PSA or shameless plug — you be the judge

I’ll be moderating the first face-to-face debate featuring Democrat Roy Barnes, Republican Nathan Deal and Libertarian John Monds, this Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Cobb Energy Centre near Cumberland Mall. It’s sponsored by the Medical Association of Georgia, and my fellow interrogators will be John Bachman of Channel 2 Action News and Wendy Saltzman of WGCL-TV (CBS Atlanta).

Admission is free, although Cobb Energy Centre charges $5 for parking.

Suggestions for questions are welcome in the comments thread below…

88 comments Add your comment

Question Authority

August 26th, 2010
1:19 pm

Nice to see that Monds is included. He certainly is the only candidate worthy of the job.


August 26th, 2010
1:21 pm

Ask all three if they can get through the debate without mentioning the names Obama, Bush, Pelosi and Palin.


August 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

Kyle if you’re taking suggestions for questions, it would great to hear somebody ask for solutions for metro-area congestion (building on your previous post). I understand that most Georgians believe that low taxes are the secret to a happy life, but I imagine that long commutes and poor air quality can’t be helpful for attracting business to this state.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 26th, 2010
1:52 pm

Austerity cuts have taken millions of dollars out of even the most small, rural school systems. Do the candidates see this as a permanent, new reality – a “right-sizing,” of public education? Or, do they think the governor can/should work toward trying to restore some of the lost funding? In my area, student performance is actually on a significant upswing, though some parents are ticked off that their children’s favorite program has been axed.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 26th, 2010
1:56 pm

Selfishly, I’d like to hear the candidates answer this one: Do you think it’s possible that more permissive abortion laws, gun ownership restrictions, or a law to allow gay marriage would pass the General Assembly? (answer: No) Then why is it necessary for you and every other candidate to spend so much time discussing these issues?


August 26th, 2010
1:59 pm

Ask them how Georgia will attract new workers when the colleges are increasing tuition at absurd rates.


August 26th, 2010
2:03 pm

I would like to know what their Plan B is in the event that Georgia loses the “water war” lawsuit and Atlanta is forced to restrict water withdrawals from Lake Lanier.

Road Scholar

August 26th, 2010
2:23 pm

Whatever the question, make them answer it with SPECIFICS! Don’t give them a free pass like Boehmer and McConnell has had on Sunday morning talk shows.

Ayn Rant

August 26th, 2010
2:26 pm

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to suggest topics.

1. Ask Deal why he voted against all federal economic stimulus bills, and whether or not, if he were Governor of the state, he would reject federal stimulus money.

2. Ask both Barnes and Deal how they propose to meet the funding needs of education and transportation in Georgia when the federal stimulus money runs out.

3. Ask all three candidates just what they propose to do to return Atlanta and Georgia to the high-growth, recession-immune environment we enjoyed before Republicans took over the governorship and the Legislature.

Above all, Kyle, cut off irrelevances like hints of personal misconduct and past associations with political parties, Bush, and Obama. Hold them to what they have done, and what they propose to do for Georgia.


August 26th, 2010
3:12 pm

Congratulations, Kyle…I’m happy for you. Questions, eh?

First ask ‘em if they’re wearing boxers or briefs and if any of them are sporting a wedgie. Then….ask if they’ll be responding based on a hypothetical or categorical imperative.


I would like to hear as much as possible about Monds’ economic philosophies. My understanding is he has a background in banking/finance?

I wish Herman Cain was among the three.



August 26th, 2010
3:18 pm

I second the motion on this question:

“Ask all three candidates just what they propose to do to return Atlanta and Georgia to the high-growth, recession-immune environment we enjoyed before Republicans took over the governorship and the Legislature.”

You should steer clear of national issues (especially hyper-partisan ones) and focus on Georgia.

Also, you need to ask the water supply question. This issue alone could sink the metro area’s economy for decades, if not permanently. If you knew how close metro Atlanta was to the economic abyss because of this issue, you would’ve sold your house and moved to Charlotte or Houston a long time ago.

The second most important issue is transportation. Staying on the cutting edge of transportation and being a hub is the sole reason metro Atlanta even exists (railroad and airport). Yet, we have allowed Georgia to fall way behind thanks to white flight, racism, and confederate style thinking (every man for himself).

