Final Talking America debate

With just four days to go until voters finally decide on the next president, the BBC World Service is in Minneapolis. We’ll be hosting the third in our series of “Talking America” debates – an illustrious panel will discuss the challenges that face the next president. There’ll be a live audience here asking the questions, but what does the rest of the world think? There’s a big focus on the economy here, but what happened to the other big issues – Iraq? Immigration? Trade?   Post any questions here, and we’ll try to fit them in.

On the panel: Keith Ellison, the first muslim congressman in the US; Chris Georgacas, longtime Republican campaigner, now disenchanted with the McCain/Palin campaign; Ann Markusen, an economist from the University of Minnesota; Dan Hofrenning, a political scientist and historian from St Olaf collega; and Rick Aguilar, a hispanic businessman and McCain campaigner. The BBC’s Claire Bolderson and Minnesota Public Radio’s Kerri Miller will be co-hosts – and you can listen to it live here at 1800GMT  on Saturday. We want to discuss solutions to the many issues facing the new administration – post any questions here..

thanks very much

Piers – debate editor, Minneapolis

35 Responses to “Final Talking America debate”

  1. 1 Roberto
    October 31, 2008 at 22:52

    RE “” There’s a big focus on the economy here, but what happened to the other big issues “”

    ——- Everything else is being dragged to the center of the earth by the economy.

    Neither candidate has a clue how to address the sheer scope of financial fraud and recession soon to be depression.

    AP reports that 14% of the electorate is either undecided or not firm in who they will vote for.

    McCain will be on Saturday Night Live and Obama will be trick or treating with his daughters. Sarah Palin’s appearance on SNL were the best ratings in 15 yrs or so. Don’t think McCain is gonna compete with those figures, but Obama to get 100% of his daughter’s attention.

    Will he trick and treat in a McCain mask, asking the neighborhood to vote for Obama? Might be the highlight of the next 4 yrs.

  2. 2 Luci Smith
    October 31, 2008 at 22:53

    How can any President clean up the financial and ecological mess that George W. Bush has made? If Obama gets elected, won’t he just spend the first 4 years trying to right the wrongs of the previous administration?

  3. 3 Luci Smith
    October 31, 2008 at 22:55

    What about Health Care? That was supposed to be a major goal when Bill Clinton was elected and nothing ever happended.
    With all of the people who are going bankrupt and getting fired, a lot more uninsured people are going to need health care.

  4. November 1, 2008 at 03:55

    Though I have a very low regard to George Bush jr. as a president of the US, I do not agree that he is solely responsible for the financial mess. In a way, we can say it is the republican policies with respect to regulation that resulted the crisis. So I don’t blame Mr. Greespan either. yes, had Bush administration bailed out Lehman Brothers, things might not have deteriorated this much. I do not hesitate to squarely blame Mr. Henry Paulson for Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. The biggest failure of president Bush lies in diverting attention from the fight against terrorism towards Iraq. Besides, he did not put enough pressure on Pakistan to catch Bin Laden when Laden was reportedly on the Pakistani soil. Now both the Iraq and terrorism problems are alive even after spending billions of dollars. No need to mention the Iran issue as a repetition of the Iraq mistake.

    Whoever wins in the coming elections, I am sure, he would do a lot better than George Bush Jr. Things can not go any worse.

  5. 5 Roy, Washington DC
    November 1, 2008 at 04:52

    Representative Ellison —

    As someone who is both a Muslim and an American, what do you think the Western world should do to improve its relations with the Middle East?

  6. 6 parth guragain
    November 1, 2008 at 05:18

    america is country which affects other country more than any country in the world.if Barrack get elected what effect it will have around the world for those underprevileged people who want to join mainstream politics.will it biist the confidence of people to join politics.

  7. 7 Bryan
    November 1, 2008 at 08:13

    The BBC has generally been fair-minded and impartial in its presentation of the America debates and has chosen a representative sample of guests and given them free rein to express their opinions. For this reason they made enjoyable and informative listening. I have no doubt this will continue during the final debate.

