The YouTube/CNN debate that Republican presidential candidates tried to boycott proved as hostile as they feared last night in St. Petersburg, Florida.
CNN---sarcastically called the “Clinton News Network” -- allowed a member of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s gay steering committee to ask Republican candidates if military personnel were “professional” enough to work with gay troops. The question came from the gay retired brigadier general Keith Kerr.
The story quickly ended up on the Drudge Report with this post from Townhall editor Jonathan Garthwaite.
Not only was Kerr’s Youtube submission aired, but he was introduced to the candidates and the audience on television and given a long opportunity to follow-up. CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked Kerr, “Do you feel you got an answer to your question?”
Kerr replied, “With all due respect, I did not get an answer from the candidates.” Then, Kerr gave a small lecture: “American men and women in the military are professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians. For 42 years, I wore the army uniform on active duty, in the Reserve, and also for the state of California. I revealed I was a gay man after I retired. Today, ‘don't ask/don't tell’ is destructive to our military policy. Every day, the Department of Defense discharges two people, not for misconduct, not for the unit cohesion.”
CNN later apologized for the incident. "We regret this incident. CNN would not have used the general's question had we known that he was connected to any presidential candidates,” said David Bohrman, CNN senior vice president and executive producer of the debate.
In a CNN interview on Thursday morning, Kerr denied he was used as a “plant” by the Clinton campaign at the Republican debate. He said he is only listed as a member of Clinton’s gay steering committee and his appearance was a “private initiative of my own.”
In the last CNN/YouTube Democratic debate that aired November 15, Hillary Clinton was asked if she prefers “diamonds or pearls” and other questions focused on so-called “mommy issues” like healthcare and education.
None of the Republican candidates were asked any questions about education, healthcare or energy policy.
Most of the questions, handpicked from user submissions by debate organizers, focused on issues that have caused rancor within the GOP, like illegal immigration, abortion and religion. One question asked the candidates if they believed “every word” contained in the Bible.
The lightest-hearted question of the night was the last one. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked why he rooted for the Red Sox in the last World Series.
Here’s a list below of all of the questions asked in Wednesday’s debate in the order asked:
This is Ernie Nardi from Dyker Heights in Brooklyn, New York, with a question for the ex-Mayor Giuliani. Under your administration, as well as others, New York City was operated as a sanctuary city, aiding and abetting illegal aliens. I would like to know, if you become president of the United States, will you continue to aid and abet the flight of illegal aliens into this country?
There are thousands of people in Canada and Mexico waiting to come to America legally. They want to become American citizens. They want to be part of the American dream. Yet, there are those in the Senate that want to grant amnesty for those that come here illegally.Will you pledge tonight, if elected president, to veto any immigration bill that involves amnesty for those that have come here illegally?
Hammered by competition with imports, our family- owned business struggles each year to find seasonal workers. We've been working with a seasonal guest-worker program, the H2B program, bringing in and sending home workers every year. But with Congress failing to enact a comprehensive immigration and guest worker bill, I want to know whether I'll have a job next year. What are you going to do to keep these guest workers coming to the U.S. to save our business?
Governor Huckabee, while governor of Arkansas, you gave a illegal aliens a discount for college in Arkansas by allow them to pay lower in-state tuition rates. However, we have thousands of military members currently serving our country in Iraq with children at home. If these children chose to move to Arkansas to attend college, they would have to pay three times the tuition rate that illegal aliens pay. Would you support a federal law which would require any state that gives these tuition rates to illegal aliens to give the same rates to the children of our military members?
This question is for Ron Paul. I've met a lot of your supporters online, but I've noticed that a good number of them seem to buy into this conspiracy theory regarding the Council of Foreign Relations, and some plan to make a North American union by merging the United States with Canada and Mexico. These supporters of yours seem to think that you also believe in this theory. So my question to you is: Do you really believe in all this, or are people just putting words in your mouth?
