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. Carrie

    Ask Hillary, what her definition of experience is? 35 years is BS.

    Obama and Edwards, explain your experience in detail.

    All canidates, do you support giving a driver's license to illegals?

    All canidates, in the past, name 3 things that you did to help the middle-class american?

    All canidates, what will you do to protect our broaders?

    Ask Hillary, to explain her statement today: "No woman is illegal" and "No man is illegal either"?

    January 11, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. michael jarboe

    I would like to ask a question of Senator Obama.

    He apposes giving homosexuals the right t mary, saying Civil Unions with all the rights of marriage are sufficient and talk of "marriage" vs. "Civil Unions" is simply semantics. My question, since it's simply a word, is this: Would Senator Obama be willing to have is parents mixed marriage downgraded to an "Inter-racial Bond" and "husband and wife" be replaced with "bond mate", as long as they continued to receive all the same rights as non-racially mixed couples?

    I noticed in Mr. Obama's NH speech the other night he mentioned equality for all americans, mentioning several races and religions.... sadly, sexual orientation seemed to get a pass. If he wishes to sound like and even paraphrase Martin Luther King Jr., perhaps he should walk the walk instead of just talking the talk. If there is a wave sweeping across this nation, why is he leaving some of us on the beach?

    January 11, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Jeff Adams

    How old is the planet?

    How long have humans been on the planet?

    If your answer to either of these questions is "roughly 6000 years?" can you explain how your belief doesn't contradict so many other elements of science, such as calculations of the size of the universe which are based on the speed that light moves (if the universe is only 6000 years old, then we wouldn't be able to "see" most of the universe that we can see, because in a 6000 year old universe, there would not have been enough time for the light to travel into our solar system), or carbon dating (which is based on the fact that radioactive isotopes in carbon decay at a fixed rate... in order to have had only 6000 years of our planet existing, the carbon on our planet would have been created "partially decayed"), plate tectonic theory, etc.

    Justify why local school control should allow the teaching of completely crack-pot theories because the local residents are happier not confronting a modern understanding of how the world actually works?

    Wouldn't America be better served by making a goal of education the establishment of a reality based view of the world?

    January 11, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. ZAC AKIY-FROM SOUTH AFRICA

    I will like to ask Clinton who regularly sings of her 30 -35 years of experience that in those years what has she done (changed). She has seemingly been in the system and the system still looks this bad what proves that she will not stay the same if made to continue to another 39 – 43 years of being in the system.
    Tell Clinton that what makes her think she is experienced while we clearly know they are all very inexperienced as non of them have been a president before. the presidency is another job you are not experienced in it unless u have been one except she is saying her husband will be ruling the US for 12 to 16years.
    Thanks

    January 11, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  5. Mike

    Do you think running a two year campaign only tares down candidates to the point were no one seems worthy for the White House, and this extended presidential race will only help divide this country further into bipartisan conflicts? In addition, what are you views with the cost associated with running a presidential campaign, and are these costs a good use of our resources for this country.

    January 11, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  6. Meagan

    I would like for there to be a few questions about education. I feel that the issue has not been properly addressed in the past debates. Two questions that could be asked to the candidates are:

    1. Will you keep any of the components of No Child Left Behind? Specifically, what is your opinion on the increase of standarized tests in all of the grade levels?
    2. What would their plan be to decrease the amount of dropouts, especially in areas like Georgia, New York, and Boston?

    January 11, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Bernard

    Senator Clinton,

    You have received far more money from political action committees associated with the pharmaceutical and insurance industries than all of your rivals, but these are the same groups that you and your Democratic rivals have excoriated as being the principle forces blocking the adoption of comprehensive health insurance coverage. How does this square with your claim to be the one best suited to put in place in a plan to provide health insurance to all Americans when you have been funded so lavishly by these groups?

    January 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  8. Antonio

    For Senator Clinton:

    You claim that you have made change for 35 years, but during the Clinton administration, the one attmept at change-health care-failed. While that failure occurred within the first two years of your husband's first administration, you neither renewed the call for universal health care during the remainder of your husband's terms in office nor during your first term as senator even though everyone knew the United States had a health care crisis. So, please explain why you have waited 13 years to offer another plan for universal health care.

    January 11, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  9. UNITE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

    I WOULD WANT TO KNOW EACH CANDIDATE'S STANCE ON GAY MARRIAGE. AND WHAT THEY WOULD DO ABOUT "DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL" IF THEY WERE ELECTED PRESIDENT.

    January 11, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. larry hullinger sr

    which candidate will not cut social security or medicare.

    January 11, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. rick

    will you continue the bush doctrine of pre emptive action against alleged terrorist states?

    January 11, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. Randy in Silicon Valley

    Will the candidates be willing to do whatever it takes to put our country on a path to be energy independent within 20 years? Similar to JFK's call to land a man on the moon in 10 years. This would allow us to not start wars for oil and not be captives of OPEC and would spur great technological advancements.

    However, it would entail things the Democrats would hate and others things Republicans would hate, but each initiative would get us a little closer to this goal.

    We need (but Democrats would hate):
    – More state-of-the-art nuclear power plants
    – Drilling in Alaska and off our coasts
    – More oil and gas refineries
    – A gasonline tax of about 50 cents/ gallon to pay for investments in alternative fuels

    We also need (but Republicans would hate):
    – HIgher MPG standards out of Detroit
    – Massive investment in alternative energy (solar, wind, sugar cane/ethanol...)
    – Incentives for conservation for every business and household

    This is real CHANGE – and would show that a candidate can tell us what needs to be done as opposed to telling us what wwe want to hear

    January 11, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  13. James P, W-B PA

    To the Candidates: "Recently, in the Straits of Hormuz, there was an incident between American and Iranian naval ships. In 2008, if President Bush were to utilize any future incidents as a justification to launch attacks against Iran, how would you respond? Would any of you call for his impeachment?"