    Would be great if the BBC could foster this balanced approach elsewhere in its reporting and in the moderation of its blogs.

    Since there was a moderator approving comments well into the wee hours (at least in UK time) perhaps he/she could explain why two comments I made last night have not been approved and have been left hanging, while a few submitted by others at the same time and later have gone through. The comments are at 10:49 pm on the Talking Points 31 October thread and at 9:11 pm on the All good things…30 October thread. Perhaps those comments break some WHYS rules. Or perhaps they break the unwritten BBC rule of discrimination against those it disagrees with?

  8. 8 Victor Meldrew
    November 1, 2008 at 08:58

    My question to the illustrious panel is:

    Given the utter failure of Republican policies, both domestic, foreign and economic, initiated as far back as the Nixon years, and given a new impetus (in the wrong direction, it now turns out) in the Reaganomics / Power oriented ‘Star Wars” years, on what reasoned grounds can any American vote for a continuation of Republican government?

  9. November 1, 2008 at 15:01

    american election is just like a big soapopera.and after the economic tsunami both presidential hopeful doesnt have a clue in tackling this key issue so they cover it up with other trivial issues like covering cancerwounds with bandaid plaster rather than treating it from the roots.
    just a question to both of them how thay are going to turn around this economic mess?come up with a concrete answer rather than dwelling on trivial issues?
    can they turn around internally by raising from the country itself or will america resort to its deadly foreign policy of exploiting other countries for their own good?

  10. 10 Vijay
    November 1, 2008 at 19:19

    What would happen to the USA and the free world if Sen. John McCain was an surprise underdog winner,ie.if the all the quiet Americans come out to vote.

  11. 11 Vijay
    November 1, 2008 at 19:24

    Will the future President of the USA have to run every foreign policy decision by the the Chinese because they OWN America now?

  12. 12 Vijay
    November 1, 2008 at 19:26

    Is Minnesota ,Canada light,Would the people ever sucede from the Union and join Canada?

  13. 13 Vijay
    November 1, 2008 at 19:34

    Is the American age over, How will the next President manage the decline?

  14. 14 Vijay
    November 1, 2008 at 19:41

    Should the USA now embrace Free Trade,drop their tariffs and non Tariff barriers to Foreign products and services or go the other way and try and create a fortress America with few imports and high tariffs.

  15. November 1, 2008 at 19:57

    What a fascinating discussion. Thank you BBC for bringing it to this American ex-pat, listening in Birmingham UK, while working on my monthly blog, What Are Americans Thinking? at http://www.lulu.com/gypsyteacher.
    Three days to go!

  16. 16 Ross
    November 1, 2008 at 20:00

    If Barack Obama, as the first black president of the U.S., does not live up to America’s high expectations, is it possible or likely that a small population of racially motivated Americans could retaliate against Barack himself as well as the public as a whole, and what effect could that have on the national dynamic?

  17. 17 Jennifer
    November 1, 2008 at 20:04

    @ Vijay

    I think your question is spiffy. I consider myself a “quiet” American and I’ll be voting on Tuesday! 😉

    Now, for my questions:

    Please ask the panel for their opinions about the media’s impact on the lack of focus on key issues such as the war, immigration, and etc. in favor of non-important issues such as Sarah Palin’s wardrobe, John McCain’s age, and “negativity”.

    Please ask them to speak about Obama’s campaign playing on fear of the entire Republican party. Shouldn’t Democrats also be held accountable for their role in any of our current issues?

    Please ask why now, 3 days before the election, we are finally hearing about Obama’s aunt living here in the U.S. illegally. It seems like if Obama had been properly checked out; it should have already been known and make public. What do they think about that?

  18. November 1, 2008 at 20:22

    One would hope the American voters make a wise decision on Nov. 4th after objective analysis of the many burning issues facing them and their country and take a wise decision with foresght. Aftera ll, theri choice will impact us all. The Bush years provide good background material in not making a too subjective decision. It must be rather confusing when each candidate rails against the other on many fronts. Areas that come to mind: economy/trade/jobs;wars/foreign policy/peace;social/health/educational care;energy/environment, all of which need appropriate solutions. How does an individual voter find the right answer mix to these awesome questions? I haven’t a clue.

