What wasn’t asked at the first presidential debate of 2012

What wasn’t asked at the first presidential debate of 2012

The first presidential debate in Denver focused on domestic issues, so foreign policy didn’t come up. But neither did a lot of other national political issues. Here are a few questions that weren’t asked.

Storified by Digital First Media · Wed, Oct 03 2012 19:39:11

The first presidential debate in Denver focused on domestic issues, so foreign policy didn’t come up. But neither did a lot of other national political issues. Here are a few questions that weren’t asked.

Should a balanced-budget amendment be passed?

The agreement to raise the debt limit last year included a call for Congress to vote on an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget. (The vote failed.) Some economists warn that this would limit the government’s ability to respond to a recession, but the measure has proved popular.

Should gun laws be strengthened?

An ad from the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns features Stephen Barton, who was injured during the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting earlier this year. In the ad, Barton argues that neither of the two major presidential candidates has put forward a plan to reduce gun-related violence.

Should voters be required to show ID?

Seventeen states have passed laws requiring voters show a form of photo ID, such as a driver’s license, before being allowed to cast a ballot. These laws have been justified as necessary to prevent voter fraud, but a nationwide study found only 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation since 2000. 

Should the payroll tax cut be extended?

A temporary cut to the payroll tax is set to expire at the end of the year, and it currently looks like Congress will not renew the cut again. That amounts to about a $95 billion tax hike on American workers. Opponents say the tax cut is hurting Social Security, which is funded by the payroll tax.

Should cars have higher fuel standards?

The Obama administration has written rules requiring automakers to boost the average fuel economy of new cars and light trucks to 34 miles per gallon by 2016. Mitt Romney has said he would consider rolling back the fuel standards.

Should marijuana be legalized?

In November, voters in Colorado will decide whether to approve a ballot initiative legalizing small amounts of marijuana. In addition, 17 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.

Should search engines be barred from linking to sites suspected of piracy?

A controversial law in Congress last year would have prohibited search engines such as Google from linking to sites suspected of online piracy and Internet service providers from recognizing their addresses. Critics say the law would have undermined the fundamental architecture of the Internet.

Should the U.S. start an alternative to Libor?

Earlier this year, it was revealed that banks have engaged in widespread fraud to manipulate Libor, the benchmark set by London banks to determine short-term interest rates around the world. This has affected how much consumers pay for things like student loans.

Should more light-rail projects be funded? 

Light rail is the fastest-growing form of public transit, with 16 new systems in U.S. cities since 2000. But as with other forms of mass transit, fares provide only a fraction of the cost. Government subsidies currently account for more than $3 billion a year.

Should an anti-torture order be rescinded?

In one of his first acts, President Obama signed an executive order restricting interrogators to methods approved by the Army Field Manual, which bars physical and mental torture. A recent report showed that Romney’s advisors are urging him to rescind that order as president.

Should the carried-interest loophole be closed?

Romney’s tax returns show that he benefited from a loophole which allows hedge fund managers and other executives at investment firms to have their wages taxed as though they were capital gains, a much lower rate than the taxes on regular income.

What can be done about wildfires?

States such as Colorado are seeing wildfires that last longer and cost more to contain. The U.S. wildfire season is now 76 days longer than it was in the 1970s and ’80s, which scientists say could be caused by land management policies, climate change or both.

Should the death penalty be ended?

Colorado has only executed only one prisoner since 1977 and none since 2007. In recent years, states such as New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois have abolished the death penalty, but currently there is no legislation in Congress addressing the death penalty.

Should the Electoral College be eliminated?

In a debate during his campaign for the Senate, Obama said that the Electoral College should be eliminated. A nonpartisan group is pushing for a national popular vote, but the 2012 Republican platform opposes any efforts to end or override the Electoral College.
Photo credit: David Gould / Getty Images

Should labels be required for genetically modified foods?

Around the world, goods partially created in laboratories have entered the food chain, driven primarily by a handful of biotech companies. Some consumer advocacy groups want more transparency around research, marketing and distribution.