Here are really big questions for the big presidential debate on domestic policy on October 3rd in Denver.
Let’s begin with three humongous questions for President Obama. That will be followed by three terrifyingly large questions for the challenger Gov. Mitt Romney. Here we go:
1. President Obama, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has given you an “F.” They say the failure is based on your “lack of leadership” the gun control issue. In your first term, we have had three of the worst mass shootings in US History, (Tucson, Arizona, Aurora Colorado, and Oak Creek, Wisconsin) Could you have done more to stop the spread of assault weapons and gun violence over the last four years?
Will you make gun control a priority in your second term? Are you paralyzed by the National Rifle Association’s political clout?
2. President Obama during the debate over health care reform you said that a “Public Option” -- where the government can compete with private companies to offer low-cost health insurance “should be part of reform.” A CBS/New York Times poll from earlier this year found that 27 percent of Americans feel your health care reform “did not go far enough.” We already have a form of the “Public Option” for seniors in Medicare. The Veterans’ Administration health program is also a government run option.
Why didn’t you push harder for a “Public Option” for all Americans in your health care reform? Is this something you plan to revisit in your second term?
3. Here is one final question for you, Mr. President. In 2008, you campaigned on a promise to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Four years later, the facility is still open. Dozens of suspected terrorists are still being held there. And some intelligence reports suggest that an inmate released from Guantanamo in 2007 may be involved with the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month.
Are you prepared to now admit that the prison at Guantanamo Bay is too important a tool in the War on Terror to be closed?
Now that President Obama has been left dazed by those big questions, here are three monumental inquiries for Romney.
1. Gov. Romney you have promised to reduce the deficit and cut the size of government. That’s great. But you refuse to say how you plan to do that without throwing the economy back into recession. Can you tell us tonight which federal programs you will eliminate right away; which tax deductions and subsidies you plan to eliminate?
2. Gov. Romney, if elected President under what circumstances will you keep US troops in Afghanistan after the end of this year? You are on record as agreeing with President Obama’s timetable for withdrawal by the end of 2014? So, how does your Afghanistan policy differ in any way from President Obama’s unless you secretly believe there might be good reasons for keeping American forces there?
3. Gov. Romney, Israel is America’s top ally in the Middle East. So, do you think American policy in the Middle East should always be based on Israeli concerns and demands? Or should U.S. interest in maintaining stable alliances throughout the region guide U.S. policy in the region?
Don’t leave yet. Here are two bonus round question for you, governor.
You caused a lot of heartburn among conservatives this summer when you said there are parts of President Obama’s Health Care Reform law that you like and that you would keep in place.
You specifically pointed to two central tenets of the plan: First, requiring that insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions. And second allowing children to stay on their parent’s health plans until they are 26. Please tell us now what are the other parts of the president’s new health care law that you would keep in place?
And one more for you, governor: You have repeatedly accused the People’s Republic of China from manipulating its currency and violating U.S. Copyright and Patent Law. You fault President Obama for not being aggressive in stopping China from practicing unfair trade. Realistically, how will you get China to change its policies? Would you be willing to risk damaging the U.S. economy with a trade war with China?
Gentlemen, please pick your jaws up off the floor. We’ll let you know how you did with these questions on Election Day.
Juan Williams is a co-host of FNC's "The Five," where he is one of seven rotating Fox personalities.