  19. 19 Edwin A. Novak
    November 1, 2008 at 21:18

    Why didn’t the BBC simply source the Democratic Party’s news output? Providing an MPR sponsored political discussion is paramount to asking the Democratic Party for an opinion on any issue of interest?

  20. 20 George
    November 2, 2008 at 00:29

    I would like to see Obama win the election. I like many things about him, particularly when they are set in relief against McCain.
    But I have to hand it to McCain. Here is a man who knows how to fight, not give up and just keep on ploughing. Congratulations to him and success to Obama!

  21. 21 George
    November 2, 2008 at 00:45

    Just curious, has Osama bin Laben been taken out?
    Yet Its election year and he’s real quiet.
    Which candidate does his silence serve?
    Its just so tempting to jump in and go for a whole array of scenario takes.
    All in all this particular nasty character’s absence is interesting.

  22. November 2, 2008 at 02:22

    i wonder what would happen if the United States dropped the United bit.


  23. 23 Dennis S. Ferche
    November 2, 2008 at 02:30

    Hello World…The All,

    Thanks to BBC, PRI, and MPR for the forum in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I attended as a concerned, searching, and questioning citizen of the United States of NORTH America. I will allow a nights sleep to process the conversations and tomorrow I’ll share what the mornings light brings to them.

    For now I ask the World to ponder how to be helpful in holding this country accountable. In a democracy, we the people, are to hold the government accountable. For a few hundred years now, we haven’t done so.

    I believe we all need agents of change who can earn friendships and get beyond the isolating of earned enemies. We need to get beyond having a goal of having only one war.

    A good nights sleep to Everyone–To All, a good night.

    With Appreciation; and for Hope that We will act wisely and share healthy, sustainable, and joyful tomorrows.

  24. November 2, 2008 at 02:58

    What puzzles me about American “democracy” is that it’s all the same soap powder, everyone knows it; Republican, Democrat, so what.
    The long day wears on.
    As do the American Elections.

    I hazard a guess that not many on the planet give a damn who “wins” so long as they don’t mess up as bad as the last dude.
    Well this is wishful thinking, I know. But it’s a nice idea that the next President of the USof A is not going such a mess as the last one.

    Can we, the population of this planet, viewed as and treated as collateral damage as far as some administrations are concerned , expect more from a radical change in the American mind set?
    Can we expect a bit more humanitarianism from the worlds largest consumer?


  25. November 2, 2008 at 03:02

    Ross November 1, 2008 at 8:00 pm

    If Barack Obama, as the first black president of the U.S., does not live up to America’s high expectations, is it possible or likely that a small population of racially motivated Americans could retaliate against Barack himself as well as the public as a whole, and what effect could that have on the national dynamic?


    Well JFK and Luther King spring to mind…
    One hope not…


  26. November 2, 2008 at 03:03

    I meant Hopes Not… 🙂


  27. November 2, 2008 at 12:39

    i was happy to read the duel between the rep & dem supporters on this blog. i used to think only people in the third world are offended for the attacks on their chosen candidates! thanks mates!

  28. 28 Dinka Alpayo, Southern Sudanese student in Kampala
    November 2, 2008 at 14:43

    DEAR BBC.My dear Americans voters and their presidentials Candidates have been turning there a blinds eyes to the importants issues begin with war in Darfur or genocide, implementations of CPA between South and North of sudan which is very importance to sudan stability, Cutting of green gas emissions and denuclearisation of the world and then they focus on the only economics challenges and Bailout policies. Where will they voters and Senators focus on this in the of the day?.

  29. 29 emile victor
    November 2, 2008 at 14:50

    what are your thoughts on the massive amount of money spent in this campaign? over 3 billion dollars later and we haven’t gained anything of value.

    emile, brisbane, australia

  30. November 2, 2008 at 15:07

    Question. Democrat have been living the genocide to go on in Rwanda in 1994? will Democrats stop Darfur genocide in Darfur and Somalia conflicts now if the wins to have first Black-Americans-Africa-President of U.S.A (BAAPU)?.