My name is Sarah Lederach. I'm 18 years old. I'm from Scarsdale, Pennsylvania. And I'm a student at Penn State University. Often, I've heard both politicians and voters express their concern with providing a better future for their children. A concern of my generation is the trillions of dollars of national debt and what kind of responsibility we will have for that in the future. My question for you all is, if elected, what measures will you take to tackle the national debt and control spending?
I am Emily and I am from Los Angeles. The Republican Party once stood for limited government, which meant reduce federal spending because it cost less and we spent less.
However, over the past decade, real discretionary federal spending has in fact increased 40 percent, more than half of which has been non-defense related. So my question is: What are the names of the top three federal programs you would reduce in size in order to decrease
My name is Ronald Lanham from Mobile, Alabama. And I want you to tell me, do you support the elimination of the federal income tax in favor of a national retail sales tax, also known as the fair tax?
President Bush made a commitment when he ran for president in 2000 an 2004 that he would oppose and veto any tax increase that Congress sent him. My question to each of the candidates is: Would you promise to the people watching this right now, that you will oppose and veto any efforts to raise taxes as long as you're president?
Mmmmmm, nothing says delicious like cheap corn subsidized by the American taxpayer. For a lot of Americans, however, a bitter taste is left in their mouth when they learned about how the U.S. taxpayer bankrolls billions of dollars in farm subsidies that mostly go to large item business interests. I'm curious which candidate could label themselves fiscally responsible, will endorse the elimination of farm subsidies if they are elected president in 2008.
This is to Mayor Giuliani. Politico broke a story a few hours ago questioning your accounting of taxpayer dollars as mayor. They say that as mayor, the report says you took trips to the Hamptons and expensed the cost of your police detail to obscure city offices. One, is that true? And, if so, was it appropriate?
My name is LeeAnn Anderson and I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and these are my kids Evan and May. Maya is from China and we adopted him to give her a better life. We never dreamed that she would that she'd be exposed to lead after leaving China, and now we find trains like this that are covered with lead in our home. My question for the candidates are, what are you going to do to make sure that these kind of toys don't make their way into our homes and that we have safe toys that are made in America again and we keep jobs in America?
I'm Jay Fox, lifetime member of the NRA. Now, I am from a small town and as in any small time, we like our big guns. My question to you is: What is your opinion of gun control? And don't worry, you can answer however you like.
Mr. Giuliani, at a recent NRA convention, you stated that it's every American's right to be secure. Yet, on March 21 of the year 2000, The Boston Globe quoted you as saying, "Anyone wanting to own a gun should have to pass a written exam." Considering the Constitution grants us the right to bear arms as a means of protection, why do you believe that citizens should be required to pass an exam in order to exercise their right to protect themselves and their families?
I’m Eric Bentson from Phoenix, Arizona. Got a quick question for all you candidates. Any of you all want to tell us about your gun collection, roughly how many you own, what your favorite make, model and caliber is, if any of them require a tax stamp?
Hi, this is me and my son Prentiss. We're from Atlanta. I want to ask you guys a question (inaudible) every year. But what about the war going on in our country, black on black crime? Two hundred to 400 black men die yearly in one city alone. What are you going to do about that war? It feels like the (inaudible) is right outside.
Hi. My name is Journey. I'm from Texas. And this question is for all pro-life candidates. In the event that abortion becomes illegal and a woman obtains an abortion anyway, what should she be charged with, and what should her punishment be? What about the doctor who performs the abortion?
Hello, my name is AJ. I'm from Millstone, New Jersey. I would all of the candidates to give an answer on this. If hypothetically, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it? Yes or no?
Hi. This is Tyler Overman from Memphis, Tennessee. And I have a quick question for those of you who would call yourselves Christian conservatives. The death penalty, what would Jesus do?
I am Joseph. I am from Dallas, Texas, and how you answer this question will tell us everything we need to know about you. Do you believe every word of this book? Specifically, this book that I am holding in my hand, do you believe this book?
Good evening, gentlemen. My name is Yasmin and I hail from Huntsville, Alabama. My question has to do with the current crisis in Iraq, as well as the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan. After living abroad, personally, in the Middle East for a year, I realized just how much damage the Iraq war and the perception of invasion has done to the image of America. What would you do as president to repair the image of America in the eyes of the Muslim world?
