WASHINGTON (CNN) - I am going to be hosting a Democratic presidential debate on Monday, January 21, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The CNN debate will be co-sponsored with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. Suzanne Malveaux and Joe Johns will be joining me in the questioning. All of us are really looking forward to this debate which coincides with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States.
It comes just before the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday, January 26. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards all have respective strengths and weaknesses in that state. Hopefully, we will be able to learn more about these three candidates during that forum, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. The two earlier Democratic debates I moderated – in New Hampshire in early June and in Nevada in November – included a lot more candidates. Several of them, as you know, have dropped out. This one should be more manageable.
There are so many questions all of us have about the candidates. I have my ideas, and am excited, but l really want to hear from you - I would love your input. Let me know what you would ask these Democratic candidates if you had the chance. This race for the White House is at a pivotal point for the Democrats and the Republicans. And the stakes for the nation are very high. Thanks in advance.
If you are elected, what would you do to protect small businesses, homes, and churches from the corporate use of eminent domain?
I thought Obama was claiming to represent "Change". Am I dreaming??
Most African Americans believe they are not able to strive in this copuntry or that they suffer injustice because they are black. That is the notion of the 'past'. This great country is a land of opportunity and any one who works hard despite minor bumps along the way is sure to succeed. Please ask Obama to stop playing the race card. I don't believe there is any right-thinking American who believes the Clintons are racists. Please check their records. If you cannot stand the heat..get out of the kitchen. And please ask Obama to stop his wife from speaking publicly
with so much anger and frustration. She is a potential first lady. She should know there is no second chance to make first impression. Thank you.
Here’s the question no one is talking about: What about Social Security?
The WW2 babies are beginning to draw Social Security now. This year the first wave of the post-war baby boomers will begin drawing Social Security. Every year from now on will see huge demands on the broken Social Security system.
No one is talking about Social Security. It’s about time someone did. How do you propose to ensure that funds will be available to meet the demands placed on the system over the next ten years.
What changes would you make for people contributing in the future?
Will you, as President, pardon George Bush after he leaves office??
What do you plan to do before and after the election to stop Bush's planned arms deal with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait? This is idiotic at the highest degree!
For Senator Edwards:
Do you believe that you have to be poor, or currently part of the middle class, to have concern about issues that affect the poor and the middle class?
Critics of your "Plan for One America" claim that a person like yourself, who has obtained wealth, cannot comprehend the issues that concern the poor and middle class.
As part of the middle class, I think that the Presidency requires an extraordinary person. I think that a person who worked their way up from meager beginnings, made a good living, has done service to the public,and is now running for President of the United States, could still understand the needs and desires of the poor and middle class.
What do you think?
Why are my question-entries still marked "awaiting moderation" (on my own screen, at least), ABOVE others that have been cleared already??
First, too many of these "questions" are attacks and accusations, geared to put Clinton and Obama on the defensive, which would only serve to encourage counter-attacks on each other. The DeMoines Register's Iowa debate was the most serious, least confrontational one, and generally respectful of the candidates and us, the audience. That should be the model.
Question: What personal qualities make you an excellent choice for this office? How does your life and career experience fit into the role?
Question: (catch them by surprise) What do you admire in your rivals, that you'd be happy to embody?
The 9/11 attacks were carried out by 19 men using box cutters.
For those of you currently operating at the federal level, I wonder how you sleep at night knowing that the most dominant military in history responded so impotently in getting after bin Laden.
More importantly, I wonder how you sleep knowing that, in what now can only be considered a military response for 9/11, approximately 4,000 U.S. troops are dead, and that our military action has caused the death of upwards of 60,000 Iraqi CIVILIANS, perhaps many times that.
After the massive loss of life, which ought to be our primary concern, comes the massive loss of money. Estimates are for 1 Trillion dollars in war spending.
I used to wake up every morning happy to be an American. I was proud of our country, I felt as we led the world in mostly positive ways. I still wake up happy to be an American, but much of that has to do with not being born and trying to raise a family in Iraq.
