January 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
3 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. Linda Pacifica

    To be honest, the only two candidates that I believe will make change are Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton. The others are cookie cutter empty promises with no real direction or plan.

    January 11, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. Mary

    I get disappointed to turn the TV everyday and hear about Mrs Clinton's voice and Mr Obama's race; I would like to ask you Mr Blitzer why don't you take more time to discuss the issues that matter most to the American people?

    January 11, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Mark Dennis

    I want to know why the Dems don't come up with someone that might be able to win the general election. I will support and vote for who wins the nomination, my favorites are Edwards, Obama, Clinton. But, only an idiot would think that a woman or a black man can win in this country, especially the south. I've always heard that you have to win the south to win the country. I hate to admit it but we are to brainwashed by the old guard and the southern preachers down here to ever vote for Clinton or Obama.

    January 11, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  4. mitch

    Mr. Blitzer,
    I have watched your show for many years. I think it is outstanding and I also thank you for opportunity to relay a question to Senator Obama, Senator Clinton and former Senator Edwards.

    Senators:
    I want one of you to win the General Election. I am disgusted by the corruption, the malfeasance, and the economic mismangement of the Republic (they refuse to say Democratic Party) Party and of course the incredible waste of American lives and money in the War On Iraq.

    Can you tell me how you will manage to receive the electoral college votes to win the Presidency? The Republic Party has had their Southern Strategy for years. You are all professional politicians. What general election strategy will you be using if you get the Democratic Party nomination? How can you assure me that you will win the general election.

    January 11, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Dara Kramer

    I would like a clear definition of each candidate's plan for K-12 education. They always speak in platitudes, never giving specific ideas. As a teacher, I want to know which candidate genuinely cares about the future of our profession and our students. So, the question would be:

    What is your specific plan to improve K-12 education across the country?

    January 11, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Wes Murry

    Dear Wolf,

    I am republican who for the first time will be voting Democrat in the next election. The two topics of greatest concern to me are health care and social security and I have questions for both.

    On social security, shouldn’t we just end the system all together? I am 29 and most of the people I know my age and younger assume that social security won’t exist when we need it. So why not just end it now. My generation and the generation younger than me can continue to pay into social security until those who are on it die. We can pick a birth year to end it. I was born in 1978 and I’ll be generous and propose 1979. If we need to recreate a system, we can then do so in such a way that it doesn’t run a deficit. The current proposals by all candidates are band aids which eventually will be replaced by a new administration or reapplied at a later date.

    On health care, don’t we need to blow-up the system? The proposals provided by the candidates attempts to eliminate the uninsured population and I support that. But the policies don’t full address the broken system. Currently we have a quasi public/private health care system that is so poorly designed it’s laughable. Think about this. A certain percentage of every tax dollar we contribute to Medicare ends up going into the profits of healthcare providers, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical companies. You don’t think they run those Medicare programs at a loss do you? Well take it from me, I’ve read the 10-K’s and they make plenty of money. So in effect, the people of this country are subsidizing a private health care system. Last time I checked, their profit lines don’t need subsidized. It’s clear to me that the government should be running health care soup-to-nuts. There is a lot of debate over the value of free markets but what most people don’t realize is that free open markets take a while to fully develop and become truly competitive. Can we afford to wait? Some programs are better run by the government and I believe health care is one of them. And to say the government can’t provide cheaper healthcare is illogical – it’s basic economic bargaining 101. And furthermore, I’d gladly have my tax rate increase by 15% or more to ensure that we don’t have to worry about providing basic health care services to our citizens. To not do so is very callous of our government.

    While I know both of these topics are debated frequently, I think proposing the above two angles would spur some interesting conversation.

    Thanks,

    Wes Murry
    Atlanta, GA

    January 11, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Tom Good, Bakersfield, California

    Question for Wolf Blitzer to use with candidates:

    The Republicans are saying that the election of democrats would promote economic socialism. How do you respond to this, and dhow do you describe your theory of economics?

    January 11, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. marie thomson

    to Obama:
    What is your position on the affairs in Kenya?
    Whom do you support?

    The leader who wants the country under shari'ia law (inspite of the fact that 80+% is Christian) or the leader who won the election?

    January 11, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. Nate Metzker

    A question for all three Democratic candidates:

    Would you support the creation of a Department of Peace, as outlined by Rep. Dennis Kucinich? Why or why not?

    January 11, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Denise

    oh yes – definitely public transportation development – what are you going to do. what kinds of things will you do to get America out of the quagmire that it is in? Do you have any plans for that?

    January 11, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. cancer

    Hi Wolf,

    I really love your debates. They are filled with insights and gets the best and the worst out of the candidates. My question for all the candidates is

    What is your standing on the middle east policy that we have had so far? What changes would you make to it? Would you still fund Israel with billions of dollars when the same could be used to fund teachers retirement funds, better schools, health insurance and many other things. Why exactly are we funding Israel in the first place ?

    Cancer

    January 11, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. steven

    Im tired of reading in polls and news stories what Americans think is the number one issue facing our country today. Its nice that we have a voice to let them know what we believe but I what I really want to know is what the candidates themselves believe realistically is the most crucial issue facing our country and what plans they have accordingly. Those are the agendas and issues they will be pushing and excecuting when in office. Would be nice to have it summed up in a point blank fashion.

    January 11, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Blair Portnoy, Tel Aviv

    How long will it take you...Mr. or Ms. Candidate...to get the boys out of Iraq? It seems the American people have forsaken them, or at least the urgency of getting them out of that awful place immediately. Only John Edwards spoke about this clearly...I live in Israel and care about American military personnel suffering the perfidy of the Bush War...which has nothing to do with stopping terrorism...if anything it stokes it...and everything to do with military contracts and Bush's cronies.

