Debate Activities

Calling Attention to Kids

First Presidential Debate – October 3, Denver, University of Colorado
Jim Lehrer, moderator, domestic issues

  • Kids and the 2012 Election Colorado Town Hall, September 24, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m., University of Colorado, Davis Auditorium – Click here for more information
  • 2012 Step Up for Kids Rally – September 29, Steps of the Colorado Capitol, 12:30 PM,  RSVP today! 

Contact: Katie Facchinello,

First Vice Presidential Debate – October 11, Danville, Kentucky, Centre College
Martha Raddatz, moderator, all issues

  • 2012 Step Up for Kids Conference, October 8, 9:00 – 5:00, Muhammed Ali Center, Louisville – Click here for more information
  • Rally and March – October 10, Danville, KY

Contact: Katie Carter,

Second Presidential Debate – October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, Long Island
Candy Crowley, moderator, town hall format

  • The March for Every Child, October 4, Hofstra University, Parking Lot A – North Side
    11:00 a.m. – Rally
    11:45 a.m. – March
    12:30 p.m. – Long Island Children’s Museum Reception (includes free exhibit entrance, lunch, and special photo exhibit)
    Click here for more information

Contact: Shea Levin,

Final Presidential Debate – October 22, Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida
Bob Schieffer, moderator, foreign affairs issues
Still in planning stages – check back for more information

Ask the Moderators

According to a report by Voices for America’s children, we talk about kids’ issues only 2 percent of the time in national debates. Considering that 22 percent of America’s children are living in poverty, kids’ issues warrant more than 2 percent discussion by the candidates.

So, join us in urging the moderators (see their contact information below) to ask the candidates questions about kids. Here is a sampling:

  1. Issue:  Children with Medicaid are far more likely to be turned away by medical specialists or be made to wait more than a month for an appointment, even for serious medical problems.
    Question:  How would you improve the program to address these issues while ensuring the children currently enrolled in Medicaid receive quality care?
  2. Issue: Although historic progress has been made in lowering the number of uninsured children in the United States, the number of uninsured parents has soared as fewer employers offered health insurance to their employees and strict eligibility limits were in place for adults who might otherwise qualify for Medicaid coverage.
    Question: As president, how will you address access for uninsured parents –particularly those with low incomes– to public and private health coverage over the next four years?
  3. Issue: For millions of families in rural and other underserved areas of the country, access to a quality health care provider who accepts their insurance is a critical issue. Without access to such a provider, preventable health problems for children and their parents often go untreated, and as a result, increase the cost of treating those patients. 
    : As president, how will you ensure that more American families have access to, and health coverage accepted by a quality health provider – regardless of where they live in the U.S.?
  4. Issue: Overall household income has dropped for middle- and low-income families over the last decade.
    Question:  What policies do you support that would increase family income?
  5. Issue: Nearly 5.9 million children nationwide are reported abused and neglected each year.
    Question: What are your plans to keep children safe, strengthen their families ‘ability to care for them, and best serve those children in the foster care system?
  6. Issue: College tuition has increased substantially in recent years. Pell Grants cover only a fraction of public university tuition.
    Question: What will you do to make college more affordable for lower- and middle-class families?
  7. Issue: A recent New York Times article highlighted the disparate investment is made in education in China and India compared to the U.S. and how large the gap is in the number of high school graduates we will produce in comparison.
    Question: What steps will you take to help guarantee that every child who enters kindergarten is prepared to succeed in school and graduate?
  8. Issue: There are 6.7 million youth ages 16 to 24 that are disconnected from education and the labor market- 3.4 million of them have not been connected to school or work since the age of 16. At the same time, the Great Recession has disproportionately impacted young people. The youth unemployment rate is 16.1% – twice the rate of the general population. For Latino youth ages 16 to 24, that figure jumps to 19.2%, and for African Americans it skyrockets to 25.8% – three times the national average.
    Question: What policies would you implement to help young people, and in particular those living in low-and moderate income communities, to access to jobs and earn a decent wage?
  9. Issue: The taxpayer and social burden of a disconnected 16 year old young person over his or her lifetime is over $1 million and young people who drop out of school almost universally express great remorse for having left school and express strong interest in re-entering school.
    Question:  What changes would you make to federal education policy to ensure young people that have dropped out of high school can be reconnected and earn a high school diploma?
  10. Issue:  More than 15 million school‐age children (26 percent) are on their own after-school.  Among them, more than 1 million are in grades K‐5.
    Question:  How would you ensure working families have a safe learning environment for their children to go to afterschool?

Moderator Contact Information:

Jim Lehrer (Oct. 3 debate, domestic policy issues)

Martha Raddatz (Oct. 11 debate, vice presidential, all issues)

Candy Crowley (Oct. 16, town-hall format)

Bob Schieffer (Oct. 22 foreign policy issues)