Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Republican presidential primary candidates to face cross-examination by Cuccinelli on Fox News

“We’ll have plenty of tough questions,” says Virginia's attorney general Ken Cuccinelli.

Virginia’s attorney general Ken Cuccinelli along with two other attorneys general will cross-examine five of eight Republican presidential primary candidates Saturday, December 3. On Fox News Governor Mike Huckabee will have a 90-minute question and answer forum with the candidates beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST.

Governor Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Texas congressman Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum have agreed to participate.

Cuccinelli In a phone call Monday confirmed that Herman Cain, Texas governor Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman have declined the invitation. He expects that will increase the Q & A time with each candidate to 15 minutes.

Other questioners include Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi and Oklahoma’s attorney general Scott Pruitt as well as Huckabee himself. The three attorneys general have been preparing for the forum for most of November exchanging material and talking on the phone. After arriving in New York they will ride together to the Fox News studio.

“We’ll have plenty of tough questions,” said Cuccinelli. “We will focus on the powers of the federal government especially as it relates to states.” Topics will include federal regulations, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Communication Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, health care, education, illegal immigration, the courts and judges and constitutional issues. Medicaid will even be in the mix “not just dollars but everything else that goes along with it,” he said.

When asked about possible vague responses from candidates Cuccinelli was quick to clarify saying, “part of the deal here is cross-examination.” He added that both he and attorney general Scott Pruitt had opined over their disappointment in watching previous debates. Candidates had given either wrong or incomplete answers that moderators “not versed in the subject matter didn’t know to follow up on.”

They will corral them if they don’t stay within the boundaries of the question.

“We’re going to drill down a couple of layers on these subjects,” said Cuccinelli. He was unforgiving and adamant saying that if they don’t answer the question they might find themselves “just cut off.”

The attorneys general won’t be asking the same questions of each candidate. The plan is to ask questions based on statements the candidates have already made. They will be fair – none of the attorneys general have endorsed a candidate.

“We are all committed to seeing the current President beaten,” said Cuccinelli. “It’s not enough to say we want to stop this guy … we need to see a constructive alternative,”

Cuccinelli thought that all the candidates had made some constructive proposals in previous debates. They will be looking for not just opposition to the current administration’s policy but they expect to here the candidates’ solution. They’ll be pinning them down on federalism by asking the candidates if the federal or state government should handle certain concepts. If they are for limited government he’ll ask “shouldn’t you let states deal with that issue?”

Cuccinelli said that, “lots of Republicans talk about limited government but a lot of the same Republicans then turn around and try to have the federal government dictate to the states on how to do their business over issues they care about.”

On courts and judges the questioning will be directed toward “viewpoints.” When prompted further he elaborated that presidents tend to appoint people to judgeships that have similar world views to themselves … so we’ll flush that out as it relates to judging laws and the constitution.”

Education questions will vary by candidate and revolve around charter schools, No Child Left Behind and other federal programs.

The planned NLRB question was born out of a complaint against Boeing. Boeing is planning to build airplanes at a non-union plant in the right-to-work state of South Carolina in what is deemed as an attempt to break away from its unionized Seattle plant.

Cuccinelli also expects to get a question in regarding the FCC’s authority to regulate the Internet. “Most recently they have poked their nose in the AT&T and T-Mobile merger,” he said. He explained that the question there is whether the FCC should have any significant role on whether the merger should go forward or not. Under what conditions if any should the FCC block a merger he will ask.

There is no doubt that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be on the table for discussion.

Cuccinelli used the term “cross-examination” of the candidates multiple times in Monday’s phone interview. This portends a tough no-nonsense line of questions for the candidates. The format will leave flexibility for follow-up questions rather then simply asking a series of questions with responses.

There will be no audience and the candidates will not interact. They will be given one-minute each for final thoughts. Following the conclusion of the candidate forum there will be 30 minutes for analysis that will include the three attorneys general said Cuccinelli.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, National, Politics

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