10 Tough Questions For 10 Top Candidates

Katie Couric had some key questions for the presidential candidates aimed at showing their core values and who they really are.



In just 336 days, chances are you will elect one of the top 10 candidates in the Primary Election as president, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric reports.

On the stump, people are saying: "Our president has to be a person of integrity," "Morals. Strong morals," "Someone who knows what they're talking about."

From what voters have told CBS News in this next election, there are no guarantees.

"It's really ridiculous to assume that because someone is your same complexion, they will agree with you on major issues," an African-American woman said.

An informal poll indicates that come November, policy positions may not rule the day.

"Character is everything," one voter said.

Voters say they will be pulling that proverbial lever for the candidate who shares their core values.

"I think integrity's the most thing, which gets down to telling people the truth," said Presidential Historian Douglas Brinkley.

So Couric sat down with ten presidential candidates, one at a time, and posed 10 questions ranging from: "If you were elected president, what one book - besides the Bible - you would bring with you to the White House?" to one on the subject of fidelity.

"Many people say they don't feel comfortable supporting someone who's not remained faithful to their spouse," Couric asked.

"The only thing I can say to people is, I'm not perfect," former New York major Rudy Giuliani responded.

On fear, Couric asked: "Besides your family, what are you most afraid of losing?"

In some cases, the answers were divided along party lines.

"Who is the single most impressive person you've ever met?" Couric asked.

Several candidates answered "Nelson Mandela." Others answered "Ronald Regan."

"My father," said former Sen. John Edwards.

"I guess I'd say my dad," said Fred Thompson.

Some of the answers were surprising. Couric told Giuliani after he answered one question: "Would you believe Hillary said the same thing?"

Some, not so revealing. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., said: "I probably shouldn't tell that story."

There were moments of humor, such as when Couric asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., when was the last time he lost his temper.

"Probably about 10 minutes ago," he said, laughing.

Watch a preview video about the series
The candidates tell who was their most influential person.
And there were moments of humility. When asked what's the worst piece of advice he'd ever given, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said: "Someone would probably say 'vote for me.'"

And on more than one occasion, even these seasoned politicians were stumped.

"I'm gonna have to think about this one. Am I allowed to think about these for a second?" Obama asked.

But in every exchange, there were answers that will either reinforce or redefine your opinion of a potential president.

"The single most important thing they're looking for is resilience," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del. "Someone who can take a hit, get back up, and move on."

Thompson said: "I like to say, this ain't my first rodeo. I've been around politics for a while."

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said: "I don't surround myself with yes-men. I surround myself with people that tell me if I've done something wrong."

"That's the great threat," McCain said. "That's the greatest force of evil that we have faced and it's a long hard struggle."

"And if we have a strong president at the helm, we shouldn't ever be afraid to talk to our adversaries," Obama said. "And tell them what we think and where we stand."

And Romney said: "You're fine to go down, if you go down based on the things that you believe. And it's like okay if people reject what I really believe and what I really did, and they don't want that, that's fine."


  • Katie Couric

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