Get inside the head of Brian Williams and of the candidates. Williams selects the questions (even if a token few come from the average citizen via the internet), and the campaigns have been practicing answering the questions they anticipate.
There will only be 10 or so questions. Score more than 8 and you are above average. 7 is a minimum. 6 or fewer and you fail. Read more to see my predictions and use the comments to submit your top ten list . . .
- Iraq. Duh.
- Virginia Tech and gun control. It's in the news and may actually elicit some differences.
- Silly "college application essay" question. There always is one. Favorite movie, song, book, philosopher, influential life event.
- Your experience/why you. Needed at this stage of the race.
- Immigration. It's in the top 4 voter concerns and is an issue in the south as well as nationally.
- Health Care. Another near certainty. Edwards has a plan, after all.
- Corruption. Some form of question that gets at the U.S. attorneys scandal, Rove, Abramoff, etc. If there is no such question look for Edwards to use another question to call for Rove to be fired (since he said he would do so in the debate in an e-mail from Bonior to supporters).
- Education. Bill and Melinda Gates unveiled their $60 million publicity campaign (to run in conjunction with the 2008 presidential race) yesterday in South Carolina. Too big to ignore, and it gets at race and poverty.
- Energy/global warming. League of Conservation Voters have been running ads in SC this week on the issue. Al Gore is waiting in the wings (in the minds/dreams of some Democrats). Plus, it is the biggest economic/environmental/foreign policy intersection.
If those are wrong or if there is somehow time for more than 10:
Trade. This really needs to be in the top ten since it is an issue that the Dems are actually somewhat divided on. If I were the moderator I would ask about Fast Track Authority and whether any President, not just Bush, needs it to effectively negotiate trade agreements.
Deficits. Another tough one. How will you pay for everything when the deficit is so big?
Process. Campaign finance and such. Money is in the news, gives the darkhorses a chance to whine, and Obama a chance to talk "new kind of politics".
Supreme Court and abortion (recent news counts).
Equal Pay for women (was equal pay day this week and Obama is to the left of Hillary!).
Cross posted at DebateScoop (see lots of other debate analysis there.