his American dreams? - Real estate taxes increased by $175/m - Gas for 2 vehicles increased by $400/m - Heating increased by $150/m - Food increased by $100/m - His portion of medical at work increased by 125/m - His job cut overtime resulting in his income decreasing by $800/m Please be specific as to how your proposal would help this person and prevent it from happening in the future. Guillermo Tineo
To Mr. McCain: Why do you think that Sarah Palin is a credible running mate and what was your basis for chosing her?
The current bailout seems designed to reward "capitalist, risk takers" for ignoring risks inherent in their investment, but ignoring, once again, those directly affected. As President, do you believe you will have any power to reorient our governmental focus towards the benefit of the people, not the corporations and executives?
What specific changes would you make in the national educational policies and programs, and how would changes be funded?
How much money do you intend on spending on this country's crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) in the next four years? (Sorry, I realize this is two questions) Where will these funds come from?
How exactly are all these great programs getting funded with all the tax cuts? (I'd like to ask it a lot more sarcastically, but if the candidates were strolling around, I'd be somewhat polite.)
How will you "reach across the aisle" and end all this partisan bickering?
What do you really think about your opponent?
If they could change one thing in America, what would it be? or alternatively, If they could change one thing or attitude of the general populace, what would it be?
What comfort can you give people getting ready to retire? As the baby boomers are getting ready, mentally to retire and their retirement accounts quickly depleating, are there any plans that would allow boomers to retire? If people close to retirement age are not retiring and staying in the workforce, where does that leave new high school and college grads?
More of a comment to Barack Obama. While I agree with many of his proposals and understand his concern for providing people with access to money in times of need, allowing 401(k) participants to withdraw more of their 401(k) funds without a penalty tax is a really, really BAD idea!
I would ask them what they want for a legacy and how they plan to achieve that end.
I'm so fed up with our elected officials I think the whole lot of them should be cast away on an island somewhere where they can filibuster till they run out of breath. I would ask why they can move so quickly to intervene for one person - Terry Schiavo, or for something completely ridiculous such as renaming food in their cafeteria - freedom fries, but when it's something like social security or immigration that affects millions of people, they are unable to act. What do they plan to do make congress more effective for the people.
Have you ever lied for the good of the country?
Why won't legislators pass a bailout bill to protect American citizens from losing everything in bankruptcy due to catrostrophic illness?
Why do you waste time criticizing the other candidate rather than tells us what and how you will perform?
To McCain: Please explain the Health Care Benefits that you expect to tax and why?
In the year 2040, what will the average Joe think of your 4 to 8 years in office? Will he be angry, scared, or will it matter becuase the way we are going, the United States should be bankrupt by then, financially and spiritually.
What will you do about Social Security and Medicare, so the money I have contributed for my working career is there when I retire and for my children when they retire?
To either candidate on the Republican Ticket: "Why are you here?" (Note: I live in one of the most Democratic neighborhoods in one of the most Democratic places in the US, San Francisco.)
To tell the truth about what they would do, or better to tell the truth that they have no clue as to how to get this country back on the road to recovery. Or, do you really think that when you become President, you can really change anything?
Are you being completely and totally honest with the American people? If they (either one) answer yes, you know they are lying.
How will you ensure that my family remains protected and shield us from another terrorist attack?
Can't imagine Obama would venture into my neighborhood but - I'd ask him about his church attendance at a church were where devisive, negative and racist messages are delivered; I would ask how his heart can be prepared to lead and protect the ENTIRE nation when it has been nurtured by such messages. I'd also ask him why he thinks such massive campaign spending is justified with so much want in the world. I'd offer Mr. McCain a glass of water and a chair to rest. I would ask him how he plans to meaningfully address environmental and energy issues. I'd also ask him what charities he supports and why. I'd ask him who he'd appoint as secretary of state.
How do you feel about exposing Joe the Plumber as an unlicensed plumber who owes back taxes? In the "War for the White House", is he just to be considered "collateral damage"? He got his 15 minutes of fame, but it could be expensive for him.
I'd like to ask both candidates about specifics involved in their promises. I'd also like to know what they believe the odds are of actually being able to achieve any of their plans.
Would you support a ban on all political advertising (not just in presidential races) that makes any mention of your opponent's position, i.e., "negative ads? Such a ban would permit advertising that describes your position only but would prohibit any description of your opponent's, including a prohibition on using quotes from your opponent or any pictures or images of him or her. It would also extend to outside groups like PACs, who would only be able to produce ads supportive of a candidate or one side of an issue, and not permit description of any candidate's position or record in a negative light. The ban would NOT extend to live appearances on the campaign trail or to debates where both candidates are present.