The third is education. Lots of low hanging fruit there thanks our national obsession with rewarding high test scores and Atlanta and some rural Georgia school systems.

The last is the economy and jobs. Lots to talk about in the short term, but the first three issues if properly handled will move the economy forward on their own.


August 26th, 2010
3:26 pm

Ask them about alcohol sales on Sundays and casinos. Whomever says yes has my vote.

[...] Wingfield said joining him will be John Bachman of Channel 2 Action News and Wendy Saltzman of WGCL-TV (CBS Atlanta). And if you have a question you want Wingfield to ask, he’s taking requests. Just click here. [...]

Bubba Jones

August 26th, 2010
3:32 pm

Ask them what our new flag is gonna look like.


August 26th, 2010
3:45 pm

Following questions need to be asked:

1) Sunday alcohol sales: which one will let the voters decide?
2) Education Funding: Which one will increase funding to all levels of the Georgia educational paradigm?
3) Ask Nathan Deal: Why should any minority vote for you??
4) Water Wars: What are their solutions to ensuring that Atlanta has access to water?
5) Transportation: What are their plans to regionalize Atlanta transportation?
6) Jobs: What are their plans to attract jobs to Georgia?
7) Housing: What are their plans to alleviate the housing problems in the inner cities?
8) Banking: What action would they recommend to entice banks to begin lending?

That’s a start for me!!!


August 26th, 2010
3:48 pm

Ask which candidate will be the biggest supporter and promoter of the Fair Tax Act. (We need it at both the federal and state level.)


August 26th, 2010
3:49 pm

Ask all three if they will defer payments for fish ponds and expensive time shares on Jekyll Island State Park until all funds are restored for all public education needs.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 26th, 2010
3:53 pm


Nothing personal but I’d like to see real debates, without moderators. Let the candidates actually debate each other instead of answering questions from a moderator. They can ask each other questions. I know that isn’t the format but maybe you could try to work it in somehow, at least a little bit.

Suggested question: Would you (the candidate), as a voter, vote for a known liar? That ought to make at least 2 faces turn red as a beet.


August 26th, 2010
3:59 pm

Here’s a good one:

“For all three candidates: will you promise to the voters of georgia right now that if elected, you will refuse to sign any bill into law that raises taxes on the people of georgia?”

Douglas Carroll

August 26th, 2010
4:04 pm

Both Barnes and Deal are professional politicians who will say what they think they can get away with. Please hold them to answer – not respond – to the question you ask. Dont let them play you and play politician in front of the camera. Get specific answers to specific questions. Have courage and show strenght. Georgia needs answers – not political sound bits.

What 3 accomplishments – that will improve the lives of Georgians – will you achieve by 2014 that the people of Georgia should judge you on?

Douglas Carroll

August 26th, 2010
4:08 pm

2nd question for both candidates – its non partisian and positive – Name 3 things that the Obama administration has done to improve the lives of Georgians? Name 3 things the Republicans have done to improve the lives of Georgians?


August 26th, 2010
4:24 pm

Barnes has already be tested and failed.

@Douglas Carroll: Non-partisan? You didn’t add “Name 3 things Democrats have done to improve the lives of Georgians.” Much fail!


August 26th, 2010
4:26 pm

Mr. Deal – Given your voting record against expanding stem cell research, would you pledge to not receive stem cell treatments during your lifetime?

San Antonio Taylor,Sr.

August 26th, 2010
4:37 pm

To both candidates ; Giving the number of African American males failing in high school at the highest rate in history, what plan of action do you intend to take if elected as the next Governor of Georgia?


August 26th, 2010
4:46 pm

Why would businesses want to relocate to Georgia when we’re viewed as a backward state outside the deep South?


August 26th, 2010
4:50 pm

Questions for all three – 1) What is your take on the water-wars? How will GA avert catastrophe if future rulings are against GA? 2) All candidates make promises that will cost money. Where will the funds to stop lay-offs or furloughs of teachers and public employees come from? 3) Will any of the candidates support future laws enhancing the Second Amendment rights? It is NOT about hunting or sport shooting. It is about personal and family protection.


