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. Zach

    Dear Sir:
    I would like to ask Senator Obama why so many of his votes on important social and political issues in Illinois are registered as "Present". Please also ask about the lack of a vote on Iran's Revolutionary guards. Finally, please have your staffers do some research on Senator Obama's record and do follow up on a response that you feel is inconsistent.

    January 12, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  2. Kenn Storck

    Partisan bitterness led to the impeachment of President Clinton. He certainly did not deserve to be impeached. However, how is Hilliary going to overcome the partisan bitterness of the right wing Republicans when she re-enters the Whitehouse?

    Who can best serve this country that so desparately needs a bi-partisan or non-partisan candidate?

    January 12, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  3. Daniel

    Senator Clinton:

    What did you mean when you said "this is serious" during your emotional breakdown, as if anyone who thinks about voting for anyone else is not serious.

    What made you jump on the "change" bandwagon?

    Will you use minorities for photo ops like most candidates have done for years?

    Will you go to South Carolina bearing "gifts (promises)" for minority voters, which if they're smart they will ignore.

    January 12, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  4. Ben (North Carolina)

    I would like for each candidate to complete the phrase "A vote for me is a vote for (blank)." However, I would like in his or her response for the candidate to abstain from generalizations, such as "change" or "experience," but instead respond with concrete specific parts of his or her platform that differ from one or more of the other candidates.

    January 12, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Charley

    TERM LIMITS
    Our founding fathers were very smart when they set term limits for our Presidents. I am sure that they NEVER expected individuals to make the House and Senate life long careers. This is one of the major reasons why Washington is so broken and nothing ever gets accomplished. What term limits do you think should be set for the House and Senate?

    January 12, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  6. JB

    In general, it seems that candidates are playing it safe by indicating their support for civil unions for gays or that they will leave it up to the states. However, they all remain silent on those aspects of the law that are federal, such as same sex partners (or even married in MA) having to file federal tax returns as being single, not being able to take advantage of paying for their share of employer medical premiums with pre-tax dollars as heterosexual married couples do, immigration of non-citizen same-sex spouses, etc. I would be interested in hearing their opinion on something that a president can do something about, rather than speaking about allowing states to determine their own rules.

    January 12, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  7. Troy Beals

    You should ask the candidates which one would surrender to Osama Bin Laden first ?

    Best
    Troy Beals

    January 12, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  8. Joan Vokins

    My husband says I should give him the benefit of the doubt because he was the first in line in front of the flag and not actually facing it. SO guess I will withdraw my comment.

    January 12, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  9. swede

    I watch and I read and it seems to me that a black President will divde this country more than it is. It's on the TV and it's all over the net. Do you want take the risk of dividing US even more. It seems every innocent comment is a racist remark. Do you even want to risk this at the cost of the country? President Clinton (who was dubbed the first black President) found him having to explain a remark that wasn't even neatr a racist remark. I think President Clinton is more black than you.

    January 12, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  10. John, Somerset, NJ

    how can hillary accept thousands of dollars from insurance companies for her compaign and give lectures of how she would take on the same insurance companies to provide a better health care plan for all americans, dont you think that she would have better credibility if she refused to accept money from the insurance companies?? what did she learn from her previous failed attempt at health care reform in 1993, does she think her plan was flawed??

    January 12, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  11. Tom Davie

    Hillary Clinton was in the white house for 8 years. Her husband was by all accounts a good president.

    I have no idea how anyone in the democratic party can say with a straight face he was a bad president. He simply wasnt. Even Obama and Edwards have sited as much.

    The exact reason we dont talk MORE about 'restoring us to the Clinton years of fiscal responsibility is because HILLARY is running for president and nobody wants to give her campain credit.

    Does this mean hillary was president for 8 years ? No. Of course not.

    Does this mean she didnt learn ANYTHING about foreign policy , or the economy or any other factor facing the nation ??? Of course she would have.

    Your spouse spent every day with you for 8 years. Your spouse got to know all the players, the issues, and everything (within reason) about your job.

    Hillary obviously knows about all this. I know I would if I lived my wifes work for 8 years. And if there is anything missed. I am certain her HUSBAND can fill her in on it all. He did it. Remember?

    I would LOVE for Wolf Blitzer to ask her this.

    But to be fair , then we have to ask Obama about HIS experience in washington dealing with NATIONAL issues.

    After all, being president means living in Washington dealing with all the POLITICS THERE and all the HARDENED Republicans.

    ummmm.......................

    Its literally no contest.

    January 12, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  12. rabblerouser

    I'd like you to ask Mr. Obama if he intends to unite America, how will he do this, if criticism of him by a white person is looked upon by blacks as racially motivated. The last thing we need is more repression of our first amendents rights – there are things we can't say under the Bush administration because we might be perceived as being unpatriotic and even terrorists or terrorist sympathizers (when in fact we are not). How will he deal with people like Al Sharpton who jumps on any criticism of african americans by non-african americans as being racially motivated? Clinton's fairytale remark comes to mind because no reasonable person listening to that entire speech could construe that he was committing a racial slur against Mr. Obama.

    January 12, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  13. Tom Davie

    Hillary supporter : I wanna ask Obama who the h*ll he thinks he is BLAHBLAH ....

    Obama supporter: I wanna ask Hillary who the h*ll she thinks she is BLAH BLAH

    Edwards supporter : i wanna know why my candidate is still in the race.

