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. Michelle Barriere

    To Hillary Clinton:

    You often refer to your years in the White house as First Lady when you speak of your government experience. The only major initiative you were given to work by President Clinton was health care. The recommendations that resulted from that effort were squarely rejected. This set back the cause of universal health care for years to come. In fact, we have seen little progress and are still talking about it 15 years later. Please tell us what it is, in specific terms, you accompllished during your years in the White House.

    January 11, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. PW

    John Edwrds:

    you have stated that your proudest moment in your one term as a us senator was a patient bill of rights that never became law. what makes you qualified to be president?

    –pw

    January 11, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  3. john CA

    Wolf I am your big fan ..... actually our whole family.

    Please ask on specifics, on economy, foreign policy, health care and others.

    I know hillary for the longest time, as if I know her personally because of media. For obama, I know him nothing. All I get are sugar coats. I agree he is a brilliant communicator and charismatic person BUT what happened to my native land Philippines under Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.

    This is my first time to vote, being a US citizen. I want my vote be based on issues, how I perceive his/her capabities and track record. So please ask questions on broad spectrum.

    Thanks and more power.

    January 11, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. John CG

    I would like to ask all the candidates if they think President George Bush is directly responsible for the very large national debt and do they each feel that George Bush should face the nation on camera, admit responsibility, and apologize to the american people?

    January 11, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Jose Perez

    Preface:

    The whole electoral system in the US seems to be geared towards disencouraging voting. People have to actively register to vote, voting is not mandatory, and presidential elections always take place on Tuesdays during working hours which is inconvenient to say the least. It is almost as if someone out there really does not want people to vote.

    I´d like Mr. Blitzer to ask the candidates the following question:

    Which of the candidates would commit to imitating other countries and holding presidential elections on Sundays and/or making them national holidays and as such days of national civic celebration? Also, who among them would go so far as to make voting mandatory (yes, I know this sounds politically incorrect but it´s really not that bad and other countries also do this) or if not mandatory at least give people some minimal incentive to vote?

    I am convinced that a simple act like this could have a huge impact on voter turnout and modify the entire electoral dynamic.

    case study:voting in Argentina

    In Argentina, to name just one example, voting is mandatory (and yes people complain a bit but they manage to get out of the house and vote once every four years), it always takes place on a Sunday, which is also declared a national holiday (and they manage to do this even though Argentina is a very catholic country where people attend church on Sundays), and people don´t have to lift a finger to register to vote because the government has a database of all citizens called a "padron" so people merely have to find out on the web which neighborhood school or town hall they have to vote at and show up there that day, ID in hand.

    The voting itself is very low tech using plain paper ballots. The voter simply walks into a room with lots of ballots from each party lying on a table, he or she chooses the one he or she likes and stuffs it into an envelope which has been previously certified at the election table by three "fiscales" or local citizens who are on a kind of "election duty" for the day similar to jury duty in the states. The certified ballot is then stuffed into a ballot box by the voter as the three overseers watch. They then stamp your ID card and this stamp kind works something like emissions stamps on car windshields, in the sense that people have to keep them current.

    That´s it.No dimpled chads, no turning away disenfranchised voters at the polls, no supreme court battles, no expensive hi-tech voting systems vulnerable to hacking. Just some paper, cardboard boxes and a lot of sweat. Inspite of this, they manage to do their counting and know who the winner is usually the same night.

    Yes, the system has it´s faults which stem mainly from control issues at the voting sites and corruption, but on the whole it seems a heck of a lot better than what we have in the states. If people have qualms about copying the system used in a poor country, why not study which countries´ systems are most effective and craft a new and improved American voting system taking the best of each? Anything has got to be better than what we have in place today. I just read the Congressman Kucinich asked for a recount in New Hampshire. How much longer will we put up with a bad system?

    January 11, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  6. Veteran

    I would ask just what are they doing about the fatally flawed V.A. Health care system. Why are 120 veterans commiting suicide each month. But I haven't seen anyone brave enough to table these issues yet. Who cares about Veterans because gas is 2.50 a gallon. After all if we continue to be ignored maybe we will just go away. It doesn't matter what side of the war you are on something has got to be done. NOW!

    January 11, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Joss Bayer

    Wolf,
    MY question to the Democratic candidates:

    Will America's expenditures to police the world increase or decrease under your Administration, and by how much?

    ~ joss
    Maryland

    January 11, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  8. Independent voter

    1. On the Bush Administration
    The Bush administration did many things wrong. Did it do something right? Do you agree with Bush on anything at all? Please be specific.

    2. On the Foreign Oil Dependency
    Eliminating our dependency on the foreign oil is a popular topic these days. The dollar is supported by the oil market. How are you planning to fight the dollar decline while eliminating our dependency on the foreign oil?

    3. On the Iraq War
    To start the war in Iraq was an irresponsible mistake.
    Now the situation has slowly started to stabilize. What makes you think that it will be beneficial and responsible to start removing our troops now, without a plan to move forward?

    It seems that with troops removed, the civil war will start progressing. The people will be killed. The terrorists will spread throughout the Middle East. The nearby countries will see an increase in terror attacks, Israel, in particular. As a result, Israel-Palestinian conflict will worsen. The US bases throughout the Middle East will also get under attack. Iran will straighten its influence and power. The oil prices will fly. The US trade deficit will increase. The dollar will continue to drop.

    Please explain why you disagree with the above.

    January 11, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. PW

    What exactly is wrong with America when a woman and a man of african descent are the leading Democratic contenders for the US Presidency? I am a happy, proud American and am getting tired of made to feel gulity about it. Why should I vote for you?

