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Opinion editor's note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


I'm writing in support of the "Two candidates, 21 questions" editorial in the June 23 paper. The suggested questions are great because they could provoke meaningful answers, answers that could actually help the electorate to get a better understanding of who they might decide to vote for. They could be informational if the two candidates are actually put on the spot and are required to give direct answers. As is often the case, however, they might also avoid directly answering the question, and that is telling, too.

However, I'm extremely pessimistic. CNN is as close to a video tabloid as it is to a news station. It thrives on controversy. I'm actually expecting some milquetoast questions, irrelevant questions and questions that are often offered only to create controversy or even animosity. People will be watching for the truthful answers to meaningful questions, but I'm guessing they'll get something closer to a side show.

Lynn Bollman, Minneapolis


C'mon, Editorial Board! How could you not ask the next commander in chief anything about the defense budget? How about this:

Given that recent reports have revealed that the U.S. military is running short of its recruitment goals, that our ammunition suppliers are struggling to keep up with the promises we have made to supply Ukraine and that war games have found that, if we attempt to defend Taiwan against a military takeover by China, some munitions will be exhausted in one week, as commander in chief, how will you improve our military preparedness? And how do you intend to pay for it now that the two of you together are responsible for so much of the existing national debt?

Tom West, Hutchinson, Minn.


Question for Donald Trump: You have claimed, without evidence, that hordes of illegal aliens cast ballots for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. You are again warning that illegal aliens will cast ballots in the 2024 election. Time and again the voting protection systems in every state in the country have proven to be robust. Explain in detail how an illegal alien bypasses all the safeguards that have been put in place and manages to cast an illegal ballot without getting caught. Then explain how this happens so many thousands of times that it changes election results.

Charlene Burck, Prior Lake


Trump is a curse, but we still have to be fair. On June 23, the Editorial Board published 21 questions that it suggested could be presented at the upcoming presidential debate. Questions 16 and 17 present imagined cognitive test challenges for each candidate. Biden's question would be to name the months of the year in reverse order. Trump's question would be to name the letters of the alphabet in reverse order. Listing the months that way is much easier than listing the alphabet that way.

Jim Bartos, Maple Grove


Upon the editors' request, here are two questions for consideration for the presidential candidates:

Trump: As a recently convicted felon and as someone found liable for sexual abuse, what personal moral attributes can you highlight and bring to the highest office if elected?

Biden: As a father raising two sons (one son deceased and one a recently convicted felon), what personal moral attributes can you highlight and bring to the highest office if re-elected?

Steve Watson, Minneapolis


The 22nd question for the debaters on Thursday night and the one which should be at the top of the list pertains to the national debt, which now weighs in at over $34 trillion and involves nearly $1 trillion in debt service (interest payments to holders of U.S. Treasury paper). The history of great empires shows that they eventually fail when they go broke — when they spend more than they take in from plunder, taxes, tariffs, etc. What do you propose to do about the astronomically increasing debt and the annual debt servicing costs? Cut spending? Increase taxes? Print more money? Or nothing?

James Martin, Minneapolis


Question for Trump: You were quoted as saying you would be a "dictator," but just on Day One of your term. Why should the voters vote for someone who even hints at doing this in the United States of America, and what good does that do to a democracy?

Henry Stein, Minneapolis


An anti-doping regimen

Donald Trump and MAGA operatives continue to badger Joe Biden with unfounded rumors of using performance-enhancing drugs at the 2024 State of the Union. Trump wants blood testing for Biden for the upcoming debates.

The Republican National Committee brags about the massive contributions following the New York fraud trial, so it should be willing to fund a round of blood tests and cognitive tests.

My proposal is to have multiple blood draws for both candidates as some performance-enhancing drugs leave the system quickly and some over time. The following tests should be done:

• a 12-hour fasting test the day before the debate, and cholesterol numbers disclosed if identified as a health concern;

• a blood draw one hour before the debate;

• a blood draw one hour after the debate;

• a blood draw one day after the debate.

The blood draws and chain of custody of the samples should be witnessed by medical professionals representing both parties. At least three labs should perform the analysis for comparison and should be selected from prestigious facilities, such as the Cleveland Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The samples should be accompanied by the party representatives at all times.

A scaled-down cognitive test should also be performed live and televised just prior to the debate: a clock-face test and a word memory test.

Transparent and public testing would answer many questions and put the issue to rest, but the clock is ticking.

Michael Bennett, Eden Prairie


Not seeing what others claim to

I was intrigued by Terry Wu's analysis of Joe Biden's and Donald Trump's brains ("One election, two aging brains," Opinion Exchange, June 24), enough so to check on his credentials. According to Wu's own website, he seems to specialize in "sales, marketing, and leadership" way more than careful application of neurological science. But no matter. What really turned me away from him was his description of Biden's most recent State of the Union address. He claimed what the president did was "to yell at the nation for over an hour," which "demonstrates failing frontal cortical functions" in his brain and the prospect of "sinking cognition."

Really? That statement sent me to YouTube, where I re-watched the State of the Union speech. I would invite anyone to do the same and tell me whether "yell[ing] at the nation for over an hour" is an accurate characterization of that address. I would also invite people to make a YouTube visit to the president's appearance just three months ago on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" and provide even one example of a statement that indicates any sort of significant cognitive decline.

Yes, this is an important issue, but it requires us all to think very carefully about it. No doubt Wu might bristle at my five-minute investigation into his credentials. He should keep that feeling in mind when he blithely characterizes a 60-minute presidential speech so inaccurately and inappropriately — and again, based on ... what?

David Lapakko, Richfield