The 142 Best Questions for Tonight’s Debate

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By Zara Kessler

Tonight's debate is scheduled to last 90 minutes, with more than an hour devoted to "conversation" between the candidates. The format would seem to allow Barack Obama and Mitt Romney plenty of time to delve into the issues, detail their positions or pretend to be offended at something their opponent has said.

What the format does not allow for is enough time for all of the media's questions. If moderator Jim Lehrer happens to be surfing the Web this afternoon, he might click over to Politico, which has five for each candidate. Or Forbes, which has 10 just on health care. The L.A. Times thoughtfully winnowed its list to eight. The Heritage Foundation has 10 queries. The New America Leaders project has taken to the Huffington Post to ask five on immigration. At the National Review, Veronique de Rugy posted some 28 questions before concluding: "That's it for now."

Of course, none of this accounts for the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of questions that have been posted in the time it has taken to write this. With 10 hours to go until the debate, the New York Times editorial page editor called for readers to post questions on his blog, specifically requesting "unsafe, inspired questions," and promising, "We'll post a selection later, along with questions from The Times editorial board."

As we breathlessly await the Times's questions, we can keep busy with Washington's Newspaper of Record. The Washington Post has seven questions "that should be asked … and probably won't." Then it has 12 more just for the president. Then another 17. If that's not enough, here are 35 more.

We here at Bloomberg View are not immune. Do you have a question you'd like to see asked? Leave it in comments! Oh, and Mr. Lehrer, if you're still reading, I have a suggestion: You may want to practice your speed-speaking skills.

(Zara Kessler is an assistant editor and producer for Bloomberg View. Follow her on Twitter.)

Read more breaking commentary from Bloomberg View at the Ticker.

-0- Oct/03/2012 18:18 GMT