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Patch Readers Grill Obama, Romney

Users' questions could be asked at next week's Presidential Debate.

Patch asked readers last week: what questions would you pose to President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney at the Oct. 16 Town Hall Debate?

The response was staggering; readers submitted queries about foreign policy and climate change, health care and campaign gaffes.

The best part? Your queries could be asked to the candidates. The Debate Commission is partnering with Patch's parent company Aol—along with Google and Yahoo—to take questions from web users across the country.

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The questions:

Mr. Romney: when you said the words that described the 47% of the voters who pay no taxes who would not vote for you were not “elegant,” what are the elegant words that you claim that you should have used? —Donald Diamond

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Why don't the two of you now reach a Grand Compromise that you will agree to support when elected? This would support our recovery and be good for the nation. I suggest it would be along the lines of Simpson-Bowles. —Armand Keim

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Obama and Romney: from you life experiences, why do you feel that you can "relate" to the average situation that your typical voter finds himself or herself in with today's tough economy? How can you improve how the average voter lives? —Carl Mendelsohn

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What concrete steps will you take to address the worldwide crisis of global warming? Are you willing to put it the forefront of your agenda? —Elizabeth

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What course will you take to get the 12 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, as they really aren't going to leave on their own as some suggest. Wouldn't it be a boost in revenue to get them on the tax roles? Isn't it false to claim that it will cause a drag on social and medical services as those in need are already receiving the services they need? —P

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For Obama: how can you take $716 billion from Medicare, which is the private savings of those workers who already paid the taxes on their gross wages of this money & use it to fund Obama Care? How is this legal? Why did you not take the money from the Pension Plans of Government Workers including your own, which is also money the taxpayers have paid for. —Anne Latella

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I would like Mr. Romney to explain why seven figure bonuses became expected and common only after trickle-down economics gave the corporations the money to pool at the top for these bonuses and how these bonuses to a small minority stimulate the economy when the recipients are paying over 10% less in taxes than the middle class—essentially robbing the country of billions of dollars every year. —Karen Lieberman

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Explain why and how politicians have sanctioned the violation of our own borders. —Aidan

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For POTUS: Why won't you unseal your college records so the American People can see what you had for grades, what you wrote, what types of college aid you got and how you made out your applications? What are you hiding? —Dan Seidel

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Why, Mr. President, are you actively seeking to "fundamentally change" America into a country that resembles the worst vestiges of Old Europe? —Chris Marengo

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For Governor Romney: what are you going to do about taxes? Will you give the rich a 250,000 relief and raise the middle class tax by 2000 dollars. Plus where are you going to cut from the tax program. Individual, mortgage, capital gains, please be very clear! —Ted

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For Obama: do you still feel Joe Biden is the best person to be a heartbeat away, and why? —Stephany

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Dear Mr. Romney & Mr. Ryan:
What tax deductions are you seeking to eliminate, is one mortgage interest, is another charitable contributions? Isn't that really all the middle class has left?
Why did you do business with China and Iran, the two countries that you now seem to vilify?
Why are you saying your healthcare plan will cover individuals with pre-existing conditions, when it will not?
Why do you not believe in climate change?
Why do you think education is elitist?
Why do you think a rape has to be justified as legitimate?
Why did you support the Vietnam War, but not serve? Yet you seem eager to send other peoples children to War.
Why is it that when a corporation takes advantage of a government subsidy or loophole that is good business, but when a veteran or elderly person collects benefits they paid into they are victims?
Is a corporation really a person?
What will defunding PBS really accomplish? —Patty M.

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In light of the recent meningitis outbreak engendered by an unregulated industry, why do you persist in advocating deregulation and decimating the EPA and FDA imperiling the life and welfare of American citizens? —Ann Fanizzi

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Both parties have supported the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency, and other environmental protection efforts for 40 years. What justification is there for eliminating, weakening, or cutting funding from these initiatives now? —Miriam

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For Mr. Obama: why is it fair for the government to take someone’s money and give it to someone who the government decides needs it more than the one who earned it? If I feel that I deserve more than my neighbor, I am not allowed to take it! I would be arrested.

For Mr. Romney: why is the graduated income tax structure where the wealthier give a greater percentage of their income to the government not considered redistribution of wealth?? Means tested Social Security and Medicare, is also redistribution. If contributions are made equally, benefits should not be based on need. —Irv Kleiner

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A question for Mitt Romney: I have seen a direct positive impact on my life from President Obama’s policies: my payroll taxes are lower, my older children are covered by my health insurance longer, contraceptives and pre-existing conditions are covered. Your previously stated policies will remove some of these benefits. How will electing you make my life better? Which of your policies with have a direct (not trickle-down) positive impact on my life? —Allison Romain

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Both candidates: if your house was located within sight of the U.S/Mex. border what changes would you make in security? Would you then like our military lined up along our border and authorized to use deadly force to protect our border as we have done for "other" countries? —Gary

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For Governor Romney: please be specific as to why you like private health insurance so much to the exclusion of any government supported program that could help everyone? When was the last time you personally applied for private health insurance? Please do not tell us again what you did in Massachusetts because that was done by a Democratic majority, not by you. —Williamgee

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Will either one of you stand up to the NRA and control the sale if guns in this country?