    January 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  14. Natty

    Mr.Blitzer,

    Please ask hillary what is her immediate plan of action to improve the decreasing dollar value .

    thank you
    natty.

    January 12, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  15. Mark

    Despite all of the talk of promising to unite the country, the Democratic nominee is going to have to win a traditional red state or two in order to win the presidency this year. Bill Clinton won Kentucky, Georgia, among others during his initial presidential run. My question to the candidates is: How do they plan to make the red states turn blue this November in order to return the White House to Democratic hands?

    January 12, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  16. Natty

    Mr.Blitzer,

    Please ask hillary what is her immediate plan of action to improve the decreasing dollar value .

    thank you
    natty.

    January 12, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  17. Evelyn, Portland OR

    Wolf,

    Thank you for soliciting our questions.

    I would like to hear a succinct answer, from Senator Clinton and Obama to these two questions:

    1. Please explain how you would define the difference between gay marriage and civil unions (both in definition and in difference in rights etc) and what immediate action would you take to legalize civil unions nationally?

    2. I understand that you say that you are for "change", but frankly I would rather hear that you are for "action". So, what will be your priorities (what actions will you take) in the first 100 days in office?

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Evelyn

    January 12, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  18. N, Indiana

    Wolf,

    I have two questions for Senator Obama that I believe are important to clarify what seems to be hypocrisy in his campaign:

    First, Senator Obama often talks about the importance of inclusion, as well as the importance of the Civil Rights Movement – he talks about changing the divisiveness in Washington, and indeed in the United States of America. As much as I want to buy into his argument, I am incredibly disturbed by his unwillingness to distance himself or his campaign from Donnie McClurkin, who went on a tirade about homosexuals/homosexuality during an Obama campaign event in November of 2007. Senator Obama indicated that though he did not agree with McClurkin, he would still include him under his umbrella. My question for Senator Obama is, would his response have been the same if McClurkin had made racist or anti-semetic comments? What would have been his response if one of his opponents had treated this situation the way he did? I would like him to explain to me how his unwillingness to disassociate himself and his campaign from McClurkin is anything less than bigotry and triangulation for political gain of the worst kind.

    Second, Senator Obama often talks about the need to keep campaigns civil and focused on policy differences, as opposed to personal differences. Therefore, I would like him to comment on the remarks Jessie Jackson Jr, his campaign spokesperson made, about the need to "analyze Hillary's tears." Such comments represent sexism and misogony. Not only has Senator Obama (and Senator Edwards, for that matter) refused to denounce the sexist and unwarranted attacks on Senator Clinton in the media, but it seems that Senator Obama's spokesperson has put forth an incredibly personal attack. How do Congressman Jackson's fit into Senator Obama's idea of a politics of hope? A new kind of Washington?

    January 12, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  19. Joseph F. Smith

    To Obama:

    His arguement that voting the same people to Washington will not bring about change.

    Once upon a time these people that he has been referring to were not in Washington.

    So, if anyone that has been in Washington can not effect change, does is it mean that he can not run for re-election assuming he finally wins the White House beacause he will be running as a Washington Insider.

    I think we need to look at the record rather than the mere fact that the person has been Washington before.

    January 12, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  20. Wilhemina

    Wolf – will you ask them what they think of this conclusion that was in an London, England "Times Newspaper"?
    The "Times Newspaper" in London, England has an article on Hillary's thinking, it refers to her statement about the Civil Rights Act only happening because a President LBJ was able to push it through to pass; therefore, with Hillary's thinking Nelson Mandela wouldn't have gotten anywhere without FW de Klerk, India owes its' independence to Ernest Bevin, not Ghandi, and of course AMERICA is free today thanks largely to the politically experienced Lord Shelborne, rather than dreamers like George Washington and his friends. The reply to this article was that it is better to have the "dreamer" than someone who goes along with the status quo!

    January 12, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. siddhi

    please investigate the New Hamshire ballot "corruption". don't let this go onto the back burner. we the people, smell a rat!

    January 12, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  22. HTP

    Wolf, Nobody comes back from 16 points back, The last time that happened Truman was running against Dewey. My question is where have all the investigative reporters gone? I never thought I would miss Nixon and watergate. Other than Kasinich who else on stage is willing to call for a recount in New Hampshire?

    January 12, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  23. Ray Henry

    The two poorest counties in the US are Shannon } Pine ridge Reservation} and Todd SD {Rosebud.Reservation} . Yet the government fights the settlement of cases like Cobell – Norton and others. Would you be any different ?

    January 12, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  24. David

    I would ask Obama why his senate voting record is so scarce and would he be just as scarce as a president. I looked up his senate record and for the most part it says: 'present' and 'did not vote' I'm concerned that he would run the presidency much the same way as he has his senate voting record.

    I would also ask Obama this: You keep talking about change and how you will help those who need help but while you were talking about it Hillary has called on congress to assist those in the mortgage crisis, assist those with heating costs this winter and offer tax breaks to the middle class. Is he going to do anything other than talk about it? Why can't he call on Congress as Hillary has?

    January 12, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  25. Luke Kirkley

    Green technologies are wonderful, but what about drastic conservation for the benefit of our kid's kids?

    Why is no one discussing the basic ecological fact that our planet has a carrying capacity for the number of individuals of any given species whose life it can support?

    We need to talk about managing the size of the human population and how to achieve a flourishing ecosystem to support a stable human population.

    January 12, 2008 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
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