    January 11, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Jessica Trevizo

    I would like to ask: As a hispanic TCU student, my concern right now is immigration – as it is for many. My question is, if you were president, would you allow mass illegal immgrants busts, such as we have seen at meat packaging plants, etc? Even though these mass busts separate thousands of families and leave many children motherless, fatherless, or both?

    January 11, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  11. PW

    Final question:

    Rudy Guiliani has stated that the only change that Democrats want is from Americans' pockets. Your response?

    –pw

    January 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. Bill

    I would ask Sen. Clinton what makes her think she can define the limits of our hope and then call herself a agent of change. Isn't the ability to hope for a better future a key component to our promised prusuit of happiness?

    January 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Patty D.

    Why don't you ask Hillary's male comteporaries whether they are likeable enough to win?

    January 11, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Angel Valenzuela

    My Question is For Hillary Clinton

    Mrs Clinton could you please sight any of your votes in the last eight years in the senate , that would be in example of opposing President Bush's foriegn policy agenda ?

    January 11, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. Karen

    I have recently left the Democrat party and become an independent because of the position on illegal immigration. I would like to see some rational explanation for this hypocitical position.

    Several questions might clarify this for voters: here's one.

    You support Comprehensive Immigration Reform which includes enforcement initiatives that you support. Isn't it rational for citizens to expect you to implement and enforce them immediately as you are the ones that proposed, refined and agreed to them?

    January 11, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Mike Smith

    Question for the candidates:

    Have you ever had a truly original idea? If so, what is it?

    January 11, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  17. Michael Felts

    What would the candidates do for the middle class?
    Many people are stuck in ARM mortgages that they could not afford to begin with and now that the rates have increased they are looking at foreclosure.

    What about the 95% of people who are either dead broke or working paycheck to paycheck, what would you do to help them plan and eventually retire since the social security system cant support the amount of baby boomers about to go into retirement ...

    Why is it that the most advance country on the planet has one of the worst education ratings of any country. What would you do for education?

    Teens are increasingly getting into trouble, we live in an information age and kids 18-21 have nothing to do. What about a federally sponsored program to get kids out of the home playing video games and volunteering their time to paint grafitti and do community projects. most countries around the world have mandatory military requirements, while we dont need this in America, a mandatory youth corp would benefit the USA.

    What ever happened to discussion of a flat tax. The current system places too much stress on the working middle class and none of the burden on the wealthiest 5% of Americans?

    The constitution calls for equality in every respect, though I dont agree with the term marriage being applied towards same sex couples, what about civil unionships? Are you for or against them and why?

    Those are my main questions, that is what I would ask if i had the chance to.

    January 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Lauren

    I think you should ask:

    1. How do you feel about being reduced to a talking point? Hillary, is experience your only attribute? Barack, are good speeches your only attribute? Do you think you've put yourself in a box, or have the voters and the media neglected to read the plans posted on both your websites? Should voters be challenged to educate themselves, or should you spoon feed them all the information?

    2. Hillary and Barack, whichever one of you doesn't win the nomination, how do you plan to support the other candidate to ensure the Democratic party wins the general election?

    3. Please address one lie that has been perpetuated about you in this election proccess. Clear up the record on one thing of your choosing.

    January 11, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. GG

    Was Jesus a liberal?

    January 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  20. Jose Perez

    Which of the candidates would commit to imitating other countries and holding presidential elections on Sundays and/or making them national holidays and as such days of national civic celebration? Also, who among them would go so far as to make voting mandatory (yes, I know this sounds politically incorrect but it´s really not that bad and other countries also do this) or if not mandatory at least give people some minimal incentive to vote?

    I am convinced that a simple act like this could have a huge impact on voter turnout and modify the entire electoral dynamic.

    January 11, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. Gary

    I would ask each of them to speculate on why the polls in New Hampshire were right on with the Republican side of the election, but so far off on the Democratic side. What were the main factors involved?

    January 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. David Stackpole

    What type of person would you pick to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court if you become President and why?

    January 11, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Dan Nichols

    Push on John Edwards inference that Hilary Clinton represents the "status quo" in Washington, D.C. A huge percentage of her campaign funds were donated by corporations, more so than Edwards and Obama combined. How can she argue that she's an agent of change when her back pockets are filled with money from the corporations who have bought and sold Washington, D.C. for these past many years? Since they've contributed big-time to Hilary, wouldn't they expect more of the same if she was President?

    January 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. Joy C.

    Restoring America to its moral compass and rule of law ...

    1. Will they COMMIT that as President they will enforce Habeus Corpus, which is guaranteed by our Constitution?
    2. Will they COMMIT that as President they will enforce the "original" FISA law and that they will give our citizens a guarantee that there will NOT be any more warrantless searches or wiretaps under their Administration?
    3. Will they COMMIT to stop trying to weaken the original FISA law, which already had provisions for "after-the-fact" approvals?
    4. Will they COMMIT to reject torture or "enhanced interrogation techniques"?
    5. When they raise their right hand to be sworn in as President, and they are sworn to enforce and protect the Constitution, what part of that oath do they not intend to keep?
    6. What part of our Constitution do they think is "quaint" and therefore should not be enforced?
    7. Ask them why none of them have done anything to ensure that are elections are free of fraudulant vote tabulations. Why is the source code of the voting machines still proprietary? Why have they not introduced bills to require a paper trail?
    8. What parts of the Patriotic Act do they think should be revoked?
    9. As President, would they support (i.e. not veto) a bill that would ensure that presidential elections are 100% publicly funded?

    January 11, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. Jennifer, Houston, TX

    I would like to hear all the candidates describe their positions on stem cell research, and more broadly, on funding for scientific research.

    Jennifer

    January 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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