January 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Blitzer: What would you ask the Democrats in South Carolina?

 Weigh in on the South Carolina Democratic debate.
Weigh in on the South Carolina Democratic debate.

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.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: South Carolina • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (2,911 Responses)
  1. WEST HELENA ARKANSAS

    i would like to ask Hillary what experience did Bill clinton had in forgien policy before he became president, i remember he was only the gov. of Arkansas and he did not have to dell with anything unless it contain the state of ark. and he became president. he was a outside comming to washington.

    January 16, 2008 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  2. Patrick Schoettmer

    For Clinton:

    I think the experience question is a good one, though her high negatives are also something that Democrats have anxiety about. I'd ask:

    "Given that you have held elected office for a shorter period of time than Sen Obama, did not, according to the NTY, hold a security clearance, did not attend meetings of the National Security Council, and was not given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing, and have comparable professional experience to Sen Obama (teaching, advocacy, law practice), how do you explain the claim that you are the more experienced candidate?"

    Either that or:

    "It has been suggested by numerous 'Red State' Democrats that Sen Obama would be far more electable in their states than you would be, owing in no small part to your divisiveness and relative lack of support among non-Democrats. Assuming you win the Democratic nomination, how would you overcome the high negative opinion rating you have in virtually all polls?"

    For Obama, questions about judgement might be good:

    "Given that one of your hallmark calling cards is your good judgement, how do you explain the poor judgement you have apparently shown in your dealings with Tony Rezko?"

    January 16, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  3. Tani

    For all the candidates:

    Our money supply is measured by M1 and M2. M3 is no longer being used. Would you continue this Bush Administration policy? Specifically, what do you think the M3 would have told us if it had not been terminated?

    What would you do to more fairly measure inflation since it now is being manipulated to reflect a lower number than if the real cost of fuel and food were included?

    January 16, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  4. Andrew

    Ask all of them, if (heaven forbid) their life were to end tomorrow, name one thing for which they would want to be remembered.

    January 16, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Judy Stage

    To Hillary Clinton: Mitt Romney has put the plight of the state of Michigan on the national scene with promises to help if he is elected. Out unemployment rate is 7.4% and our small businesses are drowning as well is the auto industry.
    What would you do, as president, to understand the urgency of this states depressed economy and give us the federal help that we need.

    Judy Stage
    Brooklyn/ MI

    January 16, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Maxwell Oteng

    Given that none of the candidates has ever been President of the country, and given that even having been a president doesn't necessarily mean that one will be a good president in a different time requiring a different leadership – for instance George Bush first term experience hasn't necessarily made him a great President in his second term – what does "experience" mean in these campaigns? Don't such leadership qualities as judgement, temparament, bringing people together, inspiring people for a common purpose are more important for the presidency?

    January 16, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  7. kb in nj

    I would ask them what they intend to do about the autism epidemic in this country. I would ask them if they would pass a law forbidding the use of mercury and other known toxins in vaccines. I would ask them if they would make it the governments responsibility to check that this is done. (Right now the pharmaceutical companies are on the honor system to check their own vaccine batches that they claim are mercury free to make sure the mercury was really processed out of it!) I would also ask which candidates have accepted money for their campaigns from pharmaceutical companies.

    January 16, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Kathy

    FOR HILLARY

    It seems that your comment concerning Dr. King drew lots of fire. You responded by stating that Dr. King was one of the persons that you really admire. You indicated that the difference between he and Senator Obama was that he organized marches, went to jail and made speeches. If he had lived and run for president would you have voted for him and do you think he would have made a good president?

    January 16, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. D

    Wolf,

    On last nights debate, Barack was asked if he is a Muslim. We all know that the answer is no, he is a Christian.

    The CORRECT questions is were you ever a Muslim.

    The truthful answer to this question points to integrity, and, lets not forget our present relations with the Middle East. Radical Islamists would consider him an Apostate, and execute him, if he converted. Given this radical belief, what does this say about him becoming President of the US? Can you see the implications?

    So, rather than ask him if he is Muslim, I hope somebody has the nerve to ask him if he is a converted Muslim – big difference.

    January 16, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. patricia

    two questions:

    1.) autisim and other developmental disabilities are occurring at alarming rates in this country. what is/ do you have a plan to help those children and adults who are in need of services in the school, assistance with employment and other services to live independently? right now, adults with disabilities are seeing alarming cuts in services that not only impact their lives, but the lives of their families as well.

    2.) change is a word being thrown around alot lately. what kind of change are you talking about and can it be done without further amending the constituion?

    January 16, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Deborah, Maryland

    For all candidates:

    I would like to know whether you have concluded that autism is a purely genetic disorder and whether you think that the US government should continue to ignore the role of environmental factors and vaccines as possible causes of autism?

    Thank you.

    January 16, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Martin Storie

    Wolf

    Please ask the three leading candidates Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, in that order what they will do to secure our borders and deal with the 12 to 20 millon
    illegal aliens now in this country.

    Mart

    January 16, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. Bill R

    Wolf, I'd really like you to ask Hillary Clinton a very important question. She has touted her 35 years of "experience" and has attempted to dwarf Obama's experience in the state legislature of Illinois. I would like you to ask her if she thinks Obama's experience at the state level in the legislature and as a community organizer is not important enough, then why was her husband's experience as a Governor (obviously at the state level) any different?