August 26th, 2010
5:07 pm

When will Georgia institute a progressive income tax to solve their revenue problems?

Bob Scott

August 26th, 2010
5:13 pm

How do they stand on the issue of transfering water from a river basin outside of the Chattahoochee River to Atlanta for the Atlanta Metro Area?


August 26th, 2010
5:14 pm

Roy Barnes says that no homeowner should be foreclosed on before state-mandated mediation resulting in mortgage modification. Is he willing to make that same pledge on behalf of the GA Department of Revenue for any taxpayers who cannont pay their state taxes?

No More Rhetoric

August 26th, 2010
5:23 pm

Both major party candidates are largely “career” politicians. In fact, so far, they are running the same type campaigns as always – take digs at each other, past administration, DC, etc.

If they were applying to a private enterprise job, that type “interviewing” would get them thrown out the door. They are “interviewing” for the job of Governor. What are they proposing to do to make them a valuable asset to the state team? What will they do to bring “value” to the corporation (state of Georgia)? How will they make the office/job they are interviewing for become more effective?


August 26th, 2010
6:21 pm

Last September historical floods in metro Atlanta devastated hundreds of families. The flood maps that Cobb County had just released a month earlier were based on data nearly 30 years old. What would you do as governor to ensure that the local communities are properly maintaining and updating their flood hazard maps?


August 26th, 2010
6:25 pm

Oh my!

(Reuters) – The Dow closed below 10,000 on Thursday a day ahead of an expected downward revision in U.S. second-quarter economic growth and a major speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Steel Magnolia

August 26th, 2010
6:53 pm

To Roy Barnes: What mistakes did you make during your last term as governor that you will work to correct during this second chance ?


August 26th, 2010
6:54 pm

Ask if any of them will take a hard look at governmental employees, slashing them by 25% and working to trim their pensions to something like reality.


August 26th, 2010
6:55 pm

The debate is being held in an metro Atlanta venue, and candidates are being questioned by representatives of metro Atlanta media outlets. Therefore, I’d like to request that questions be limited to issues faced directly, but not necessarily exclusively, by Atlanta-area residents. Given the limited length of this debate, I’d be disappointed to hear questioning at this forum that doesn’t directly address our concerns.

(Incidentally, one hour isn’t much time for a three-way debate. I’m not sure who decides this stuff, but given the stakes, it would have been great if somebody could have squeezed another hour or two out of these guys. Wishful thinking. I know.)

mike silver

August 26th, 2010
7:27 pm

Here are a couple

What locations should licensed background checked Georgians not be allowed to carry guns? Universities, churches, elementary schools, etc.

Would you support eliminating the licensing requirement for gun toters like Alaska and Arizona have in the last couple of years.

Would you support a law that prohibits issuing birth certificates and licenses to children of illegals and children of foreign nationals who are not permanent residents (green card holders)?

Do you believe the 14th Amendment, as ratified by Georgia, applies to the children of illegals? Why? Do you know the history of the 14th Amendment here in Georgia and why it should apply to freed slaves and not illegals.

The University system is a bloated beuracracy that loves to spend money on fancy administrative offices and huge palace like buildings. In the age of the internet, shouldn’t spending on higher education be directed toward Internet Learning?

There is a significant shortage of skilled workers such as welders and machinists. Shouldn’t Georgia change its spending priorities from University programs with minimal economic benefit, such as women’s studies to trade schools which teach technical skills such as pipe fitting and electrical work.
Here is a reference for the shortage article:

Do you support withholding funds from the University system until each University and college chancellor certifies that no illegals or children of illegals are enrolled in thier school?

mike silver

August 26th, 2010
7:38 pm

Illegals take unskilled jobs away from our teenagers and young people just getting started in the workforce. This has lead to very high unemployment in the minority community and decreased small business growth. What can the government of Georgia do to stop illegals stealing our jobs and to punish the employers who employ illegals.

barking frog

August 26th, 2010
7:39 pm

For Deal: What change in the democratic party caused him
to become a republican.

