It is interesting to read Dan Greenberg's comments on Science Debate 2008, proposed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences, the Council on Competitiveness, to name just a few of the more noteable backers. Both Clinton and Obama said they couldn't fit this into their schedules, though they will attend a “compassion forum” where they will discuss “policy and moral values.”
Greenberg sees the Science Debate idea as a thinly veiled appeal for more science funding without a lot of explanation about why taxpayer funds should be diverted to it from other uses. One of this comments: "For added measure, the appeals are braced with alarmist warnings of threats to American leadership in science from China, Russia, Brazil, etc. Yet to be explained is why the U.S. should fear a cancer cure from abroad."