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.
Many of us who are likely to vote for the Democratic nominee in this race have been unhappy with George W. Bush's presidency because of what we see as his tendency not to admit mistakes and his "my way or the highway" approach to many issues.
As a result, it is important to me, and many Americans, I believe, that our next President displays a level of self-awareness and humility that I don't feel we've seen consistently from President Bush.
What I would like to see is how the candidates address something we can all relate to... a basic interview question that might just shed some light on what kind of President they would be:
What do you consider your greatest strength? And, perhaps more importantly, your biggest weakness?
I would like for you to ask all the candidates:
If you were the only Woman or African American seeking the Democratic Presidential Nomination, what do you think, would be your most difficult challenge and why?
In the 1960 election, John Kennedy and Richard Nixon both spent around $10 million dollars to run for the presidency. Today, it is estimated that each major-party candidate will need to raise between $400-$500 million by election day 2008 to successfully campaign for the presidency.
It seems on the campaign trail the contest is to see who can say the word "change" the most. How can we, as voters (particularly young voters such as myself) except change in the current system when our elected officials are handcuffed to those donating the disgusting $400-$500 million necessary to run for president? How can we expect real change without serious campaign finance reform?
To each candidate:
What is your position on the following topics:
~reforming or eliminating the Patriot Act?
~enforcement of Real-ID?
~whether or not Bush and Cheney should be impeached?
~the situation regarding Congress possibly granting retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies that spy on Americans?
~the North American Union?
~restoring habeus corpus and other liberties guaranteed in the Constitution?
My question is for Senator Obama.
Senator, as we know Washington DC seems to be a "black hole" in terms of its ability to continue as the establishment that it is. How do you practically intend changing this and do you have a sufficient coalition to get it done?
If America is to remain a superpower, we need to make education a priority, especially post-secondary education. What is each candidate's (especially Clinton and Obama) plan to encourage and enable more Americans to attend college, and to deal with the rising costs of tuition and the predatory student loan lenders?
Finally, the United States gives a lot of money to Third World countries in attempt to alleviate hunger. That's great, but what does each candidate plan on doing to alleviate hunger in America?
First off I'm Canadian, I'm not sure if this means I shouldn't be included in the discussion but there is a question that relates to the differences between our two countries that I've always wanted to ask.
In Canada we have a Federal Liberal Party and one of the biggest criticisms of them is that they've gotten too conservative. Yet it seems like in the United States "Liberal" is a four letter word, politicians are always being accused of being too "Liberal" on this or that subject. And the be called a Liberal democrat almost seems like the kiss of death.
My request is simple. I would like all of the candidates on the stage to state one issue they are proudly Liberal on.
I would like both candidates is the way they are running their campaigns an example / reflection of how they will run their white house regarding leadership? I am concerned with the lack of focus on issues / policy. I want a white house and congress that render results. Affordable health care, better education, cleaning environment, low energy costs, safe, and most of all peace with soliders in Iraq either home or helping effors in other areas other than Iraq like Afgahanistan.
Please help tell me where you stand on these issues!
Would you let the partner of your Doctor operate on you ?
I know i wouldnt ! No mater how many other doctors or patients she or he had met !
35 years of experiance or proof that the candidate can not tell the truth ? Does America really want someone who takes credit for someone elses achievements ?
Also how can she honestly believe that of everyone in the USA..... how can it be that two Clintons and two Bushs are the best people of all the land ?
What does it say about America ?
How is going back to the future a change Bush Clinton Bush Clinton ? How is that Change ?
How can she Unite the country when republicans hate her and democrats dont trust her ?
I dont care black or white, man or female !
I also think you should ask them all should The USA get rid of electronic voting machines and have a national standed pen and paper ballot.... simplifed system of voting ? Given what happened in 2000 and 2004 ? And its sure to be an issuse again !
Also I would like to know if all the candidate think the USA should follow Australia's voting system where eveyone over 18 years of age must vote ? So everyones voice is heard ? (If you dont vote your fined I think.... $80 to $140 depending on if its state or federal election)
Ask Mr. Obama, if he were arguing his resume to a future employer (the American people), what things can he bring to the table and has experience on that Mrs. Clinton cannot?
Obviously Obama isn't a Muslim. But does he feel there is something wrong with being a Muslim? He and his staffers immediately go on the defensive as if there's something wrong with the religion.
There are an estimated 16 million Muslims in the U.S.
