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. Kim Kilchenstein

    -ALTERNATIVE ENERGY.
    -THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S DESTRUCTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS.

    1) Though many polls indicate that the majority of American citizens are highly concerned about our environment and global warming, there is not much debate regarding the specific plans each candidate has to switch our country to alternate and renewable energies.

    I would ask the candidates:
    What is your SPECIFIC plan to proactively increase alternate and renewable energy sources when you are President, what is the timeline you envision, and how might this impact our economy?

    2) In addition, we hear nothing at all about the fact that over the past 7 years, the Bush administration has aggressively and methodically sought to reverse many crucial laws which had served to protect our ancient forests, our parks, our endangered species, the safety of our air and water, and more.

    I would ask the candidates:
    Are you at all concerned about the previous administration's rampant destruction of many of the protections for our precious environment and wildlife? And if so, what is your plan to review and/or restore these protections?

    Thank you for considering my questions.

    January 11, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Lee

    My 2 questions echo those of "David" posted at 4:52 ET:

    Theme: improving the public's confidence in how our government works:
    1. How will you DECREASE the influence of lobbies in Wash., esp. the pharmaceutical and weapons-producing industries?
    2. What will you do to make yourself and the American public confident that the election in November is counted, and awarded FAIRLY?

    January 11, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  3. Craig Finnegan

    Ask them this, Wolf..... "THE WORDS "CHANGE" AND "EXPERIENCE" HAVE BEEN PITTED AGAINST ONE ANOTHER IN THE COURSE OF THIS DEMOCRATIC RACE....WHY DO SO MANY AMERICANS THESE DAYS VIEW THE TWO CONCEPTS AS ENEMIES INSTEAD OF FRIENDS??"

    January 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. JCIL

    Cancer is the No. 1 killer in this country. What will you do as president to promote, fund and further cancer research?

    January 11, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. Frances in Honolulu

    To Senator Clinton:

    In seeking the highest office in the United States, are you more interesting in winning at any cost, or in solving the problems of the American people? In other words, would you be willing to support a complete bi-partisan approach to working through our nation's most critical issues, even if it meant someone else were president?

    January 11, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. Michael Zenz

    I would very much like to hear the candidates talk about one very specific thing they're planning to do about the economy crises the US is supposedly headed for or already in. For instance a particular tax they'd change, a specific budget they’d cut, or something along that line, but not just the usual slogans like "cut the taxes", "create new jobs", and so on.

    January 11, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. steve mc

    Hi Wolf,

    Would you ask Mr. Obama, would the fact that he would be the first American President that has family ( his grandmother and uncle ) living in Kenya mean that his Administration would have a very different approach to Africa? And if so, what would be his major African policy initiative in his first year as president?

    Steve

    January 11, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Jeff Adams

    On September 11th, we were attacked by a non-state organization that was founded by a Saudi and an Egyptian, with some help from the Pakistanis, and under the protection of the Afghani's now deposed Taliban government. We know that the majority of prisoners at Gitmo are Yemeni. We know that the most severe attacks in Iraq that are perpetrated by "al Queda in Iraq," whose membership is Sunni, as are the majority populations of all of the nations that I mentioned before. The majority of prisoners in our Iraqi prisons are from Iraq's neighboring Sunni majority countries, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen. We know that the "philosophy" of the Taliban, al Queda and the Salafists are derivations of the Sunni faith. And yet, since 9/11, once we deposed the Taliban (while failing to capture and/or kill their highest level officials, not to mention Osama bin Laden), we redirected our attention to a secularist nation with a Shi'ite majority and now were rattling our sabers at Iran, another Shi'ite majority nation which has an insignificant number of ties to al Queda when compared to our so-called allies, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, etc. My question is this: Considering that all Americans would support a war on terrorism that was waged against the actual perpetrators of the September 11th attacks, how quickly would your administration start actually doing that? How would you address the popular support for al Queda in our "allies?" How would you redirect our country's attention back to the movement that wants to see our annihilation?

    January 11, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Chris from NEPA

    Why does Mrs. Clinton pander to polls? As soon as the poll said that people wanted "change" she added "change" to her "experience" motto (along with every Republican candidate). Do you think voters are idiots? I don't know who I will vote for, but I do respect Senator Obama for his consistency in his campaign message. Voters are sick of ROBOTS!

    January 11, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Joan Padilla

    I want to know what each candidate is going to do about illegal immigration?
    What about employers hiring illegals?
    What about giving illegals drivers licenses?

    I am against any candidate who will give illegals rights...............

    January 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  11. Estelle Levy

    Pakistan is a morass of conspiracies and secret police leading to deep difficulties in knowing what's what there and/or who did what.......etc.
    Clinton spoke of meeting Bhutto when she traveled overseas.
    Edwards telephoned Musharev pressing him to hold elections. All
    Obama said is he was " shocked" Bhutto was assassinated. Why was he shocked?
    Most people were shocked she got off the plane alive when it landed in Pakistan.
    Most people know there is a morass of political levels, opposing factions, secret police, secret armed groups, madrassas and on and on flourishing in Pakistan as well as Mr. Kahn. Did Obama not learn from WHO KILLED DANNY PEARL..........WITH Musharev here saying he was alive while no one here really knowing if Musharev told the truth or was lying..........knew or didn't know!