Cherokee Co Taxpayer

August 26th, 2010
7:53 pm

Our County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo is making over $200,000 this year. I don’t make that much money, and I am GOOD at what I do!
The new schools that we have built look like palaces built by Haddam Hussein in Iraq (minus the Golden Toilet).
We have the latest police cars equipped with the best Laser Radar systems available… in order to tag my A$$ on the way to work in the morning! Our courthouses are built of pure marble, but there is hardly any “Justice” to be found.
Most of the people I know have had to take a tremendous cut back in expenditures for the foreseeable future (under this Administration).
I drive an old broken down 1995 Ford work truck truck with 258,000 miles on it, with NO AIR CONDITIONING. Everytime I go through the Weigh Stations I get stopped & fined… for something… The Federal regulation manual is 2 inches thick… It’s like the Tax Code. They can always get you for something!
To me, the Federal Government is like a Flesh Eating Bacteria. The State Government is like a bad Yeast Infection!
I am so very glad that you have punished my a$$ so much that I have quit producing for your MOOCHING A$$E$. Go suffer like the rest of us. There is some “Change You Can Believe In”.
I will be glad when this whole self serving government collapses into itself, along with the stock market. Then it will be “every man for himself” like it used to be.

Good luck Roy Barnes! You Dam* Trial Lawyer. We really need a lot more of your a$$e$ around!


August 26th, 2010
9:09 pm

Kyle, since you only have one hour I think it would be prudent to limit the scope of the questions to the areas of greatest need in GA and in the metro Atlanta area in particular: transportation, water, education, attracting non-real estate oriented business (leading to jobs) to balance the over-dependence on real estate be it residential or commercial, and the environment. Please don’t allow them to get sidetracked by the 14th Amendment stuff, religion (mosque or no mosque), abortion, who is the most conservative, etc. etc., you know, the play to the base type “mumbo jumbo” or curry the talk and TV loudmouths. And, if they do, CUT THEM OFF at once and get them back to the question.

I agree with Road Scholar above, make them answer in specifics. It they don’t, keep probing. And, please, please, don’t give them soft ball questions.

Transportation: How would each balance the transportation needs of the metro area between highways and mass transit? Do walking and bicycles fit into your plans as transportation alternatives and if so how much funding are you willing to commit (i.e. to the PATH network of trails)?
Water: What is plan A. What is plan B. and if Plan A and B fail what is Plan C. (Again ask them to be VERY specific).
Education: Will you ever make education the number one priority in GA, especially at the high school level? And if they say yes (and I am sure they will) ask them if they are willing to begin a process to restore some of the billion dollars that has been siphoned off from education at all levels for other less worthy projects (i.e. building boat ramps)?
Business: What are the candidates VERY specific strategies for attracting business, other than just real estate related, to GA. What are your specific incentives for this to happen and how will those incentives impact revenues at the local and state level? What are your specific plans for GA to become a leader in green technology and how will you attract that type of business to GA?
Environment: What specifically are you planning to do which will place the state of GA at the forefront of clean air and clean air technology? What specifically do you plan to do about utilizing solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, and other technologies so as to reduce GA’s dependence on fossil fuel for power generation. Also, when will the state of GA require that all state vehicles be powered by natural gas, hybrid, or electric (specific timetable, cost estimates, and longer term savings estimates requested on these)? Will either of them take GA Power (and Southern Company) to task for moving too slowly on changing the power source mix?

And, lastly, Kyle, if they can’t offer specifics on one or all of the above would you ask them to provide you with their written specifics within 30 days so you can publish them for us to read and digest. I, and I am sure many on this blog, do not believe their ads, robo calls, or anything that is put out over the air waves and TV. I want to read their specific answers to the serious questions you ask and want you to publish them as I respect that you will be fair in presenting their views.

Hillbilly Deluxe

August 26th, 2010
9:16 pm

And, lastly, Kyle, if they can’t offer specifics on one or all of the above would you ask them to provide you with their written specifics within 30 days so you can publish them for us to read and digest.

That’s a good idea.

John Galt

August 26th, 2010
9:17 pm

Question for each candidate: What will you do to reform the Georgia Department of Revenue? Do you have a candidate for Revenue Commissioner in mind? What qualifications are you looking for in a Revenue Commissioner, and in your other appointees?

