Wednesday night's CNN/YouTube presidential debate for the Republican candidates largely lived up to its promise to be a debate fitting for Republican voters as the vast majority of the questions used were asked from a conservative point of view. But the GOP debate's slant toward conservative questions was less than the July 23 CNN/YouTube Democratic debate's slant toward liberal questions. On Wednesday, out of a total of 34 video questions presented, conservative questions outnumbered liberal questions by 14 to 8, with the remaining questions ideologically ambiguous or neutral. During the Democratic debate, out of a total of 38 video questions, the slant toward liberal questions came in at 17 liberal to 6 conservative, with the remainder ambiguous or neutral.
During Wednesday's debate, which began a bit past 8:00 p.m., the first subject tackled was illegal immigration. Three questions were asked from the right on the issue. One questioner charged that under Rudolph Giuliani's leadership, New York City was a sanctuary city, and asked if the former mayor would "aid and abet" illegal immigration as President. Another questioner requested that the candidates pledge to oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Then came the first question from the left in the form of an employer requesting more immigrants as guest workers to fill their demand for employees, followed by another question from the right challenging Mike Huckabee over his support for awarding in-state college tuition rates to some illegal immigrants in Arkansas.
Other questions asked from the right included three questions about cutting government spending, and two questions that pushed for either cutting taxes or resisting tax increases.
The issue of guns was the subject of three questions asked from an arguably conservative point of view, including one question that challenged Giuliani for his past support of gun control.
The subject soon turned to abortion, with one questioner asking if the candidates would support a federal law banning abortion, which could arguably be categorized as being posed from the right, with a second questioner asking about what penalty there should be for a woman who has an illegal abortion, a question most likely asked from a liberal point of view.
As the subject turned to religion, one questioner asked how Jesus would approach the death penalty, arguably an anti-death penalty question, while another asked candidates if they believed in the entire Bible, which seemed to come from a conservative point of view.
After about 9:20 p.m., as the debate turned toward foreign policy and military issues, more questions started to slant toward a liberal point of view. One questioner asked how America would repair its image with the Muslim world in the face of the Iraq war, while another questioner queried how most of the candidates could support waterboarding of terror suspects in the face of John McCain's opposition to the practice.
Then came the final question that was asked from a conservative point of view, as one man challenged the candidates to pledge commitment to a long-term U.S. military presence in Iraq.
Additional questions from the left included a question from an animated Dick Cheney wondering how much power each candidate would delegate to his Vice President, followed by two questions about gay rights.
The first gay rights question came from a retired Army general who, as already documented by the MRC's Matthew Balan, turned out to be affiliated with Hillary Clinton's campaign, which was brought to CNN host Anderson Cooper's attention by conservative commentator Bill Bennett about half an hour after the debate ended.
The last ideological question came as one questioner asked the candidates whether they would accept the endorsement of the Log Cabin Republicans.