Question 6

Does executive privilege cover testimony or documents about decision-making within the executive branch not involving confidential advice communicated to the president himself?

Barack Obama

With respect to the “core” of executive privilege, the Supreme Court has not resolved this question, and reasonable people have debated it. My view is that executive privilege generally depends on the involvement of the President and the White House.

Hillary Clinton

I fundamentally believe that our constitutional system depends upon each branch striving to accommodate the interests of the other, and the President should seek to accommodate legitimate congressional requests for information. I also believe in an open transparent government that fulfills its obligation to share as much information as possible with the public. But it is settled law that certain limited "communications made by presidential advisors in the course of preparing advice for the President, come under the presidential communications privilege, even when these communications are not made directly to the President."

John Edwards

I support the constitutional separation of powers and the doctrine of executive privilege, as guided by judicial review. Unlike the current president, however, I will not invoke executive privilege merely to advance partisan ends.

Bill Richardson

Privilege may extend to the Senior Staff in rare cases where frank and open discussion happens prior to advising the President. Other than that-no.

Christopher Dodd


Joseph Biden

No. The Executive Privilege only covers communications between the President and his advisors. Even when the privilege does apply, it is not absolute; it may be outweighed by the public’s interest in the fair administration of justice.

John McCain

Yes, the law recognizes a “deliberative process” type of executive privilege that is broader than direct communications to the President. So while we should not do anything to inhibit the communications between a president and his advisers, as President I will do my utmost to accommodate Congressional requests for information.

Mitt Romney

Courts have recognized that there is a valid need for protecting communications among high government officials and those who advise and assist them. Before invoking the privilege, a President should carefully weigh, among other factors, the interest in disclosure and the interest in preserving the confidentiality of deliberations and advice in the Executive Branch. As an institutional matter, the President must also protect the prerogatives of his Office for future presidents.

Ron Paul

No I want to make sure I understand it. Personal papers would be exempt. I would argue for and make sure an administration would be very, very open.

Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani declined to answer this question.

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee declined to answer this question.

Fred Thompson

Thompson declined to answer this question.