Help Me Ask Barack Obama a Question

The Austin Obama ’08 campaign called me tonight to tell me they had moved tomorrow’s Town Hall Meeting to a bigger room in the Austin Convention Center, and, more importantly, that they had 2 tickets for me. I was on the waiting list after being turned down for tickets this afternoon. Realistically, I thought there was no chance.

The friendly folks at Obama headquarters seemed unsure of how attendees would be allowed to submit questions, but I thought I’d get a head start, and take some typed out already, in the hopes that would increase my chances of actually getting to address him.

I was originally thinking about asking him whether he would consider using the bully pulpit of the presidency to speak out against lengthy – as in decades long – sentences for low level drug offenders.

I looked at the tickets, however, and noticed that they say: A Town Hall Meeting to discuss strengthening America’s Economy. So I figure I need to at least tilt any proposed question to the economy. I suppose I could ask whether he would consider using the bully pulpit of the presidency to educate the American people about how much incarcerating folks is costing them in tax dollars, but I’m not sure they would select that. Yes, I’m bucking for a good question, but also one I think they will ‘like’.

Basically, I’m asking for suggestions, and here’s what I’ve got planned so far. I got the basic premise of the question from my wife. (The initial sycophancy is my idea.)

Senator Obama:

I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Texas, and I’m an admirer of the legislation you spearheaded in Illinois to help ensure that innocent people not be given the death penalty. Since this meeting is about economics, could you talk a little about how expensive death penalty litigation by the State is, and whether or not America as a whole might consider abandoning it entirely?

I’ve got to work on that, I know. Feel free to comment, and help me tweak it. Or suggest something entirely different – but I would like to focus on criminal defense, and I think the topic of the meeting means I need to focus on the economic aspects of some of this too.

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Comments (17) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Gary Carson - February 27, 2008 11:47 PM

The drug war has an effect on our economy through Mexico. The drug war in the US has destroyed the Mexican economy which has created a huge inflow of illegal immigrants.

Maybe you could frame a question about the unintended economic and immigration consequences of the drug war.

Windypundit - February 28, 2008 12:24 AM

I like your prison question better, because I'm pretty sure that death penalty costs are a drop in the bucket compared to the economic costs of our entire prison population. But good luck getting the media interested in something that's not part of this election's slate of issues, and you'll never get them to understand the economics of imprisonment...

Gary Carson's question is pretty good. The drug war has a huge effect on our economy without considering Mexico, but the tie-in to the immigration issues might be a hook they could use.

Elizabeth - March 27, 2008 4:18 PM

I want to know what has he done for his country sence he been in the senate.and where he stand on cell stem rescraech

Derrick - April 1, 2008 2:14 PM

I want to know what is he going to do about the war in Iraq and how bad the gas prices have went up.

wesley - April 1, 2008 2:19 PM

Are you a rag head or are you black?? Please let me know so i wont vote for you.

Lance - April 1, 2008 4:14 PM

Mr. Spencer is neither a raghead, or black, and he's not running for office.

As far as I know.

art recreation center - April 12, 2008 2:23 AM

what are your views about the transition to digital television and how will the excess analog spectrum be divided up? Will the public ownership of the broadcast spectrum be used for the benefit of the American people or just sold off for private or corporate profit?

Sheree - June 4, 2008 5:11 PM

Mr Obama my conern is about the TAKS in Texas. First of all i have a daughter who is 12 years old who is in the fifth grade. She failed her test in the 3rd grade but she was doing real good on her report card they help her back. Now she is in the fifth grade she failed her test again with a 1989 (she is suppose to get a 2100) she had to go to summer school but I really do no think that test is right. First of all why are the kids still getting grades in school and the only thing that matters is the TAKS test. I am a single parent of three girls and it is really making us stressed out about this test. If this test continues I really believe that young kids are going to start committing suicide because of this. Also on the other hand I am feeling like I am not doing good as a parent. Please Obama stop this test before it really start to hurt our kids physically and mentally. Thank you

ahmad - July 9, 2008 5:38 AM

will you stop taks if you were presidennt

Dr. James Klug - July 16, 2008 11:02 AM

I have neve voted for a democrat sine Harry Truman (1948)...I am braking that streak now and will enthusiastically vote for Obama for Predsident who can lead us out of the morass we're in. I want to obtain a large lawn sign for my peroperty smack dab in the middle of a Republican neighborhood in Minnesota. Can you help me out here?