To Romney, will you or will you not support legislation infringing on a woman's right to choose? This is a yes or no question.

To Obama, you want to raise taxes on the wealthy. What do you consider wealthy? A 250,000 salary? A $1,000,000 salary? —Josephine

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For Obama: what do you plan for Medicare Advantage? —Renee Allen

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What will you do to reduce gun violence in America? How will you support women's reproductive rights? —Patti

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For both, on veterans' topics:

1 - What, specifically, have you done to help our Veterans get jobs, healthcare and psychiatric support, and what, specifically, will you do, should you be elected?

2 - Did you work toward getting the jobs bill passed for our Veterans, and why was the last one voted down?

3 - When was the last time you visited our Wounded Warriors in a VA center or similar facility, as they recover?

—Miriam Danar

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For Romney: please state, very specifically and clearly, what limitations you plan to place on women's health care options - specifically in regard to access to birth control, abortion, and well check ups. —Eva Steen

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For Romney: why haven't all of the "job creators" that you keep referring to been busy creating jobs during the past 4 years while they've actually been reaping the rewards of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy? —Eva Steen

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Both parties are consulting members to the United Nations and follow its agenda while stomping on our Constitution and Rights. Will either party dump the United Nations? —Elizabeth McLaughlin

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If Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts today and if his health care legislation had not been approved - would he have submitted to the State of Massachusetts the health care law he signed into law? How hard would he work to persuade lawmakers from both parties to approve the law? —Paul Feiner

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Obama, what is the tweak you will make in regards to social security? —John Blanar

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I’d like to ask why both parties have spent so much money to try to keep Gary Johnson and other third party candidates off the ballots and out of the debate. If they don't consider Gary Johnson to be a viable candidate, why are they afraid to let American voters hear his positions? He is the only candidate with a plan for a balanced budget from his first year in office. —NT

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# 1. Mr. president if you take office in 2013, will you blame the man who was the president for the past 4 years for the economic mess? # 2- What will you do differently than you did for the past 4 years? —Francis T. McVetty

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Ed. note: Some minor grammatical and style changes have been made to questions. No content was changed.

C Gajowski October 11, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Medicare changes - Re: Medicare Advantage programs Enrollment in Medicare is starting earlier this year. I’ve noticed many cable infomercials by one insurer, Humana, often touting the “free” health club- exercise program in their Medicare Advantage plan. Clearly, if they are buying half hour blocks of time on multiple channels, Humana expects to profit significantly for new enrollees. One change suggested to reduce Medicare costs is to terminate Medicare advantage programs because they cost the government an extra $1000/year. There has also been a study that indicates the medical care of those in such plans is not measurably better than those original Medicare. Would you continue these programs? Why or Why not? Why not give the companies the chance to offer the plans – but with the proviso that they will only be paid the Medicare Part B amount that original Medicare must work with. The company could be allowed to offer the plan but with enrollees having to pay the differential – e.g., the extra $1000 must be paid by the enrollee- the Medicare recipient.
C Gajowski October 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Romney - You argue that your business experience would make you a better leader. But – there are differences between managing a privately owned financial company and government. Bain’s objective was to maximize Bain’s profit – and not in 5, 10 or 20 years. To this end you can sell off unprofitable units. And had products manufacturted anywhere costs are cheaper –and labor protection non-existent in China for instance. As president would you follow sthe staus quo or change trade rules? ALSO If elected, you can’t sell off poorly performing sectors of the US economy. As president, you must consider the effects of decisions on all citizens, yet be focused on economic growth which may require investments in education, technology and new industries which will not pay off for many years. There is no guarantee that every investment will pay off. But if these investments are not made the country will fall behind other nations. ( China, for instance, is making massive investments in solar technology). Pres. Obama has been attacked for the failure of a solar generation company, Solyndra. How would you approach this differently?
Aidan October 11, 2012 at 02:18 PM
"But – there are differences between managing a privately owned financial company and government." Says who?
C Gajowski October 11, 2012 at 02:20 PM
For Both: There's a lot of noise about education. we all know that most educational costs are supported with local property taxes, and that wealthier areas tend to have better schools. Both Pres. G.W. Bush's " No Child left Behind" and the Obama " Race to the Top" have failed to lead to anything much more than an intense focus on testing in elementary to high schools. We cannot afford to allow large segments of our children to fall behind or enter adult life with insufficent skills. What changes do you see for the federal government's role in education - first from preschool through high school? Are there changes in how you would approach college loan and grant programs?
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