By Denver Post
Voters eager for President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney to discuss economic policy should hear plenty on the issue during the candidates’ first debate.
To our way of thinking, the list of topics released for the Oct. 3 debate at the University of Denver looks sensible – with a single exception.
Moderator Jim Lehrer has decided to devote half of the 90-minute domestic policy debate to “the economy,” which is justifiable given the issue is top-of-mind for most voters this cycle. The remainder will include 15-minute blocks devoted to “health care,” “the role of government” and – here’s the oddball – “governing.”
Voters this year were, for the first time, supposed to have an opportunity via the Internet to share input with debate moderators on debate topics. Unfortunately, that never materialized. So, as observers of the process, here are our suggestions on the four selected.
In the 45 minutes devoted to “the economy,” the candidates should explain their views on boosting jobs and reducing unemployment; balancing the federal budget; fixing the tax code; and dealing with other lingering effects of the 2008 financial collapse.
And since the debate is taking place in the West, we hope there is time for a discussion of energy and environmental policy, as well as immigration reform.
“Health care” will no doubt be dominated by a discussion of Obamacare, but we’re also curious to hear specifics on what they would do to preserve Medicare and what, if anything, they would propose to reduce escalating health care costs overall.
The segment dedicated to “the role of government” strikes us as being targeted at the “makers vs. takers” argument, and will be a good spot to highlight the candidates’ fundamental differences.
It’s the 15 minutes devoted to “governing” that leaves us perplexed.
What about education, with emphasis on reform and college affordability? Or social issues such as a woman’s right to choose, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty?
Surely those topics would be of greater interest to voters.
With only three debates scheduled between the candidates, focusing much of the discussion on the economy is sensible. We hope the remainder is devoted as much as possible to specifics, rather than esoterics.