You have an opportunity to save lives and restore dignity to our country. What is your plan to do so?
I would like to know from each candidate what their stand is on offshoring of American jobs. Seems to me that offshoring (and also outsourcing) will: add to unemployment numbers; cause people to lose health plans; inhibit purchase power of middle-class Americans; under-utilize the skills and abilities of Americans whereas many must seek out employment beneath their skills and abilities just to pay the bills. I do not believe that the benefit (is there more than one?) of offshoring will outweigh the pain and distress that Americans endure as a result of it. Thank you.
We've all lost the equity in our homes, thanks to the unregulated Wild West of mortgage lending, followed by the Wall Street bundling that moved our wealth into the hands of foreign investors. Many of us were swindled into bad loans, and that has hurt us all. We no longer own our own homes, even if we did nothing wrong. What will each candidate do to restore our homes back to us? How will you help those who have been swindled by the industry restore their credit and good names?
I have heard so many comments on race and issue in the past couple of days. It is obviously a topic that most Americans can’t seem to let go. After all these years, it is still and underlying issue that makes headline news.
As a 34 year old bi-racial woman of color (asian and black), I understand Senator Obama’s decision to not make it part of his campaign. Interesting that we still use the old standby to characterize what race a person is supposed to be.
Bill Clinton was labeled the “first black president.” (I’m sorry, I didn’t realize someone did his genealogy and he was actually African-American? Or is that because he plays the sax? Has an office in Harlem? Cheated on Hillary? I didn’t know that qualifies one as “being black”.)
Senator Obama is now being labeled as the “first black presidential candidate.” (Somewhat insulting to us bi-racial folks who recognize both our mothers and our fathers as significant donors to our DNA.)
Senator Clinton is being labeled as the “first woman candidate.” (Does no one remember Shirley Chisholm?)
It would be almost too progressive for Americans to leave the race card at the bottom of the deck. Much like the Joker in the pile, leave it out!
My two questions:
Being that this debate will be televised on the day we honor and celebrate a true American leader and a true voice for change and hope (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.), how has each candidate embraced the idea of Dr. King’s “Dream” and what have they done personally or through their various positions to see that this dream becomes or remains a reality?
Economy is of concern to most Americans. We are in a recession. Some say headed toward a depression. My husband and I are hard working adults with children that would like to buy a home and send our kids to college and be able to save and retire and have access to good healthcare. We have had to hold out on our American dream because it is too costly and would leave us house poor. We were so close to buying in to the ARM mortgages 2 years ago, but held off because the payments were too scary. What will each candidate do to ensure Americans have access or a realistic path to their dreams?
Concerned citizen from SF, California
Robert, Gastonia, North Carolina January 11, 2008 4:33 pm ET
As a gay male, I would also be curious to know what their personal feelings are on homosexuality and gay rights. Also what do they plan to do in their presidency to support gays and lesbians and if they would do away with dont ask dont tell
Senator John Edwards, in his "Plan for One America" has pages on this very topic. He wants to do away with "don't ask, don't tell". He also wants to repeal laws preventing the possibility of gay marriage. That would return gay marriage to a state issue.
Edwards is definitely on top of these issues.
Would you please ask Obama, the uniter, why he thinks he inspires his supporters to negativity/divisiveness.
My name is Anil and am Indian Came here with work permit and living in Chicago. I am interested in politics and always follow up US politica in CNN and having following questions:
Candidates talking about CHAGE VS EXPERIANCE :
1)What's the chage means they are taking always? I mean to ask here are they will change the systems? if so, Could you please mention exact changes you would like to change(Ex: Econamy,Iraq war, Terrorism and Health care).
2)How would you change the system with out having the Expericance?
3) As per my K/W has a presiden for Great country should need to have big Experiance to ready to make a decision in any critical issues like Econamy and specially in Defense...etc (otherwise we will see more situations like IRAQ)
4) Current Econamy is going down day by day So how could you play good role without having good experiances for making critical decision?