Hello, gentlemen. I'm Andrew, and I'm a college student from Seattle, Washington. Recently, Senator McCain has come out strongly against using waterboarding as an instrument of interrogation. My question for the rest of you is, considering that Mr. McCain is the only one with any firsthand knowledge on the subject, how can those of you sharing the stage with him disagree with his position?
Hello. My name is Buzz Brockway from Lawrenceville, Georgia. All the talk about the war in Iraq centers around how quickly we can get out. I think that's the wrong question. We need to make a permanent or long-term military commitment to the region. By staying in Iraq, we provide long-term stability to the region, we provide support for our allies, and we act as a deterrent to the trouble-makers in the region. Which presidential candidate will make a permanent of long-term military commitment to the people of Iraq?
Hi. My name is Sam Garcia. I'm from Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following question is for Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani, a while back, a friend and I were having a discussion about you and some of the other Republican candidates.He blatantly made this statement somewhere along the line: Rudy Giuliani is using September 11, 2001, to propel himself into the White House. My question to you is: How do you respond to this accusation and other accusations similar to it?
[Nick Anderson as Dick Cheney cartoon character] Will you grant your vice president as much power and influence as I've had? And remember, before you answer, I'm watching you.
My name's Keith Kerr, from Santa Rosa, California. I'm a retired brigadier general with 43 years of service. And I'm a graduate of the Special Forces Officer Course, the Commanding General Staff Course and the Army War College. And I'm an openly gay man. I want to know why you think that American men and women in uniform are not professional enough to serve with gays and lesbians.
Hi, my name is David Cercone. I'd like to ask all the candidates if they accept the support of the Log Cabin Republicans, and why should the Log Cabin Republicans support their candidacy?
This is Adam Florzak of Illinois. The national debt is now growing so quickly it will have increased by over half- million dollars in just the time it takes to ask this question. Over the years, politicians have borrowed just under $2 trillion from the Social Security trust fund to cover these massive budget deficits, and now the retirements of our generation are at risk. What will you do as president to help repay this money and restore the trust?
My name is Steve Nielson. And this question comes to you from Denver, Colorado. JFK's vision put a man on the moon from a nonexistent space program in about seven years. The new vision for space exploration has provided about 15 years for that same feat. Meanwhile, Congress is pulling funding for human-to-Mars research altogether. Is there a candidate amongst you willing to take a pledge on behalf of the Mars Society of sending an American to the surface of Mars by 2020? If not, what is your vision for human space exploration?
Hi, my name is David McMillan, and I'm from Los Angeles, California. On a variety of specific issues -- gay marriage, taxes, the death penalty, immigration, faith-based initiatives, school vouchers, school prayer -- many African Americans hold fairly conservative views. And yet, we overwhelmingly vote Democrat in most elections. So my question to any of the Republican candidates here is, why don't we vote for you?
Hello, my name is Leroy Brooks. I am from Houston, Texas and my question is for all the candidates. Whether this flag right here represents the symbol of racism, a symbol of political ideology, a symbol of Southern heritage -- or, is it something completely different?
Good evening. My name is Dr. Hank Campbell. I'm in Lake Worth, Florida. My question is our infrastructure. It's been estimated that to fix the bridges, the tunnels, the power grids, the water delivery systems in this country will be in excess of $2 trillion -- that is "t" for "trillion" -- and it is plural.Who among the candidates here is willing to step forward and begin to articulate the very difficult sacrifices which we need to make in order to start repairing America? Thank you.
Mark Strauss, Davenport, Iowa. This question is for Ron Paul. Mr. Paul, I think we both know that the Republican party is never going to give you the nomination. But I'm hoping that you're crazy like a fox like that and you're using this exposure to propel yourself into an independent run. My question is for Ron Paul: Mr. Paul, are you going to let America down by not running as an independent?
Giuliani, can you explain why you being a lifelong Yankees fan, that this year, after the Yankees lost everything, you rooted for the Red Sox in the postseason? Can you explain that position for me?