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Ruth Marcus: So, what's your answer?

BY RUTH MARCUS Published: October 3, 2012

Gov. Romney, rather than directing funding to schools, you propose giving low-income and special-needs children vouchers to allow them to attend the school of their choice. What happens if the voucher covers only a fraction of the cost or if those schools don't have room? What happens to parents who aren't capable of getting their children to such schools? And why does your plan dismantle standards for holding low-performing schools accountable?

President Obama, your administration has granted waivers to about half the states from requirement that all students be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Some states, such as Virginia, are holding schools less accountable for the academic achievement of black and Hispanic students. How will that help close the achievement gap with white students?

For both: You have agreed that it is an appropriate role of government to help develop the infrastructure the economy needs to prosper. The World Economic Forum has ranked the quality of U.S. infrastructure at 24th in the world, down from fifth in 2002. How do you propose to confront this challenge — and to pay for it? How will you prioritize among various needs?

Gov. Romney, you have said you believe life begins at conception. How then do you justify an exception for abortion in cases of rape or incest? Do you support the call in the Republican Party platform for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit abortion?

President Obama, do you believe that the Constitution protects the right of gays and lesbians to marry? If not, what is the difference between discrimination on the basis of race and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation?

President Obama, during the 2008 campaign you called for reinstituting the assault weapons ban. Despite the shootings in Colorado, Arizona and elsewhere, you have remained silent on gun control as president. Will that continue in a second term?