A number of major news organizations refuse to let their reporters be on the panel of questioners at presidential debates. They consider the debates staged political events and say it would be unethical for them to take part.
But I don't have any such qualms. I won't be asked, but just in case, I have prepared my list of questions for President Bush, Gov. Bill Clinton and Ross Perot. They cover, I believe, most of the major issues of this campaign.
President Bush, you say you were not part of "the loop" in the Iran-Contra arms deal. Doesn't that make you feel silly? I mean, there you were, the vice president of the United States, the second-biggest enchilada, and they didn't even tell you what was going on? What was the deal _ did they think you'd blab? And would you have blabbed? You want to blab now?
Gov. Clinton, you attended Oxford University in England and Yale Law School in the Ivy League, two of the finest institutions of learning in the world. So how come you still talk like a hillbilly?
Mr. Perot, this question concerns the relationship between one's height and how one uses power. Have you noticed that Napoleon, Attila the Hun and you are all short guys, and would you care to comment on that?
President Bush, did Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa of Japan ever send you the dry-cleaning bill after you threw up on his trousers, and did you pay it?
Gov. Clinton, is your choice of jogging attire an indication that you are seeking the nerd vote?
Mr. Perot, you made most of your billions in the computer industry. Could you tell the American people what the heck they should do when their PC sends the message, "Abort, Retry, Fail"?
President Bush, you are, in all likelihood, the last American president who will have grown up during the Great Depression. Would you care to share with those younger Americans, who are now suffering through hard times, your memories of what it was like to look upon a depressed nation through the window of the family limo that was driving you to your prep school?
Gov. Clinton, after that blond bimbo got up on TV and said you had been her lover boy for years, you and your wife went on TV and your wife was affectionate, supportive and calm. Would you care to share with millions of American men how the heck you managed to talk your way out of that pickle?
Mr. Perot, as a successful businessman, don't you think it would be a more prudent use of your resources to go find a small, undeveloped country, buy the whole thing and declare yourself king?
President Bush, you live in the White House, you own a huge home on the coast of Maine, but you insist on voting in Texas and claiming to be a Texan. Are you ashamed of being a natural-born Eastern elitist?
Gov. Clinton, you have said that if you are elected president, you will continue to make bus tours around the United States to stay in touch with grass-roots Americans. Do you promise to do it only on weekends so you don't screw up rush-hour traffic?
Mr. Perot, from where we're sitting, we can't see _ are you standing on a phone book?
President Bush, when that reporter asked you about reports that you were once lovey-dovey with a female aide, you really got indignant and mad. Why did you get mad? I mean, come on, you're a successful, healthy, normal, tall, good-looking guy, with a full head of hair, and, hey, stuff happens, right?
Gov. Clinton, President Carter called himself Jimmy. You call yourself Bill. Don't any of you Southerners have real grown-up names?
Mr. Perot, after this election is over, and assuming you do not win, if Larry King has to make a choice between having you on his show or Zsa Zsa Gabor, what do you think your chances will be, and do you want to make a bet?
President Bush, during his two terms in the White House, Ronald Reagan frequently took naps, dozed off during meetings and took kind of a laid-back approach to governing our nation. And he was one of the most popular presidents of modern times. In contrast, you are always wide awake, on the go, jetting from one place to another, frantically flailing at golf balls and speeding off in golf carts, or zipping around in a boat in pursuit of fish, yet your popularity is low. So if you had it all to do over again, would you have popped a few Valiums?
Gov. Clinton, after the election is over, win or lose, are you going to finally inhale?
Mr. Perot, or are those two phone books?