Republican Debate Preview

CNN’s Larry King will moderate the Feb. 15 Republican presidential debate. What will Larry ask the candidates? Campaign staffs can prep by scanning questions posed during the past few months in Larry’s “News & Views” column, which appears every Monday in USA Today (click here to read today’s column; to search for earlier columns, click here, scroll down, and where you see “writer,” type in “Larry King”). Herewith, a sampler of what’s on Larry’s mind (none of these is made up):

1. “Every candidate always announces the formation of an exploratory committee. We never again hear about this committee. Who serves on it, what does it explore, is this a façade?”

2. “How can anyone say racial problems are over in this country if a black person has trouble getting a cab in New York City? Shame, shame, shame.”

3. “I’m putting together a list of things that annoy me. So far, at the top is: How do you close a cereal package securely once you open it?”

4. “OK, here’s the situation: The Mets were playing the Braves. Ted Turner was best man at my wedding and is a dear friend. He also is my boss. He and his Time Warner pals also own the Atlanta Braves, which means, as a prominent stockholder, I am technically part owner.

I know and like most of the members of that outstanding team. Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon and I went through school together at Lafayette High in Brooklyn. I know and deeply like most of the members of this incredible Mets team.

Bobby Valentine, their manager, is another dear friend. What to do, what to do? How can I root for both teams?”

5. “About $9 million spent, and we get former Housing and Urban Development secretary Henry Cisneros on a misdemeanor charge. Boy, that was worth it, wasn’t it?”

6. “Does any television show have more consistently great writing than ABC’s The Practice?”

7. “It may not happen, but wouldn’t it be interesting if we had a World Series between Texas and Arizona?”

8. “Why on earth is Robert Downey Jr. in jail? The man has a serious problem that affects him and those who love him. What menace is he to society? People like Downey need treatment, not punishment. My God, it’s 1999!”

9. “Is it just me or is Leeza Gibbons getting prettier as she gets older?”

10. “And, by the way, will someone admit that in the area of foreign policy–just looking at Haiti, Bosnia, Ireland, Kosovo–this president ain’t done badly?”

11. “Eating crow: Remember all the sports pundits who were questioning why Cal Ripken was continuing with his career after a back injury and the death of his father?”

12. “Do people use their auto signal lights anymore?”

13. “Quick annoyance: The plane sits on the runway for half an hour, and the pilot says absolutely nothing. Speak to us! What’s going on?”