What Would America Ask the Candidates Friday?

On Oct. 8 in St. Louis, in the second of three presidential debates, members of the audience will have the chance to ask the candidates a question. This week, American Progress roving correspondent John Moyers asked his neighbors and friends in rural Bristol, Vt. what they would ask. Then his travels took him west to the streets of Venice, Calif., where he asked a random sampling of pedestrians what they might ask. Even though Moyers made it clear that questions could be asked of either candidate, almost everyone he spoke with wanted to direct their question only to President Bush.

While Vermont is considered a liberal state, its governor’s office and state House of Representatives are controlled by Republicans. Venice is famous for its iconoclastic beach scene and toney canal-house district. But is it is also community where people of diverse backgrounds fill densely packed middle- and working-class neighborhoods, and the homeless are everywhere.

“Most people knew the second debate is focused on domestic issues,” Moyers writes from the road. “But I couldn’t stop them from asking questions about national security and Iraq. That is what was really on their minds. That’s what most wanted to ask about.”

Click photos/names to see their questions for the candidates.

Andrew Jackson, attorney, Bristol, Vermont
Andrew Jackson, attorney, Bristol
Christopher Williams, cashier, Venice
Christopher Williams, cashier, Venice
Cheri Rockwood, Bristol, and Jen Brandt, Ferrisburgh, Vermont
Jen Brandt, Ferrisburgh
Andrew Jackson, attorney, Bristol, Vermont
David Bedard, Bristol
Donna Fournier, New Haven, Vermont
Donna Fournier, New Haven
Jim Dumont, attorney, Bristol, Vermont
Jim Dumont, attorney, Bristol
Lisa Misipeka, of Venice, is a track coach at a junior college
Lisa Misipeka, Venice, track coach at a junior college
Lorraine Wells, West Los Angeles; manager, Trash and Treasure thrift store
Lorraine Wells, West Los Angeles, manager, Trash and Treasure thrift store
Mustafa Mustafa, a house painter in Venice
Mustafa Mustafa, house painter, Venice
Piper Smith, shopkeeper, Bristol, Vermont
Piper Smith, shopkeeper, Bristol
Tamra Hernandez, Venice, is a student and waitress
Tamra Hernandez, Venice, student and waitress

Photos and text by John Moyers

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.