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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Five Questions For The VP Candidates

Max Schwartz |
October 10, 2012 | 11:25 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(League of Women Voters of California/Creative Commons)
(League of Women Voters of California/Creative Commons)
The first and only vice presidential debate for this election cycle will be held Thursday at Centre College in Kentucky.

There are five questions we would like to see asked of the candidates.

Why should the people trust you two – instead of someone who has had another career beside being a politician – to advise the next president of the United States and to be the president of the Senate?

Both Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan have spent most, if not all, of their respective careers as politicians. Biden entered the Senate when he was 29 years old and Ryan entered the House when he was only 28 years old.

There are other members of the bi-cameral legislature that have served for a large portion of their lives and there are some who entered Congress after having other careers.

What do the candidates think makes them better than the others to advise the president? Why should the public trust a career politician?

If your ticket is elected and you become president of the Senate, how will you work with both parties to run the Senate and ensure legislation is considered in a manner that does not hold our country back? How often do you plan on being in the Senate chambers while the Senate is in session?

The vice president of the United States also wears the hat of president of the Senate. People should know how much effort the Senate president will put forth to make the Senate more bipartisan. It can be argued that this falls on the majority and minority leaders, but the Senate president is still the presiding officer and should make sure everyone is working together.

The Senate president generally only presides over the Senate during a major vote because he is the tie-breaking vote. When the Senate president is not present in the chambers, the resident pro-tem presides over the Senate. Americans should know how much time these candidates would spend in the Senate and whether or not they would put effort into this aspect of their job.

How would you advise the president during a time of war or global crisis when U.S. intervention is needed?

If a situation arises in another country, that the U.S. decides to becomes involved in, the president may call on the vice president for advice. How would you advise the president and how quickly would you react in these instances?

Candidates' answers to this question could also show their knowledge on world affairs and international relations because it is a situation where the U.S. would have to interact with other world powers and there may be consequences to actions the U.S. takes.

What are specific actions you will take, as vice president, to get the United States out of the economic situation we are currently in?

Even though the vice president is not in charge, he can still advise the president and be influential in the Senate. What steps will you urge the president to take? 

Ryan should also be asked, if Romney is elected, if he will enact Ryan's budget. Biden should respond to claims that he lacks a plan to get the country out of the economic crisis.

The vice president can keep the president focused and boost the country's morale, and the candidates need to show how they will do this.

How will your views on same-sex marriage influence the way you execute your duties? How will your attitudes toward women influence the way you execute your duties?

The candidates have completely different positions on both of these issues. It is a fair question considering they have both made their views public and same-sex couples will likely be impacted depending on who takes the White House. The two candidates are also split on women’s health issues such as birth control. These issues have been pushed to the forefront during the campaign season and could be an important issue in determining how some vote.


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the 2012 election debates here.

Reach Staff Reporter Max Schwartz here; follow Max Schwartz on Twitter here.



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