Voices for Georgia's Children

August 26th, 2010
9:44 pm

Georgia’s current ranking is 42 out of 50 states according to the annual Kids Count Report published by the Annie E. Casey Founda-tion. Georgia has never risen above the bottom ten states in ranking. What will you do to improve children’s outcomes and Georgia’s ranking?

Although the Georgia Lottery is recognized as one of the most profitable lotteries in the country, the expenses of supporting the HOPE scholarship, HOPE grants, and Georgia Pre-K will soon surpass lottery revenues and are projected to consume lottery reserves in the near future as well. How will you maximize the benefits that we get out of the lottery funded programs?

Georgia’s revenues in FY10 decreased 9.1 percent compared to FY09. Falling revenues necessitated deep cuts to state programs and services and mandatory furloughs of state employees. What do you see as the state’s role in ensuring our citizens’ safety, promoting public health, and providing an adequate system of public education? How will you reflect these priorities as you consider the FY12 budget proposal? As the economy improves, where would you support restoring or adding funding?

Many of the campaign ads lately focus on putting Georgia “back to work.” What policies do you support to ensure that Georgia’s children will be educated and skilled as future members of our state’s workforce?

There are over 2.5 million citizens of Georgia who cannot vote. These are our children who are under 18 years old. What will you do to ensure that our government works for kids?

chuck the barber

August 26th, 2010
10:03 pm

Here are my questions to the pandering professional liars – The Dem and Repub – : Do you support victimless crime laws and if not, what will you do to change the laws regarding alcohol sales, gambling, prostitution, and the criminalization of recreational drug use? No one dare hold these sanctimonious, self righteous vote gluttons to a straight answer on any issue involving liberty with enforced responsibility. Our pursuit of liberty and happiness is the farthest thing from the mind of these 2 power seekers.

1 in 13 Adults

August 26th, 2010
10:13 pm

1 in 13 adults in Georgia is under some type of criminal justice supervision (probation, parole, jail or prison) – this is more than twice the national average, and WE LEAD THE NATION! The state budget for corrections is over $1.1 billion per year. Despite this exorbitant spending, prison recidivism rates have remained largely unchanged over time. Over 70% of those under correctional supervision admit they have a drug or alcohol problem. Research shows that strong community supervision programs, including substance abuse treatment, for lower-risk, non-violent offenders can cut recidivism by as much as 30 percent. What changes can you make that will save state dollars and lead us toward researched-based and sound correctional policies?

Lil' Barry Bailout

August 26th, 2010
10:21 pm

“Candidates Barnes, Deal, and Monds, what actions will you take as governor to prevent ObamaCare from destroying our health care system, driving up costs, limiting choice, and rationing care?”


August 26th, 2010
10:57 pm

According to a Minnesota District Judge’s ruling, Gwinnett gets a few gallons of water from Lake Lanier after 2012. Seriously, is anyone going to address this issue in Congress before the deadline? Or are we just going to keep getting injunctions or whatever like we have for the past ten years?

Not So Casual Observer

August 26th, 2010
11:41 pm

Ask which candidate will pledge to reduce the budget for state government by half.

Do they support the Fair Tax and why/why not?

Which candidate will place a limit of say, $75,000 on school administrators salaries?

Which candidate will order the Attorney General to take the necessary steps to challenge all Federal mandates not specifically allowed under the Constitution? Examples: Healthcare and Cap and Trade.

Ask which candidate will contract with Mexico to house our state prisoners? That should save us most of the $1.1 Billion addressed above and eliminate most of the recidivism problem, or at least send them to another state to continue their criminal career.

Not So Casual Observer

August 26th, 2010
11:50 pm

One more,,,

Why should anyone vote for Deal or Barnes? You guys have been part of the problem for your entire careers, why would you be part of the solution now?

OK, one more…

Which of you will pledge not to direct the State Legislature not to gerrymander the Congressional Districts?

Not So Casual Observer

August 26th, 2010
11:55 pm


Why would a minority vote for Barnes? The Democrats have been lying to you for 50+ years, are you just gluttons for punishment? Masochism is a mental disorder!

One for Barnes and Deal – How can you explain your party nominating old, worn out candidates? Are there no fresh, new leaders? Please, both of them should simply leave the race.