CNN Debate: What Fonda, Cuban, Nye, Stone, Jillette and Patterson want to ask

If you could pose a question to the Republican candidates at the CNN Republican debate on Wednesday night, what would you ask? We asked a range of celebrities, writers, political thinkers and other newsmakers to give us their best shot — and they delivered a raft of queries on issues like education, equal rights for women, gun violence, reining in the stock market and fixing immigration.

Feel inspired to ask your own question? You can a post your questions to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with #CNNDebate or submit it here to CNNPolitics.

Jane Fonda, actor, activist

“Almost 100 years after women secured the right to vote in 1920 through the 19th Amendment, we still do not have equal rights under the Constitution. My question for the GOP candidates: Do you support the Equal Rights Amendment?”

Stephen King, novelist

“If it’s OK to register cars and license drivers, why is it not OK to impose similar legal responsibilities on gun owners?”

Gary Bauer, former GOP presidential candidate; president of American Values

“Putin is flexing his muscles in Ukraine and Syria. Russian bombers challenge U.S. airspace. Chinese warships recently approached Alaska. The Middle East is unraveling. Iran is promising a second Holocaust and arming Hezbollah. As president you will inherit a shrinking military and face severe restraints on defense spending. What will you do as commander-in-chief to convince the world’s dictators that the Obama era is over and that America will return to a robust Reaganesque policy of peace through strength?”

Russell Simmons, hip-hop impresario, philanthropist

“A large portion of American citizens, especially people of color, have lost confidence in our criminal justice system. Many have called for appointing special prosecutors when a police officer kills or injures a civilian. If you were elected president, would you publicly support special prosecutors in these cases and what is one other thing you would do to fix our broken justice system?”

Susan Sarandon, actor, activist

“Given that this March, the World Health Organization announced that the main chemical in Monsanto’s Roundup is probably carcinogenic to humans, and given that Roundup is still sprayed on corn and soy grown in this country, what is your stance on regulating the use of the herbicide to ensure it’s not giving Americans cancer?”

Jose Antonio Vargas, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and founder of of Define American and #EmergingUS

“Several candidates have said part of their immigration plan would include stripping the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to end birthright citizenship. My question is, why should voters not be concerned that such a casual approach to disregarding the nation’s supreme law would extend past anti-immigrant sentiment and on to any other portion you chose, such as the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms? How can you justify picking and choosing which parts of the Constitution will remain intact under your presidency?”

David Gergen, senior political analyst for CNN, served as an adviser to four U.S. presidents

“What are the top three specific changes you would make to create middle-class jobs?”

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur and Mavericks owner

“The confidence in our stock markets has fallen over the last 20 years. With algorithmic trading, flash crashes, market corrections and more, no one seems to trust or understand our markets. But with zero interest rates on savings accounts, the stock market is the only way to save enough for the future, whether it be retirement, college or a down payment on a house. Do you trust our stock markets and, if so, why, and if not, how would you fix them?”

Bill Nye, “Science Guy”, TV host, scientist, author, chief executive of the Planetary Society

“What steps would your administration take to address climate change? What will be your renewable energy policies? How will you handle people displaced by rising sea levels along our coasts?”

Robert Duvall, actor

“I would like to ask each of you: Would you be in favor of some kind of education on birth control and if so, how would you use that as a possible solution to the ever present question of abortion.”

Sharon Stone, actor, activist

“Our nation is faced with all manner of heartbreak and chaos that needs our urgent attention, so why are many of you focused on reopening resolved issues like a woman’s right to choose, the reality of Obamacare as law and America’s longstanding tradition on immigration? My question: If you must go back into these issues, what will you do to resolve the new problems caused by the destruction of settled law and on-the-ground reality? Please pick one of these issues and answer specifically.”

Leroy Chiao, former astronaut

“The U.S. and Russia have been working together on a civil space program, the highly visible International Space Station (ISS). Russia and our European partners have publicly voiced support for bringing China into the program partnership for ISS and for future space exploration. This would not only benefit the partnership in hardware and knowhow, but could improve the participating nations’ overall relationship. What is your position on this?”

James Patterson, author

“A play on President Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign slogan ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ might be ‘The future of the economy is education, stupid.’ Why are most candidates talking about nothing but the Common Core? What are some pragmatic ideas of yours to fix education in our country? Or, do you feel it ain’t broken?”

David Frum, senior editor at the Atlantic, speechwriter for President George W. Bush

“Please describe the most recent case when somebody other than your spouse brought you bad news about something you had done in your public life. What was the news? Who told you? And how did you correct the situation?”

Penn Jillette, writer, TV host, half of the magic act duo Penn & Teller

“1. Should the government get out of the business of legally sanctioning marriages, and instead just enforce the contracts that people enter into with each other, or with their churches/religious institutions?

“2. If the person you think would be your best vice president reveals to you in private that he or she is an atheist, would you encourage him or her to lie, to come out, or would you find another candidate?”

Tina Brown, writer and media entrepreneur

“I want to hear about what your Cabinet would look like. Donald Trump has said, for example, Carl Icahn will negotiate with China and Japan, and that Sarah Palin would be at the Department of Energy. What would your Cabinet look like, who would you choose and for what reason?”

William Kristol, editor of the conservative The Weekly Standard

“These days even hawkish candidates are quick to say, ‘Of course we can’t be the world’s policeman. …’ Well, why not? Aren’t we seeing the consequences, in the Middle East and now in Europe, of shying away from that role? Won’t the world be safer, and friendlier to U.S. interests and principles if friend and foe alike think we’re just a phone call away?”

Tony Robbins, author, motivational speaker

“It’s easy for presidential candidates to talk in a commanding way about legislation and policy changes that they will implement to make America better, but we all know implementing those changes as president hits a very hard reality in today’s demonized political environment. Why are you the best person on this stage to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress to actually advance your agenda and how, specifically, will you manage these relationships as president?”

Kathy Griffin, comedian, TV host

“For Donald Trump: I know you are against the Iran nuclear deal. I’m curious to know if you can name the negotiators who were at the table working out the deal, other than John Kerry. Can you name 10? Five? Four?

“For Dr. Ben Carson: Can you name three ways the Republican Party has helped the African-American community in your lifetime?”

Felix Sanchez, chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts

“According to Lieutenant Commander Nate Christensen, a Department of Defense spokesman, Hispanics currently comprise 11.4 percent of the active-duty military forces (more than 157,000 people). Forbes reports that Latinos comprise 9.61 % of cadets at West Point. Historically, U.S. Latinos have served in the U.S. Armed Forces with distinction. Many immigration reform proposals provide a path to citizenship after serving in the military. Do you support undocumented immigrants serving in the U.S. military to earn their U.S. citizenship?”

Katie Lee, cookbook author, celebrity chef

“Given the demonstrated role of rebel groups like the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Janjaweed in the illegal ivory trade across central Africa, what would you do as president to help secure the region from criminal poaching syndicates?”

Fred Willard, comedian, actor

“President Ronald Reagan said, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’ Why would the U.S. build one?”

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