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THE RUSSERT WATCH: OUR READERS ASK THE QUESTIONS TIM RUSSERT DIDN'T

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On Friday we asked you to send us the questions you’d like to hear Tim Russert ask RNC chairman Ken Mehlman, his guest on this week’s Meet the Press. We got dozens of great responses. The best one wasn’t actually a question, but a spot-on observation: “It really doesn't matter what question you ask if you don't ask a series of follow-up questions and prevent the interviewee from filibustering. ... If Russert were to do this no one would come on his show anymore."

Here are the top ten questions we got… none of which -- surprise, surprise! -- Russert asked Mehlman:

1. Roger Matile: Given the problems the military is having with recruiting, have you encouraged your son to volunteer for the U.S. Army?

2. Theresa Clare: With all the evidence and allegations regarding the way the U.S. has treated prisoners -- both kidnapping people and taking them to other countries to be interrogated, and also the treatment in U.S.-run prison camps -- don't you think it's the responsibility of the Republican congressional leadership, and even the President's responsibility, to convene an independent inquiry into these issues?

3. Rebmarks: Traditionally, the Republican Party was the party of fiscal restraint. What happened to that? How is it that this Republican administration and Congress seem to think that it is perfectly okay to saddle our children with our bills because we keep charging everything and refuse to ante up what it takes to pay for them?

4. Christine Moore: President Bush claims that he opposes destroying life to save life when explaining his reasons for opposing stem cell research. At the same time, he justifies the war in Iraq by saying that lives are being saved, though tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed in the process, thus "destroying life to save life." Would you kindly explain the contradiction?

5. cynicalgirl: Ken, why hasn't the White House responded to requests by Rep Louise Slaughter and Rep John Conyers regarding the unusual access given to the White House to Jeff Gannon/James Guckert?

6. Don P: In refusing to comply with the Senate's requests for the NSA intercepts requested in the Bolton nomination, and in using Dick Cheney to change the rules of the Senate on a simple majority, isn't the administration destroying the constitutional requirement for checks and balances?

7. Ryan1: Does Bush have a plan to deal with skyrocketing health care costs? Secondly, fuel costs are going up, and experts say they may never come down. This administration seems to be committed to fossil fuels, and offers only token gestures when it comes to developing alternative energy sources. What are the administration's plans to deal with this problem?

8. Fred R.: Ken, can you shed any light into the connection between Grover Norquist, President Bush, and Bush "Pioneer" Jack Abramoff?

9. Richard: Electronic voting boxes can be manipulated, so why use them?

10. Buzzramjet: Do you think a special prosecutor's office should be set up to investigate the Downing Street Memo? Or the charges at GITMO? Or where all the money that Halliburton refuses to account for went? Or voting irregularities around the country?