November 11th, 2007
07:43 PM ET
12 years ago

Democratic presidential candidates will debate on MLK Day

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Congressional Black Caucus Political Education & Leadership Institute will announce Monday that its Democratic Presidential Debate will be held January 21, the nationally recognized holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr.

The event will be broadcast live from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, by CNN, CNN International, CNN Radio, and the network’s other platforms.

“It is fitting this final South Carolina Democratic Presidential debate will take place on the day South Carolina and the nation honor Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina. “South Carolina’s primary will be the first test of the candidates in a state where nearly half of the Democratic primary voters could be African Americans.”

The debate will be held in the evening at the Palace Theater – five days before South Carolina Democrats are expected to hold their primary.

“What better tribute to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. than to host such an important educational event on the day we celebrate his birthday,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, who serves as chair of the CBC Institute. “This debate truly reflects Dr. King’s dreams and ideals.”

The Democratic National Committee designated South Carolina as one of only four states that would be allowed to hold a presidential nominating contest before February 5, 2008. South Carolina is scheduled to holds it’s primary January 29, but has asked the DNC to move the date to January 26. The DNC is expected to approve this request soon.

South Carolina Democrats decided to move its nominating contest three days earlier because Florida is disregarding DNC rules and will hold its presidential primary January 29. Even though the DNC has stripped the Florida Democratic Party of its delegates, the South Carolina Democratic Party wanted to make sure its primary was not overshadowed by the contest in the Sunshine State. The Republican National Committee has also penalized the Republican Party of Florida half of its delegates for disobeying its own February 5 rule for holding the GOP presidential primary January 29.

While official invitations have not been issued, two of the Democratic frontrunners, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, have made previous statements committing to attend the CBC Institute debate.

- CNN Political Editor Mark Preston

soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Mike Nakagita, Green Bay, Wisconsin

    Martin Luther King had a dream for America. None of the current candidates do. Who will stand up to take forward that legacy.

    November 11, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |

    “What better tribute to the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. than to host such an important educational event on the day we celebrate his birthday,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Mississippi, who serves as chair of the CBC Institute. “This debate truly reflects Dr. King’s dreams and ideals.”

    ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR FREAKING MINDS? THIS IS WHAT DR. KING MEANT WHEN HE SAID "Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair."



    November 12, 2007 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  3. Jerry,worcester,ma

    This is great to honor one of the great heros of freedom, from voting rights for minority to women...It shows how well we are adjusting to accept our great heroes from our military servicemen to freedom fighters.
    God bless America!

    November 12, 2007 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. Darrel @Lone Rock Iowal

    The Congressional "Black" Caucus"???

    This is the USA / Man this is AMERICA

    To try to get along and not be racist try it this way

    The Congressional American Caucus??
    This is inclusive and Not EXclusive.

    Jessie J and Al S might not agree and be rebel rousers/ But rest of America would like the UNITED approach. The Almighty loves us all equally/ reguardless of our skin color.

    November 12, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  5. aj huntington ny

    There's been and continues to be too many debates ! I can't keep them all straight

    November 12, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. Salita

    Yes it is called the Congression Black caucus....AND?

    It is a great way to honor Dr King. The haters will hate no matter what day or what venue the Dems choose. Carry on!

    In less than a yrs time America shall overcome the bad policies of this administration.

    November 12, 2007 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  7. ronnie - knoxvill,e tn

    Could there be a Congressional White Caucus, too? Just askin'...

    November 12, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. VanReuter NY NY

    As a Hillary supporter I want to know:

    – Is Obama really black enough to attend this debate?

    – Will Obama remember to put his hand over his heart when saying the Pledge of Allegiance or does he feel this is just "optional"??

    – Is Obama and Edwards going to continue attacking Hillary with direct questions, expecting her to give a direct answer??


    November 12, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. slinkymalinky

    They have no shame..

    November 12, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  10. RuthieM

    To the Hillary supporter who wanted to know if Barack Obama is black enough to attend this debate. Obama's black. The real question is - Is Hillary black enough to attend this debate? No.

    November 13, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  11. chris, Washington, DC

    Ronnie mentioned that there should be a Congressional "White" Caucus. There is a Congressional White Caucus, it's call the rest of "Congress."

    November 16, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Cecilia

    It is disgusting to see what the Clinton Campaign is doing in an effort to win back the white house. The country has real issues. HELLO!!!! Wake up! In tears she said "I just don't want to see us go backwards" and now she is taking us back to the civil rights riots of the 1960s???? Are you kidding Hillary? You will not only lose in Las Vegas and South Carolina, you may well lose in NYC which will not tolerate your racist, biased power play. Barack Obhama has been honest and straight forward from the start about his background and only a Clinton Machine as Tim Russet says could turn that into a negative. Unless you want the next President to be a Republician, stop fighting each other and fight for us! I have never been so angry at the Democractic party for tolerating this as I am now.