    January 11, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. Angie in ID

    What happened to the environment in this election?
    How will the candidates address the urgent environmental issues facing this country including reversing some of the ill-advised environmental policies enacted by the current administration?

    January 11, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Alyssa, Mi

    I would ask the candidates how they respond to the claims by Romney that by electing a democratic president the country will respond as Michigan has responded to democratic leadership: recession. How does each plan to ensure this doesn't happen and how do they plan to rectify Michigan's situation specifically?

    January 11, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. MDNagle

    For Obama: How would you respond to criticism that your characterization of Senator Clinton as part of the "status quo" is hypocritical in light of the fact that you have accepted money from lobbyists, used PAC money to buy endorsements in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and in light of your questionable dealings with Mr. Rezko, who is currently under indictment in Illinois?

    January 11, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  17. Evita

    I'm an avid Obama supporter and I'd like for him to address the American people with regard to his experience.

    My question: How do you feel that your experience as a Civil Rights attorney, community organizer, and State Senator prepare you to become the next Commander in Chief?

    I think this is a particularly important topic to address as there is a perception that he is just an eloquent speaker who inspires the masses but has little or no experience – which is untrue.

    Obama has a proven record of affecting change by listening to others and compromising with those on the other side of the aisle for the betterment of the community (not his personal interests or his party) – a fact Americans ought to know before they go to the ballot.

    January 11, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Keivn

    Ask candidates what they mean by change. The word is being used too loosely and on the democratic side their voting records seem to be somewhat identical. Candidates need to be more specific. President bush ran as a Washington outsider and said things will change and we all saw the outcome.

    January 11, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Joseph, in Syracuse

    Mrs. Clinton: First I want to say I am a huge fan and a life long New Yorker who feels you have done a great job for us. Having had more experiance in Washington than either of the other two, why change your stance on being a tough, strong leader to showing emotion and what people call a "human side of Hillary?" Is that what a country in trouble be begging for? A strong and tough leader? If that is wrong I thing our Nation is in trouble.

    Mr. Obama: You say you are an agent of change. With your lack of inernational experiance and lack of record in congress and natinal poltics, why should we just take you on your word that you are the best for change just because you havnt been around Washington and all of its mess? Would we hire some one as CEO of a fortune 500 company with minimal if any experiance at that level just because he has no negative record?

    Mr. Edwards: You always mention how you would try to rid Washington of special intrests. Two questions. One, how do you actually plan on doing that? I have yet to hear that answer. How? Two, Correct me if I am wrong but there are many special intrests out there that are needed, such as Michael J. Fox trying to lobby Congress to help find cures. Are you saying you would rid Washington of people like that?

    To all canidates: We have seen all of you change many things about yourselves in your campaignes over the year. How do we know what is genuine about you and just lip service that you feel we want to hear?

    January 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Neal

    Republicans are against Universal Healthcare but They have no problem with their free government provided healthcare in Congress. If elected how can Healthcare get passed ?

    If Republicans are against government provided healthcare would you ask them as President to give up theirs ? or do they feel they deserve it more than the American people ?

    January 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Hi Wolf:

    I am legal immigrant in this country. There is discrimination based on citizenship status at many companies while recruiting. The question we are asked even before being considered for a job is "What is your Visa Status? Do you have a Green Card?" ...and most commonly we hear "We are sorry, We are not interested in sponsoring in H-1B Visa or H-1B Visa transfer?" What will the next president propose to rule out this discrimination and propose equal employment opportunity for those holding the H-1 B Visas and fasten the green card issuing process? It typically takes around 7-10 years to actually get a greencard even holding a masters degree. Now the situation has turned out to be even worse for the new H-1 B Visa holders...

    January 11, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Mary

    I would like to ask what they are planning to do about all the budget deficits, the trade w/china, we are sending them too much of our money, how will they bring more manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.

    Would like them to give straight answers and not a lot of bs.

    Also want to know if they are actually willing to cut big government and pork.

    January 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  23. teelee

    To All the Candidates,
    With Senators Biden and Dodd and especially Govenor Richardson leaving the campaign because of a lack of support, I believe it has become quite evident that the Democratic campaign is not about selecting the candidate with the most relevant experience for becoming President of the United States. It's appears to be about name recognition, returning to those so-called "good 'ol days" that are long passed, making a political statement (e.g. first woman or minority), being mad and just ready to fight everyone, and/or uniting people for change so "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (Gettysburg Address)". I would therefore lean to someone who is willing to unite and change the nation for the nobler cause. Please convince me in succinct talking points (not just the "35 years of experience" ) what are your most important executive, management or leadership accomplishments and experience that qualify you to be President. Otherwise, if I don't vote for the more nobler Democratic candidate who gives me hope for a different and better future...I'm more likely to vote Republican because of their experience. BTW, I am a Democrat.

    January 11, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. sandhya babu

    my question to both hilary clinton and barack obama would be

    1 ] since change [barack obama] and experience [hilary clinton] seem to be the buzz words in this election wouldn't it be a great idea to run together and that way secure the presidency for the democrats ?

    a lot of money spent by both campaigns would be saved and barack obama after 8 years of experience could be president.

    2 ] to barack obama -people say hillary is polarising . what do you think they mean ?
    and

    to hillary-people say he is inexperienced. explain

    January 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. lluluadorl

    REAL CHANGE WILL OCCUR IN AMERICAN POLITICS WHEN PARTISANSHIP ENDS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE'S CONCERNS BECOMES PRIORITY. IS ANY OF THE CANDIDATES WILLING TO HAVE REPUBLICAN AS HIS/HER VP AND IS IT CONSITUTIONALLY POSSIBLE?

    January 11, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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