To McCain - Why do those who've reaped the economic benefit from this country via high taxable income deserve an additional 3% tax cut?
I'm pretty sure the people behind me know how to spend their money wisely. It's the people ahead of me who seem to be spending my money wildly that has me concerned. How would you control government spending?
Why in the heck do you even want the job, given the state of the economy and everything else that is happening here and around the world?
I admit it, I'm an actuarial geek. We actuaries excel at make REALLY GOOD demographic and financial projections, and the projected deficit scares me to death. Interest on the national debt, Social Security, Medicare, defense, etc., where's the money going to come from to pay for these programs? As a source of meaningful funding, the Department of Fraud and Waste was eliminated several years ago. I promise not to broadcast the candidate's response; I only want to know that they acknowledge the problem.
No reason to ask a question, neither of them would answer it honestly. They would put their spin on it to make it palatable for the "beauty contest".
Which church will you be attending when in DC?
Senator Obama: Please detail your specific proposals on what steps are necessary to shore up the US Student Loan program while making it viable in the private sector and what steps are necessary to increase healthcare coverage while reducing costs?
I would like to ask Barack Obama why he wants to punish success with higher taxes?
policy on retirement /401(k)/DB plans
When will you outlaw "press 1 for English"?
I would love to sit John McCain down and ask him about his days in combat and as a POW. Whenever he or someone else speaks about it, I'm fascinated.
What did you think of Sarah Palin's performance on Saturday Night Live?
Regardless of what your campaign promises are, what do you think you actually have a chance of accomplishing in a 4 year term?
(I'd have more than one.) There's been talk about insuring everyone....what are you going to do to mitigate the increases? Do you even know that hemophilia drugs can be $600,000 a year? (And, of course, how much is a gallon of milk?) And here's a loaded question -- what is your position on tort reform? Are you bold enough to make cigarettes completely illegal? And...finally, do you support the Phillies???
Are you going to free up completely for stem-cell research?
What is your plan to balance the federal budget, and keep it balanced?
I'm not sure either one would answer truthfully....what a shame that there's no faith in the two people who are the final candidates for the top job in the country.
What specific plans do you have for reducing America's dependence on foreign oil?
I would love to ask BOTH candidates at what percentage are you "over taxing" working people - regardless of how much they earn (and including payroll taxes and income taxes)? Is it ok for the government to take a total of 45% of someone's income, 50%, 60% - at what point does it get to be too much?
When are you going to bail me out?
1. What is your stance on individual rights to bear arms. (Gun control laws) 2. How are you going to address the 10 trillion dollar debt? 3. middle class pays their fair share of taxes, how are you going to change the laws to make it Fair for everyone?
Are you sure you want to go through with this?
What do you think of the "Fair Tax"?
To John McCain...What were you thinking when you took on Palin?
Why has no media medium asked each candidate his views on the Fair Tax? Although it's a taboo topic in our industry, I would like to know where each stands.
I would ask for specifics about how the candidate is going to get us out of the enormous budget deficit our country is in. I am not confident our economy can recover long term with the deficit we are running and it appears it is only going to get worse.
What are your plans to feed the American homeless, put a stop to illegal immigration, and bring our troops home from Iraq permanently?
The presidency has term limits. Do you think Congressmen should have term limits? Why or why not?
How do you intend to pay for all of the programs and tax cuts you want to initiate?
I feel that currently there is too much given to illegal immigrants. I would like to know how each candidate really feels about it.
Barack Obama: How can you support a plan to increase taxes on the wealthiest 1% of citizens when they are directly responsible for creating jobs in this country? Increase taxes on them, and funds available to create jobs and new businesses goes away. Every past tax cut has resulted in more revenue for the government, so how can you justifiably increase taxes and then hope to also increase spending? ...and may I ask one more: If the only thing government can do well is make war, why do you think more regulation is the answer to anything? John McCain: Why don't you support the FairTax?
As President, what are you going to do to stop the Democrats and Republicans from spending their time trying to discredit each other and instead focusing on doing the job that "we the people have hired them for".
Question for Obama: If you are so big into redistributing wealth, why don't you redistribute some of your campaign funds instead of increasing taxes for the middle class? Why should many of us continue our education, get college degrees, obtain advanced accredidations, work hard at our careers, just so you can redistribute our earnings to others who may not make good decisions?
While everyone makes a poor decision, how can we trust your values if you have used a hard substance such as Cocaine (if you have)?