    January 14, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. Kelli in Myrtle Beach

    In defense of Hillary Clinton, I wish people would review what was actually said and by whom, and how it was compounded by the media. All candidates for the Democratic party have always stood by the people, all of the people. The Republicans have stood by the corporations who are caught up in the greed machine, no matter how many of "the people" it hurts. Let's lower the rhetoric and give credit where credit is due and call out those who have soooooo damaged our country.

    We are in such trouble on every front that we need the best qualified person on the ticket. We need a person who has been there, has the contacts, ran the country in a positive direction during office (even as they were blasted from the "right".) Think about what they could accomplish with all they know now, and with a majority in the House and Senate. We can't have roadblocks (which we've seen since last November) with too many Republicans still halting progress.

    If someone is willing to step into this mess and try to fix it – heaven help them and they'll have my support all the way.

    January 16, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. Pam

    How do you get tickets to the debate??????????????

    January 16, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  15. Anita

    Is this really representative of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr? That the media has had a huge roll in selecting who is a "viable" candidate. Will this be another Edwards,Clinton,Obama, only campaign. Or will the American people be able to hear a real democrat debate. Where is Dennis Kucinich? About a month ago I saw him on the SCBD website. Now there are no longer pictures of him. How much money did CNN give to the SCBC campaign to shut out Kucinich again. The only reason he is not in these debates is because he is for singe-payer (not for profit healthcare. The only one who is going to end the war in Iraq. The only one who is for a WGP. Taking care of our environment. Take back the constitution. The other candidates shouldn't be in the Democratic party. They never talk about real democratic issues. Issues that support the real democratic public. So let's see if CNN will be like the other stations.
    Now remember there are four Democratic Candidates running:

    DENNIS KUCINICH, Edwards, Obama, and Clinton.
    People do your research on all these candidates. Then make your choice.

    January 18, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Diana

    The networks who broadcast the debate should not be deciding which candidates will be allowed to participate. The public has a right to hear any candidate who will be on the ballot. No one should censor or determine for anyone else who a "viable" candidate is. The networks have a responsibility to use the public airwaves to serve the public's interest.

    In a debate you should hear a variety of opinions from all the candidates. The American people have a vote, not corporations, organizations or networks.

    Be true journalists and let Kucinich participate. You may even have something interesting to report afterward.

    January 20, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. jerry a. Myers

    ON MLK day the Congressional Black Caucus is in no position to hold
    of the educaional issue. I have put forth the far deeper advancement in
    mathematical technology to the CBC, yet their concern for the hottest
    areas of space science and defense is at a zero level. WHY is the
    most deepest levels of mathematical and physics technology being studied
    by o% of African americans. THIS issue is strongly ignored by the CBC.
    Would MLK ignore this topic?

    January 20, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  18. jerry a. Myers

    I would like be 100% behind the CBC debate forum, but their record on
    exposing the latest in mathematical and physics hottest areas of space,
    defense and atomic technology to the African American Community, is very
    dismal.WILL the Presidential candidates be allowed to address why black
    folks are o% of the far deeper technlogical areas of mathematics and
    science, an how will they help reverse this trend.Would MLK like this topic
    being burried by the CBC.

    January 21, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  19. minkyadoo

    Senator Obama is the Dream of Dr. Martin Luther King. When I was growing up we were always reminded that you have to work twice as hard as your white associates. Looks like Obama has to work twice as hard he is running against Bill and Hiliary.
    I hope that CBC will bring up the issues of Forclosures and Minorities.

    In addition it would be a interesting to find out what kind of experience does the Senator H. Clinton have that Black folks are so split on.

    On foreigin issue I would like to hear what candidate will continue to enormous support to the jewish nation that continues to suppress the palenstine people.

    I am looking forward to seeing a lively debate with radically different questions.

    January 21, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. LeRoy Mace

    When i think about change it is about changing the status quo of attack politics to that of unity. Some people may understand that the change slogan started with Barack Obama, a message so powerful that the other demarcates as well as the republicans adopted the slogan. To put down another candidate for the purpose of highlighting oneself is the political tyranny that Barack stands against. As we come together as a people we hopefully would have the audacity to not continue business as usual. Any Presidential candidates that feels the need to incorporate division in any way should abandon that agenda. Any candidate that does not actively and contentiously seek to avoid this method of politics will clearly further push the efforts to separate us. We have waited for the opportunity to vote for a person that not only stands for change but also is the evidence of that hope that Dr. Martin Luther King died for. I am the voice that is the recipient of inequality, injustice and division. I am that unheard intellectual that possesses all of the dreams deferred and my heart cries for pain to give birth. I am the voice of the uneducated African American male. Can the children of slave owners and non-blacks stand for that change. Can the children of slave masters have the hope for the long awaited change that most of us have become weary of. Can it be revived in the "08" campaign for the first African American president of the United States of America? I have the audacity to hope.

    January 21, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |