One of the many ways they accomplish this is by asking candidates - especially presidential candidates - provocative questions; usually such questions are aimed at uncovering a candidate's personal opinion on a subject. Oh, the subject could be on abortion, illegal immigration, socialism, capitalism, women's rights, minority rights, and a wide range of other such.
Rather than treating such questions as the traps they are, the candidates actually try and answer the questions. Sometimes candidates give rather honest answers. More often than not the candidates offer responses that may be construed any number of ways so as to provide cover should their answer prove problematic.
I have never heard any candidate answer per the oath they will take as President:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."
A candidate's, any candidate's, personal opinion may be of entertainment interest to some. However, their personal opinion has no place in "executing the office of President of the United States".
The President's job is to execute the laws of our nation - not for a select few, but for all citizens of this Nation. The President does not have the luxury of determining which laws are to be enforced and which ones are not. The President does not have the luxury of making laws; he or she does have the responsibility of ensuring laws on the "books" are followed.
If the above seems not to be familiar with actions of current events, please refer to the US Constitution, Article II, Section 2:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein other- wise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.
Those are the Presidential powers as stated in our Constitution - the only ones.
So, let's take an example of a provocative question:
"What are your views on late term abortions?"
Proper Answer (not yet head from any candidate):
"While you may find my personal opinion on that subject to your liking or not, my personal opinion is irrelevant. As President of the United States my job is to uphold the US Constituion which includes the enforcement of all laws opinioned by the Surpreme Court as Constitutional. Currently, 'Roe vs. Wade' is the law of the land on that issue. Until that law is repealed or modified by Congress, I will ensure that it is followed to the letter. Next question."
People who run for the Presidency are not stupid or ignorant. So, it is puzzling to me why someone - anyone - does not reply as in the above example.