Jamie - July 16, 2008 2:03 PM

Dr. James:

I'm sure there's an Obama headquarters near your neck of the woods. You should just call them up.

I bet they have signs for free.

Ernest Dageford - September 14, 2008 11:50 PM

Dear Barack,

In view of the resent poles percentages, do you still think you will win? Are you going to be able to fend off those D--- Republicans?

I would appreciate getting your take on these questions.

Thanks,
Ernest Dageford

Dillon Noreen - October 7, 2008 9:25 PM

Dear Barack Obama please answer this question on tv so I can here it please.

Barack what will you do to help reduse the green house effect? My Suggestion would be to do what Governer Arnold Schwarzenegger is doing about it. Except You should do what Arnold Schwarzenegger exept make it happen in all states please after you do what is most important first. Thank You

Dillon Noreen MN LakeCity

Jo Ann - October 8, 2008 12:45 PM

What I really wish I could ask is this: What is Obama's definition of rich? Am I rich because I had a full time job at 18, never went to college, sent 2 children to a 4-year college and paid for it all, skimped and saved, and gave up things I wanted because I knew I really couldn't afford them, and NOW I have retired and have what some would categorize as a good nest egg. So, does that mean I'm rich and should pay for those who could have worked and didn't, could have saved and didn't, and those who did buy everything and anything they wanted and yet couldn't afford them????

krishma - October 15, 2008 6:40 PM

i am goin to vote for you if we stop having taks test because its not helping out and it has a big stress i really want to only have about 4 days of school i know you will understand and reply backto me on my mail

thanks

adrian perry - October 18, 2008 9:57 PM

I am in the navy. About ready to retire. But I am going to suggest something that most military fall for and I know that a lot of people that are civilian, my wife have an account with Bank of America. Many loan companies and banks do similar and this has to stop. Bank of America gave her a loan in 2002, of 13,000 at 19% this is the year 2008 and it is now 11,000 left. Well I do not know about you these numbers do not add so I asked around. The monthly payment is 150 dollars and still this did not compute in my thought. 150 dollars is a minimum payment and out of these 140 dollars is played to the bank. I do not care who you are this is not 19% that is calculated. Figure it out. Like many, Bank of America has blood on there hands also. I see many young and old fall victim of this and the state of Virginia there is no cap on this. We as Americans have the responsibilities to be honest in our duties and the banks are not. They have to be regulated. When I even said I am a vet of this war and still serving they said they did not care they just what there money. Is this how the image of what should be. I cannot keep up with this bill. Over this time this bill should be close to being paid off. 13000 dollars at 19%, 19%=2470, that totals 15470 dollars 150 for 12 months is 1800 and for 6 years 10,800. No this is what the banks told me, out of 140 dollars out of the 150 is processing fees. This is bull. Most of the nation has some type of a loan or a card or something like this. Banks are asking too much, they are ripping you off, and every one else and lending the loan people the money from tax payers will not stop acts like this How this fair, how is is America going to survive. What is going to happen to the little man? In questioning the bank the bank hung up on me. When I called back the office is closed message came across. There needs to be a cap on this and there needs to be serous regulations, in Virginia we need business regulations better then what that is in place and this will get the votes of the military and DOD employes. what are you going to do suport the people or suport the banks?

keisha - December 29, 2008 5:35 PM

Dear President Obama,

I am a senior in high school and I'm really concerned and stressed out about the TAKS test. I feel really dumb because I failed my test 3 times and I'm an intelligent student but what's holding me back from accomplishing my goals is passing the TAKS test. I was on the edge of giving up. This is most defenitly hurting me physically and mentally. I will lose my mind and all hope if I don't graduate! Can you please do something about this?

Respectfully,
Keisha Cook

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