How do the candidates plan to pay for universal health care with the repealed tax cuts if the American economy teeters on the verge of a recession? Does raising taxes for anyone stimulate the economy? What sort of plan do they have for Social Security or Medicare, two systems which are dragging heavier and heavier on the deficit? What are you going to do to make them sustainable so that generation Y can still utilize them? Can you promise that as our efforts in Iraq slowly draw down that you as president will put that money back into the country?
Unguarded nuclear materials and waste from the former Soviet Union continue to lie scattered, unsecured, and potentially available to terrorists for use in a terrifying "dirty bomb" scenario that could lay waste to western economies. This scenario is vastly more likely than a missile launch on America. I would like the candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of these issue, and discuss policy and programs they would put in place to keep these materials out of the hands of our enemies. I would like to know where funds will come from for such programs (e.g. ballistic missile defense?).
Would the candidates raise sales tax and lower other taxes so that the illegal immigrants find themselves forced to contribute as citizens of the U.S. do so that it's more fair.
Besides Bringing the troops home, name one other major issue you would begin to tackle within the first 100 days of office. Why is that a higher priority over the other issues currently facing the United States?
This question is for Senator Clinton:
Senator Clinton, in the New Hampsire debate you spoke about 35 years of experience and that you were a member of your husband's "White House team" that played an integral role in shaping policy during his eight years as President. My question is did you have an intergral role in shaping NAFTA, the 1994 Crime Bill (three strikes and your out), Don't ask Don't Tell, and 1998 Iraq Liberation Act which was used to justify the 2002 Authorization for use of Military Force Against Iraq for the purpose of regime change?
Follow up qestion: Do you think some of the major legistiation signed into law by your husband has been a postive for the country?
In 2 minutes please tell us why are you the best candidate for the job by discussing your most notable successfully implemented state and/or national office accomplishments and the effects they had on improving the lives of the citizens you represented. This does not include plans that were defeated but something you aided in creating and it was successfully passed by the legislature and then approved by the governor/president.
I would like to hear you ask Obama something like this: "Recently, Karl Rove referred to rumors of your 'laziness' and days of playing pick-up basketball in college. Some took this as a subtle attempt to insert racial stereotypes into your public image. Much publicity has also been given to what some call racist commentary from Senator Clinton's campaign and associates. This includes her comment concerning Martin Luther King and the Guardian's quote of a Clinton adviser saying that voters ought to vote for you if they want a "hip black friend". Do you think that these kinds of comments constitute racism? Did you expect this kind of controversy when you decided to run for President?"
Do you believe the substantial borrowing of money from China is a threat to our national and economic security? If so, what do you plan on doing to mitigate this threat?
I would have to ask if big companies don't have any of these candidates in their pockets then one questions would be.... Would they force oil companies to pay a very high tax unless they lower fuel prices considering the oil companies make trillions in profits. Second what are they going to do to bring jobs back to America and not allow so much imports. Would they say right now to get my vote that they would tax big companies for leaving so when they tried to bring their inventory back to the USA it would be cheaper if they had stayed in the USA. They all talk about helping the middle class well jobs for one is a start. But don't just say what we want to hear, do it!!! Also stem cell research what are their views? In 2001 I had a spinal cord injury and in 2004 I had a computer implant put in my spine which was experimental. Well it works but the only bad thing is only two places in the state of Illinois does it so I have to drive 100 miles to see the Dr Monthly. I personally feel we have way to much technology to be killing babies. Last question would be Iraq. I am a vet from the first Gulf War. And I have to say I said from day one it was wrong to invade Iraq while we let Osama go free. But to say we will bring all troops home ASAP. That would be a lie would it not? To just leave we will face more economical problems than ever. Gas will be $10 a gallon. What is their plan to protect the American people in case Iraq's Government fails and a civil war breaks out. Economically we will suffer.
Is there a reason that my question submitted 5 hours ago is awaiting moderation while others seem to get on?
In one minute, generally discuss why you are the best candidate in comparison to your peers.
Would you ever use a nuclear weapon on humans?
Everyone talk about uniting the country. We are nation of many people and religions. Many races and faces. How do you plan on bringing us closer together as tighter America with racism, sexism, and political divisiveness still apparent within our society?
In Nevada, the Democratic candidates are pledging to call a halt to the federal government's plan to turn Yucca Mountain into a national repository for nuclear waste–a project which has already cost the feds billions of dollars and which has been in the works for more than 2 decades. I would ask the candidates what alternative plans they might have for storing such waste–or if the dangers it allegedly poses are really no big deal after all. And, to expand on this theme, I would ask them how they view the future of nuclear energy in this country.