Please ignore if I made any mistakes in my statements.
Since our oil dependence plays such a strong role in our foreign policy, would you be willing to publically committ to making this country oil independent in 10 years. And, if you do make the committment, how can the American people believe you since every President since Richard Nixon in l968 has made the same unkept committment.
Our Afghanistan soldiers are just as brave, and when they die, just as dead, as the soldiers we send to Iraq, yet we never hear about our Afghanistan strategy; why did we go, why are we still there, what are our goals, etc.
What is your strategy for Afghanistan? Are Iraq and Afghanistan policies automatically linked – if we pull out of/stay in Iraq, do we pull out/stay in Afghanistan?
What are the compelling reasons for staying? For leaving?
The Bush administration says we are in a war on terror, which is conveniently vague. The reality is we are fighting a war on two fronts, but we never hear anyone, democrat or republican, discuss the Afghani front, only the Iraqi front.
Please, discuss your views on Afghanistan.
I want the first woman President of the U.S.A. to get to the White House without having been First Lady. I'm not alone in this preference. Any assurances to offer us?
For Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama
Do any of you think it is a good idea for American citizens to be displaced / passed over for cheap labor from third world countries? Given proof there is no shortage of skilled, high tech workers evidenced by stagnant and falling wages, why then do you think it's good policy to raise the limits on foreign worker visas such as the H-1b, L-1 etc.
RECENTLY I RECEIVED AN EXTENSIVE SURVEY FROM THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE ASKING QUESTIONS 'ABOUT ISSUES IMPORTANT TO AMERICAN VOTERS'–WHY WAS THERE NO QUESTION ABOUT IMMIGRATION? INADVERTENT OR INTENTIONAL?
SINCE POLITICAL CANDIDATES AND OFFICE HOLDERS MUST BE FOCUSED ON, AND EXPERT AT, RAISING HUGE SUMS OF MONEY TO GET INTO, OR REMAIN IN, OFFICE, WHY ARE WE SURPRISED AT THE EXTENT OF CORRUPTION IN WASHINGTON BY THOSE WHO ARE SO MONEY ORIENTED?
HOW WOULD YOU STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM BEING SOLD-OUT TO BIG MONEY LOBBYISTS?
My question is for Dennis Kucinich.
I believe it's important for a President to show resiliency and courage. Dennis Kucinich, you have faced much adversity while growing up, such as poverty and a Mafia hit job being placed on you for not selling Cleavland's electric grid, (an act that ended up saving the city an estimated $195 million between 1985 and 1995). You still face many obstacles in your campaign for presidency. How do you find the courage and inspiration when all the odds seem so heavily stacked against you?
Obesity is one of the nations leading causes of heart disease and an ever growing epedemic yet people over a certain weight can't get health insurance. My 3 year old daughter has a condition that requires her to get MRIs every year but due to a career change and new insurance coverage her condition is considered pre-existing and will not be covered by insurance. What do the candidates plan to do about the increasing cost of health care and health insurance and will they address the issues limited coverage from the health insurance companies?
According to the American Public Transportation Association, 60 million Americans living in rural communites are completely isolated due to lack of access to public transportation systems. This is especially difficult for aging and low income Americans who either can't drive or don't have access to a vehicle. As president, would you back legislation that would provide federal support to states wishing to expand public transportation into rural areas?
As I write this question, my 5 year old daughter and 5 month old son are asleep, feeling safe in their home. But their future as Americans is not safe. Not because of terrorists, but because right now, as they sleep, they each already owe over $30,000 as their share of the National Debt. My daughter has $27 in her savings account.
I love my country. I hate that callous politicians have endangered my children's future and I feel powerless to do anything about it. One of you will have that power if elected President.
Specifically, what will you do to get rid of the debt, or even just the deficit, by the end of your presidency?