    Thanks Wolf

    January 16, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Capt Robt.

    My question, Why am I taxed on my refund?

    I just received a1099-G for my refund I received from my 2006 taxes, I guess to remind me to add this total to my gross income for 2007.
    But I could of not overpaid and I would of come out ahead. I could of put it in a saving account, but instead I wanted to stimulate the economy and I spent it, all of it.
    What if i underpaid taxes and could of just written a check to the govt. But instead I ovepaid and now I have a refund and thank you for the reminder by sending me a 1099.

    January 16, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  15. Teresa , Pawleys Island South Carolina

    I would like to ask all of the candidates the following:

    You are all running on strong opinions and plans on helping improve our environment by using alternative energy sources. Some of you have one or more large homes. How have you made your homes more energy efficient?

    January 16, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  16. Phyl

    I have been disabled for fifteen years with, first, a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and now Chronic Lyme Disease.

    Research into both these illnesses is given devastatingly inadequate funding by the government, despite the fact that over a million people in our nation are disabled by these illnesses.

    Studies have shown that finding a cure for these disabling conditions would be far less expensive than is the current cost to our national economy of allowing these disabled people to remain unable to work.

    After President Bush's recent veto, lawmakers voted to allow research funding for the Center for Disease Control and NIH to fall BELOW inflation.

    I would love to know what the candidates plan to do about funding for research at the CDC and NIH, especially for chronic, neglected conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Lyme Disease.

    January 16, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. John in Ohio

    Would like to know if anyone of them ,will right a wrong ,by planning on setting the two border patrol agents free from prison ?

    January 16, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Anthony

    Mrs. Clinton,

    Can you please clear up for all of your supporters how you are not going to be influenced by all of the lobbyist who give you money. I do not believe you have ever answered that question. Please Please Please Wolf ask her this question! We deserve an answer!

    January 16, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  19. Andy Woerner

    Why should Bill Clinton's vote be worth 20,000 times more than the average American?

    On behalf of the people, please ask this question,

    Today Bill Clinton made a comment in Nevada that this was a "one man, one vote country". Why then is his own (superdelegate) vote worth 20,000 of our votes??

    I've been working hard to get this information to the front lines... but to no avail. Bill Clinton's comment to you today is begging for a response from an average voter like me.

    Most Americans don't realize that political insiders (like Bill Clinton.. most politicians) control a whopping 40% of the delegates that are needed to win the democratic nomination.

    Although Obama and Edwards have made a great step by refusing lobbyist money in the election, none of them have addressed this issue.

    Please help put a spot light on this issue.

    Thanks,
    Andy Woerner
    Kailua-Kona

    January 16, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. David (Burbank, CA)

    To all candidates: As President, what if any changes would you try to make to the Alternative Minimum Tax.

    January 16, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. Wendy

    my question would be to Barack:

    He is the only candidate who is not for universal healthcare, i would like to know what he would do for people like me who have a serious illness (lupus), because i went through a period where i was uninsured, insurance will not cover any illness i have that relates to this disease because it is a "preexisting condition". his plan of making healthcare more affordable makes no difference to me because i can afford healthcare, but that healthcare would not help me when i needed it to.

    January 16, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  22. David (Burbank, CA)

    To all candidates:

    As President, what if any changes would you try to make to the Alternative Minimum Tax? Do you consider this tax to be fair considering that those of us living in states with higher state taxes and higher property taxes (as a result of higher average home prices), like California, are more likely to be affected by the AMT and therefore more likely to pay higher federal taxes?

    January 17, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  23. Chris M

    There are emails and blog posts flooding the Internet about Obama’s background. There are many scared people here in South Carolina that are worried that our next president might be Muslim and will take his oath of office on the Koran. One of the founding principles of this country is the freedom of religion. It is important that we all are tolerant of other individuals and their religions or lack there of. His religious affiliation does not bother me as long as he was not a part of radical Islam (which he doesn’t seem to be). The other night in the NBC debate, he professed his Christianity and took his oath on the Holy Bible.

    What bothers me and MOST of the people with whom I talk about these issues is the third of the rumors in the emails. This rumor is the one that Mr. Obama will not pledge his allegiance. In the debate, he quickly stated that he says the Pledge of Allegiance. There are, however, pictures of him without his hand over his heart during the National Anthem and articles about his views of the Pledge of Allegiance. I would like a full explanation of his views of the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. After all, a person aspiring to attain the highest job in this country should ABSOLUTELY not hesitate to pledge allegiance to the country and its flag (a symbol of the country and not an idol of the country), nor should the person ignore the cultural gestures during the national anthem.

    January 17, 2008 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  24. Bart

    Would any of you support increasing the NASA budget to 1 percent of the total federal budget in order to hasten the development of the Ares/Orion vehicles and meet our pressing space science needs?

    January 17, 2008 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  25. Charles

    I would ask the candidates whether they planned to restore reasonable balance to NASA's activities, particularly whether they would undo the gutting of aeronautics research that began under Clinton and accelerated under Bush.

    January 17, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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