    Obama "shock" about that which was expected made me think he is not ready
    for prime time..........why didn't he connect to a "think tank" to become informed or do some reading on his own in order to know what's what. Wasn't her assassination akin to a suicide by returning to Pakistan.?

    A question about how much they really know about Pakistan and what they would do to deal with Pakistan would be revealing. Also we've wasted a lot of money
    that was given to Pakistan. How would they manage the financial donations in light of the meager results/outcomes.

    January 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Bill Denegar

    Wolf, I would like ask each candidate "in their opinion, how much has the cost of the war in Iraq contributed to the pending economic recession"?

    January 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Jeff Perkins

    I'm an Edwards man because he pledges to fight the influence of wealthy mega-corporations in the lives of everyday Americans. I couldn't agree more. Democracy is supposed to be government of, for, and by the people, not an oligarchy of a few CEOs.
    But how does he propose to do it? Like a trial lawyer? Or like a diplomat? Because we need to work WITH the mega-corporations and not against them. After all, they employ most of us!
    Thank you,
    Jeff Perkins

    January 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. jacksonville

    What did Hillary meant by saying that if she didn't win, that the conutry would be going backwards, and that she's worried about our childrens. WHATS UP WITH THAT.

    January 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  15. Jill V

    Would the candidates seriously address the economy, the dropping value of the dollar, and our national debt. Do any of the candidates have a solid plan, and a honest explanation of how our economy has tanked. Not political speak, but solid answers.

    I would also ask what is the United States role in the world. Is our role the police or big brother, and why.

    January 11, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. d

    I would like the candidates answer (both Democratic and Republican) as to why the Federal Reserve and its cronnies are running this country. What can we do to get out from under the Federal Reserve's Agenda.

    January 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. Jared

    I would ask them why if they truly believe in change they do not advocate allowing Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich into the debates. They need to expose Americans to diversity! All we get is the same old hoopla from the same old candidates!

    January 11, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. Ronald "Pop" Arrington

    Some 45 years ago this August 28th, 2008, Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his historical “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Given the hope, vision and values King had for America, grade—A to F—where we stand as a Nation? Then, cite your specific contributions to his well-documented legacy.

    “America for Sale” has become a trademark globally and nationally; namely, outsourcing jobs and expertise, importing raw materials, oil, et.al, then seeking foreign investments to subsidize the economy with flawed deficit spending policies. As President:
    1) What specific steps would you take to reverse this flawed trend in your first year?
    2)What—national and global—strategies will you propose to sustain it for 4-years?

    Ronald Arrington, Central, CA
    gotyactc@yahoo.com

    January 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. Bill

    Do you think the US ship commanders responded properly to the recent provocations by the Iranian fast boats toward our US ships? How should the commanders respond to future provocations?

    January 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Jeff Adams

    Instead of creating a new federal bureaucracy to manage a privatized universal health care that guarantees overhead, including profits, of up to 30% for the insurance and drug companies, why wouldn't it make more sense to expand Medicare – with its 3% overhead and high customer satisfaction – to all Americans?

    January 11, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. corky

    I would ask Obma if one of the reasons that Tony Rezco helped him buy his first multi-million dollar home after reaching the Senate was because Obama wrote letters endorsing Rezco in mult-million diollar taxpayer subsidies in the form of building contracts.

    January 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Patty, from WA

    Dear Wof:

    In the last debate in New Hampshire, Senator Clinton and her husband used many quotes out of context to try and peg Senator Obama as a flip-flopper on such issues such as health care and the war in Iraq.

    In the last debate in 2007, Clinton stated that she would have an "open and transparent government". She stated this while the majority of files in the Clinton library remain classified.

    Please ask Senator Clinton, how we can expect her to have a open and transparent government while her previous political experience remains classified? And, how that is not hypocritical or in a sense, flip flopping?

    January 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. pburk

    For all candidates:

    It is seem to me that we have lost our reputation as the leader of the free world and would like all candidates to describe:

    What specific steps they would take to help improve the reputation of the United States around the world?

    Thank you.

    January 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  24. Ronald "Pop" Arrington

    Some 45 years ago this August 28th, 2008, Martin Luther King, Jr., gave his historical “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. Given the hope, vision and values King had for America, grade—A to F—where we stand as a Nation? Then, cite your specific contributions to his well-documented legacy.

    “America for Sale” has become a trademark globally and nationally; namely, outsourcing jobs and expertise, importing raw materials, oil, et.al, then seeking foreign investments to subsidize the economy with flawed deficit spending policies. As President:
    1) What specific steps would you take to reverse this flawed trend in your first year?
    2) What—national and global—strategies will you propose to sustain it for 4-years?

    Ronald Arrington, Central, CA
    gotyactc@yahoo.com

    January 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. notnilc

    I would ask, Mr. Edwards since hes for the poor and middleclass, why he voted for the free trade agreement with China? You can also ask Sen. Obama, why he voted against putting a limitation on the amount of interest credit card companies can charge? You can also ask Sen. Obama why he had voted present so many times in Illinois, and has a 50% no show on voting in the Senate. Since he does care so much about the american people, and wants to bring us together and all, why did he place his own carrer advancement over the american citizens he was suppose to serve?

    January 11, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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