    January 11, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. jp/michigan

    Why is it when anyone goes for a job interview , presents a resume, the future employer always asks about pass experiences? Yet Mr. Obama talks only about need for change? He preaches to the american people the same thing over and over about change and never tells us how he plans or what he has done to make change. Talk is cheap. Pass experiences are worked for. Change is brought by hard work. Also John Edwards fought the establishment (insurance companies and business) not only for his clients but also for the payment he recieved or did he do these cases pro-bono.

    January 11, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  15. Samuele F S Pardini

    Dear Mr. Blitzer,

    First of all thank you for asking the public's input for this extremely important debate. Here's the question I would like you to ask Senator Obama.

    In the light of the fact that this debate takes place on MLK's Day and that the voting population in South Carolina democratic primary is heavily African-American, I would like to know from you what would you do with regard to affirmative action if elected president. As you know, there is a sustained effort in the country to change AA to favor economically disadvantaged citizens regardless of their color. What's your position on this matter? If you think AA needs to remain as it is, how would you justify to the white citizenry the existence of such a program when an African-American is President of the United States? After all, no member of many so called white-ethnic groups has ever been elected President or, for that matter, Secretary of State, a position to which both an African-American man AND a African-American woman have been appointed.

    Thank youn for your consideration.
    Samuele F. S. Pardini (a fellow UB alumni!)

    January 11, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  16. larry hullinger sr

    ask the candidates where they stand on social security and medicare

    January 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. michael

    My question is this.

    How is that Senator Clinton voted for the war? did she based her decission on her experience or her judjment? cause if she based it on her experience, it will mean that we'll have another 4 years of disaster, if it was based on her judgment it means that she does't have good one, so either way its a loss wit her.

    January 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Dustin Joldersma

    Ask them what the think of the concept of the third party system or even a forth party system, in many countries there are multi-party systems, why do they think the United States has stayed a two party system?

    January 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Byron

    I would ask all three candidates:

    Do you support nuclear power? If so, why? If not, why not?

    January 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. J Best

    Obama has been accused of not reciting the Pledge Of Allegience during recent events.
    I would ask him, in order to disprove the rumor, to recite the Pledge and prove once and for all that he actually knows the words and intends to live by them.

    January 11, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  21. Matt

    Hi Wolf, I'd be very grateful if you could ask each Democratic candidate to explain their voting-attendance records in the Senate. Like many Democrats, I haven't made up my mind yet, but I find it puzzling that Sen. Obama markets himself as a harbinger of change when he's missed 16% of his Senate votes. Sen. Clinton has only missed 6%. (Don't just take it from me, check my facts at http://www.govtrack.us.)

    How can you bring about change when you don't show up to work?

    January 11, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Poli

    How about asking the candidates the following?

    If you bring the troops home from Iraq, will you then turn around and send them off to worse places in the world to get blown up on so-called UN peacekeeping missions?

    January 11, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. dd

    I would ask Obama who is speech writer is? All talk ...sentences run together. Need to know what you really stand for and WILL DO?

    South Carolina does not owe Obama the black vote! He has to earn it.

    January 11, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  24. Dianne Watkins

    I received an email from a teacher who is flustrated with non US Citizens getting Federal PELL grants and other hand out programs.

    One student was getting PELL grants and looking into WAIT and CARIBE. WAIT gives students a CREDIT CARD for gas to come to school. CARIBE is a special program for immigrants and it pays for child care, and all sorts of needs while they go to school or training.

    One student didn't want the instructor to help find her a job because she was getting government housing and grants. The same student said that she had no intention of becoming a US Citzen because she plans to return to the Dominican Republic someday and that she loves HER country. She was asked if she felt guilty taking what the US is giving her, and then not even bothering to become a citizen, and she said that that is what the money is there for.

    The instructor asked the CARIBE administration about their program and if you ARE a US Citizen, you don't qualify for their program.

    Both my daughters and their husbands are up to their necks in student loans. They work hard now and pay taxes for these non citizens to go to school free and have daycare paid for.

    My question is why are these programs being offered to NON Citizens in the first place and is the next president going to stop this flow of money to people that do not want to stay in this country, pay taxes, contribute to the economy and give back to American Life that which was given freely to them.

    Dianne Watkins
    Jacksonville, Fl

    January 11, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  25. Harry Martini

    1. Ask them, "What do you think is wrong with Republicans these days?"

    I think this would get a good laugh, but seriously, I am finding it harder and harder to communicate with my Republican friends. I'd like to hear their thoughts on what is creating the divide between Americans.

    2. Ask them, "Have you read each other's books?"

    If so, what impressed you. If not, why not? Wouldn't they gain insight into their opponent? " A related question to the one above, "Have they read any of the Koran?" Should Christian Americans or Americans in general read or study the Koran? Have they read Osama Bin Laden's writings?"

    3. In Obama's "Audacity of Hope" he says a politician's biggest fear is losing.
    Ask them, "Do you fear losing, and the humiliation of being labeled a loser?
    Only one of you can win. How does the fear of losing change the way you do business once elected?"

    4. Other than Lincoln, who is your favorite U.S. President from the 1800's.
    Bad answers include:Jackson, Van Buren, Polk, Grant, or Johnson
    A funny answer would be W. Harrison, because he died shortly after his inauguration.

    January 11, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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