27 Questions For The First GOP Presidential Debate

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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The race for the White House is about to get serious.

On Thursday, 10 of the 17 Republican presidential contenders will take the stage in Cleveland for the first GOP debate, hosted by Fox News. What follows are 27 questions for the debate: Seven general question for all the candidates and two specific queries for each of 10 participants.

General Questions For Everyone

  • Name a figure outside of politics who you would consider nominating to your Cabinet. What would you nominate them for and why?
  • President Barack Obama is often criticized for playing too much golf. What is appropriate amount of leisure time for an American president?
  • Who is the smartest liberal writer you read?
  • Libertarian tech billionaire Peter Thiel says he always asks potential hires, “What is one thing you believe to be true that most do not?” How would you respond?
  • What policy does another country get right that we would be well served to adopt in our country?
  • Do you believe President Obama is a bad person, or just politically misguided?
  • What three books most influenced your political worldview?

Questions For Donald Trump

  • You’ve explained that you donated campaign funds to liberal Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi in order to get them to do business-related favors for you. As you put it recently, “when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.” What, specifically, did Clinton and Pelosi do for you in exchange for your donations?
  • Your plan for defeating ISIS consists mainly of “bomb[ing] the hell” out of the oil fields the terror group controls. Considering you have no military experience, what military experts or former military officers did you consult on your plan? What did they say?

Questions For Jeb Bush

  • Some conservatives criticize you for being MIA during the major political battles of the Obama years. Why were you so silent? Why didn’t you, for instance, forcefully speak out against Obamacare at the time it was being debated?
  • Some Republican foreign policy thinkers have criticized you for your association with former Secretary of State James Baker. What is the best piece of foreign policy advice he has given you? Is there any advice he has given you that you profoundly disagree with?

Questions For Scott Walker

  • Governor, you have been all over the board on immigration. At one point you favored a pathway to citizenship for America’s illegal immigrant population, then this year you came out against it, then we hear you may have told donors that you still support it, which your campaign then denied. Let’s try to get some clarity: Could you ever imagine supporting a pathway to citizenship for any portion of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in this country? If not a pathway to citizenship, what about any type of pathway to legalization that would allow illegal immigrants to stay in the country, albeit without the possibility of obtaining citizenship?
  • How do you distinguish yourself on foreign policy from some of your rivals, particularly Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio?

Questions For Marco Rubio

  • One criticism of you is that while you are an impressive orator, you really haven’t accomplished all that much besides getting elected to various political offices at a young age. What are your top three professional accomplishments?
  • Do you regret supporting the intervention in Libya? If you think America’s intervention in Libya was merely a failure of implementation, what exactly would you have done differently to ensure that Libya became a flourishing liberal democracy instead of a failed state and a terrorist safe haven?

Questions For Rand Paul

  • People are still uncertain whether you are all that different from your father on foreign policy. Since World War II, do you believe American actions abroad, on balance, have ultimately been a force for good or a force for ill?
  • In 2013, you told Breitbart News that if you were president, “any attack on Israel will be treated as an attack on the United States.” I imagine that struck some of your more libertarian supporters as a strange position for you to take, to put it nicely. So explain to them why an attack on Israel should be considered an attack on the United States.

Questions For Ted Cruz

  • On July 25, 2013, you — not a staff member, youappeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show and said that those who didn’t support your Defund Obamacare strategy were part of the Republican “surrender caucus.” Do you really consider someone like former Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn an enabler of Obamacare because he opposed your strategy, which he and many others viewed as quixotic, on efficacy grounds?
  • If reports are to be believed, you are not very well liked by most of your Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle. While you might say this is a good thing — i.e. you are standing up to the Washington establishment — how could you possibly get anything accomplished as president if you are unable to work effectively with Congress?

NEXT PAGE: Questions For Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson And John Kasich
Questions For Chris Christie

  • By the standards conservatives have held President Obama to for various scandals, why shouldn’t you be blamed for Bridgegate since one of your top aides was directly involved? Even if you weren’t personally involved as the evidence so far suggests, is it fair to say you created a culture where a deputy of yours would think such an action was acceptable?
  • There are over a half a dozen governors in the race and many can boast that they presided over impressive economic numbers during their tenures as the chief executive of their respective states. Your state, however, has witnessed nine credit downgrades during your time as governor. How can you claim you are more capable of handling the national economy than some of your competitors whose states thrived when they were presiding over them?

Questions For Mike Huckabee

  • You’ve come out against reforming America’s entitlement programs. But these programs have over $80 trillion in unfunded liabilities. How do you propose covering that gap other than wishful thinking? And why shouldn’t the retirement age go up for certain entitlement programs as life expectancy goes up? In short, governor, are you not just pandering on this critical issue?
  • You were paid to sell a diabetes cure that the medical community considers bogus. What’s more, you claim in an ad that you used the technique to cure your own diabetes. But when pressed on this recently, you admitted that was actually not the case. Why should the American people vote for somebody who appears to have deceived desperate sick people for financial gain?

Questions For Ben Carson

  • No one denies you were anything but world-class neurosurgeon, but how does working as a neurosurgeon prepare you to lead the United States? What qualities do you have that would make you a good president?
  • You have said you would not have invaded Afghanistan after 9/11. Explain, in detail, how you would have responded to the 9/11 attacks?

Questions For John Kasich

  • You have framed your support for Medicaid expansion in religious terms. Besides Medicaid expansion, what other government programs do you believe God supports?
  • Why do you so often sound annoyed to be questioned?

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