  31. 31 Roberto
    November 3, 2008 at 01:37

    Looks like interest in US politics drying up on the eve of election.

    I was reminded in an NPR program that Kerry was projected as the winner in advance of election day 2004. Instead he was 2% down in the popular vote, an indication yet again the pollsters are are engaging in some sort of alchemy, trying to turn public opinion into election gold.

    Don’t know how they can live with themselves for producing a worthless product they sell for millions, but somehow they manage.

    It does seem like Obama has an insurmountable lead, but upsets also seem to be on the rise in the modern era. Just hope the prognosticators don’t screw up the election like they did in 2000 and Floriduh can get it’s act together, but, still, 1 out of 2 would be a major improvement.

  32. 32 Jack Hughes
    November 3, 2008 at 06:02

    How did you think you would balance a panel of 5 people ?

    Please tell us who is on which side. Thanks.

  33. November 3, 2008 at 08:08

    Chapter of the history has paramount importence ,
    republican has add some chapter in the historic book,
    Obama,may be describe as the reader and opponent of that chapters.

    In case, republican ,once again came into power,
    there will be no change in the policies,
    already adopted by the Bush administration,
    that is need of the time,
    because present world scenario is the witness that
    world dislike the policies,has not been so good.

    So change is indispensable,
    which may happene through democrates,
    in this way Obama should be the next United States president.

  34. 34 Muhammed
    November 3, 2008 at 11:38

    The American election should bring change to the world so it deserves someone who can do that and not a person who will be at the verge of deploying troops to fight, which will make the prevailance of the world economic crises.
    I believe Barrack Obama is the only man than change that situation.
    May i please Define OBAMA in this site of yours.
    MAKING changes in
    Long live obama,long American democratic party,long live the entire black race.

  35. November 3, 2008 at 12:53

    This may not be on topic exactly. But I believe it highly relevant nevertheless, because of Studs Terkel’s ever present influence upon honest reporting and the fact that he should be held up as a shining example and bastion of what a reporter’s and journalist job really consists of and most importantly the duty that a journalist owes to their profession and overwhelmingly to the public.
    I don’t think anybody has noticed, and the BBC hasn’t mentioned it so far as I can see.
    Studs Terkel, born May 16th, 1912 and died on October, 31st, 2008, RIP. A broadcast journalist, oral historian and chronicler extraordinaire of Twentieth Century America and he continued to examine the underbelly of the nation and real America in his much later years from the Millenium onwards. This is a sad loss indeed. And even sadder is that he remains unknown to so many in America, Great Britain and elsewhere. So much are we wrapped up in the new and just take a cursory glance to the past, that we just study one aspect and not the whole when it comes to pivotal figures that have great bearing upon how we can gain real insight and allow us to be a fly on the wall of lives of the average American citizen, otherwise ignored and unaccounted for by the mainstream media.
    Studs Terkel was a man who held the mirror up to American society, community, the working man and the image reflected back wasn’t always pleasant, uplifting or something the world’s richest nation should really be proud of at all. But above all it was honest! He pointed out and brought to people’s attention glaring social inequalities and the dichotomy of society that has prevailed for so long and to its great shame exists at such a level, to this day in 21st Century America. This was earth shatteringly brought to the attention of the watching world most recently, courtesy of Hurricane Katrina.
    I urge anyone with even just a passing interest in recent American history and the bearing and affect it has had upon it as a nation, then look no further than Studs Terkel. It should be the duty of all budding journalists and media students to examine the wonderful and enduring legacy and social studies left behind by a man such as Studs Terkel! For an overview read this obituary – http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/studs-terkel-broadcaster-author-and-oral-historian-who-recorded-bluecollar-life-in-20th-century-america-986868.html. And Studs website – http://www.studsterkel.org. I urge everybody and all those with an interest to look him up now!

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