Vice Presidential Debate
Case Western Reserve University - Cleveland, OH - October 5, 2004
Introduction Question 1   to Cheney
Vice President Cheney, there have been new developments in Iraq, especially having to do with the administration's handling. 

Paul Bremer, the former head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, gave a speech in which he said that we have never had enough troops on the ground, or we've never had enough troops on the ground. Donald Rumsfeld said he has not seen any hard evidence of a link between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein. 

Was this approved -- of a report that you requested that you received a week ago that showed there was no connection between Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Saddam Hussein?

Question 2    to Edwards
And this time to you, Senator Edwards.

You and Senator Kerry have said that the war in Iraq is the wrong war at the wrong time. 

Does that mean that if you had been president and vice president that Saddam Hussein would still be in power?

Question 3   to Cheney
Tonight we mentioned Afghanistan. We believe that Osama bin Laden is hiding perhaps in a cave somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistan border. 

If you get a second term, what is your plan to capture him and then to neutralize those who have sprung up to replace him?

Question 4    to Edwards
... I want people to understand exactly what it is, as you said, that Senator Kerry did say.

He said, "You've got to do" -- you know, he was asked about preemptive action at the last debate -- he said, "You've got to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons." What is a global test if it's not a global veto?

Question 5   to Cheney
When the president says that Senator Kerry is emboldening enemies and you say that we could get hit again if voters make the wrong choice in November, are you saying that it would be a dangerous thing to have John Kerry as president?
Question 6   to Edwards
Part of what you have said and Senator Kerry has said that you are going to do in order to get us out of the problems in Iraq is to internationalize the effort. 

Yet French and German officials have both said they have no intention even if John Kerry is elected of sending any troops into Iraq for any peacekeeping effort. Does that make your effort or your plan to internationalize this effort seem kind of naive?

Question 7   to Edwards
I want to circle back to a question which I'm not quite certain we got an answer to...

It's a question of American intelligence. 
If this report that we've read about today is true, and if Vice President Cheney ordered it and asked about this, do you think that, in the future, that your administration or the Bush administration would have sufficient and accurate enough intelligence to be able to make decisions about where to go next?

Question 8   to Cheney
Mr. Vice President, in June of 2000 when you were still CEO of Halliburton, you said that U.S. businesses should be allowed to do business with Iran because, quote, "Unilateral sanctions almost never work."

After four years as vice president now, and with Iran having been declared by your administration as part of the "Axis of Evil," do you still believe that we should lift sanctions on Iran?

Question 9   to Edwards
I do want to talk to you about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Today, a senior member of Islamic Jihad was killed in Gaza. There have been suicide bombings, targeted assassinations, mortar attacks, all of this continuing at a time when the United States seems absent in the peace-making process. 

What would your administration do? 

First of all, do you agree that the United States is absent? Maybe you don't. 
But what would your administration do to try to resolve that conflict?

Question 10   to Cheney
Mr. Vice President, the Census Bureau ranked Cleveland as the biggest poor city in the country, 31 percent jobless rate. You two gentlemen are pretty well off. You did well for yourselves in the private sector. What can you tell the people of Cleveland, or people of cities like Cleveland, that your administration will do to better their lives?
Question 11   to Edwards
Senator Kerry said in a recent interview that he absolutely will not raise taxes on anyone under -- who earns under $200,000 a year. How can he guarantee that and also cut the deficit in half, as he's promised?

Question 12   to Cheney
I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: "Freedom means freedom for everybody." You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions. And you used your family's experience as a context for your remarks.
Can you describe then your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions?
Question 13   to Edwards
As the vice president mentioned, John Kerry comes from the state of Massachusetts, which has taken as big a step as any state in the union to legalize gay marriage. Yet both you and Senator Kerry say you oppose it. 

Are you trying to have it both ways?

Question 14   to Cheney
President Bush has derided in John Kerry for putting a trial lawyer on the ticket. You yourself have said that lawsuits are partly to blame for higher medical costs. Are you willing to say that John Edwards, sitting here, has been part of the problem?
Question 15   to Edwards
Senator Edwards, new question to you, same topic. Do you feel personally attacked when Vice President Cheney talks about liability reform and tort reform and the president talks about having a trial lawyer on the ticket?

Question 16   to Cheney
But in particular, I want to talk to you about AIDS, and not about AIDS in China or Africa, but AIDS right here in this country, where black women between the ages of 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts. 

What should the government's role be in helping to end the growth of this epidemic?

Question 17   to Edwards
Ten men and women have been nominees of their parties since 1976 to be vice president. Out of those ten, you have the least governmental experience of any of them. 

What qualifies you to be a heartbeat away?

Question 18   to Cheney
Without mentioning them by name at all, explain to us why you are different from your opponent, starting with you, Mr. Vice President.
Question 19   to Edwards
Flip-flopping has become a recurring theme in this campaign, you may have noticed. 

Senator Kerry changed his mind about whether to vote to authorize the president to go to war. President Bush changed his mind about whether a homeland security department was a good idea or a 9/11 Commission was a good idea.
What's wrong with a little flip-flop every now and then?

Question 20   to Cheney
Whichever one of you is elected in November -- you mentioned those three electoral votes in Wyoming and how critical they've turned out to be. 

But what they're a sign of also is that you're going to inherit a very deeply divided electorate, economically, politically, you name it. 
How will you set out, Mr. Vice President, in a way that you weren't able to in these past four years, to bridge that divide?

Closing Statements
Adapted from the CPD transcript.