Seven Republicans will meet tonight at St. Anselms college in Manchester, New Hampshire for a Presidential debate. The participants include both the declared candidates (Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santoroum) and likely candidate, Michele Bachman. Given that the event will take place in the St. Anselm Hawk’s hockey venue, I’m going to keep a scorecard on the candidates’ responses to issues affecting public health.
Since the breath of topics relevant to public health is wide, during tonight’s debate I’ll focus my attention on domestic policy issues that may enhance or degrade population health. My ears will definitely perk up, for example, if I hear the participants mention ensuring access to affordable, quality health care; protecting our air and water; reducing our reliance on fossil fuels; building a sustainable energy supply; ensuring the rights and health vulnerable populations, such as children, workers and the elderly, are protected.
It’s possible I won’t hear any of those things. The questioners and the candidates may choose to focus on their qualifications and policy record, their ability to beat President Obama in November 2012, or other issues. Regardless, I’ll report back here tomorrow with my scorecard completed, and my reaction to what I heard the Republican candidates say.