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.
I have several questions for Hillary Clinton:
1. If you or some of your surrogates are going to be promoting a potential Obama scandal involving Mr. Rezko (see Peggy Noonan aritcle on the WSJ), can you comment about a similar predicament that invovles you and Peter Paul, a lawsuit which is currently under review in the California Supreme Court.
2. Your campaign has promoted several racial issues regarding Obama: 1. the comparisons and denegration of Dr. King, 2. the questionable "fairy tale" incident 3. the question of drugs by your campaign manager Mr. Shaheen etc. How can we believe your denails of not insinuating race into this campaign when you have several consistent incidents?
3. Her message has changed so many times in the last 2 months, what does she now stand for?
4. Several divisive comments have been made by your campaign over the last month. This is in spite of your criticism of slinging mud at the last CNN debate. Why have you pursued a tactic that you have decried and how can this be good for the Democratic party or the American people?
I am very worried about our growing national debt. Could you ask the candidates if they have any long term plans to reduce the debt (not just the deficit!) so that my generation of 20-somethings aren't stuck with the bill 20-30 years from now.
Stefan, Rhode Island
Question to Barrack:
Why are you not talking about Iraq anymore? Since events drastically changed to the better in Iraq......I have not heard anything. Do you still insist on the defeat?
I would ask the Candidates whether or not they view the Constitution of the United States as a "living" document which is subject to change with time and the politics of the day , or is it a document which should be strictly preserved as it was written by our founding fathers.
*The reason I ask this is because the candidates often do not want to expose thier views on some constitutional issues such as Gun Rights, freedom of Speech Issues, Rights to Privacy Issues, and seperation of Church and State issues*
Why hasn't your campaign denounced the theory that your loss in NH was based on racism? It is clear that the cable news would like to hold that up as one of the major reasons along with the theory that Senator Clinton got a sympathy vote from women and that independent voters did not follow through on their support of your candidacy. You seem to leave the racial charges to those supporting you and the news media; however, you should respond to those charges if you believe or don't believe them to be true.
Thank you for asking: I I have not heard the issue of civil liberties addressed in any forum. Most Americans can agree that the last 7 years have witnessed an alarming consolidation of power in the Executive branch of our government, at the expense of ordinary citizens' civil liberties, and the Constitution itself. Broadly, it includes warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, habeas corpus, torture, kidnap and detention as tools of foreign policy, surveillance of American citizens through data collection, storage, tracking and mining, abuses of the Patriot Act, government secrecy, presidential signing statements–the list goes on.
I would ask the Democratic candidates how and if they would turn the clock back on these abuses, and the powers self-granted by the current administration. Further, I would ask them to expound generally on their views of the balance of power set forth in the Constitution, and their thoughts on the balance between civil liberties and national security.
Please ask about "No Child Left Behind."
Who is for totally doing away with it and who is for tweaking it?
How would those who want to tweak it do so? What part of it do they think is working?
Hey, I was able to do that without once using the word CHANGE!!
Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to the debate.
I'd like to ask John Edwards: What makes you think you are a viable national presidential candidate when you know that you could not even carry North Carolina the last go 'round......and most of us in N.C. doubt you could successfully return to the Senate in a subsequent campaign......
Maybe you could even suggest he come back here and try to become the governor....we have fared better electing Democrats there. Maybe after several years of that he would be more viable as a national presidential candidate.
Love the guy.....but doubt his qualifications now more than ever.
Question to JOHN EDWARDS:
WHAT SOCIETY FORMULA WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
1) If State (Government) will get richer - the people of the State will benefit.
2) If people of the State will get richer - the Government will benefit.
There are 2 big differences in the approach. This answer will determine if I vote for you or the Republican.
When you stated that "you found your voice," can I deem that to mean that your voice was actually more clearly defined as opposed to non-existent?
Also, do you think that it is more difficult in this country to be a woman and have a voice because of the negative connotation of a woman with a voice? And how would you overcome that when dealing with world leaders, many of whom denounce women altogether?
I want to know what each candidate will do about those companies that avoid taxes by having a PO Box in the Bahamas or another island just off the East Coast.
I also want to know how he would encourage more manufacturing jobs to come back to the U.S.
I would ask them all if they are going to increase our taxes. I want to vote for a democrate this time, but I hate paying more taxes. The only good thing George Bush has done in 8 years is the tax cut. If we increase the capital gain tax back, there will be a big outflow of capital from the USA.
George W. promised to be a "uniter, not a divider". Look how that has worked out!!!!
I would like to know from Obama how he plans to do this. Exactly, what will he unite and how will he do it? How will my voice be heard? I am a middle class teacher who can't save a dime.
I would ask Obama what bills he has championed, and fought for at the podium while Senator, and what positive changes he has brought to Illinois.
Since change is the word of this election could you please ask each candidate what change they have produced in their lifetime of experience. Hillary speaks about 35 years of experience of bringing change. Specifics ! We need specifics on issues !
Education -How will they improve it ? Make college more affordable.
The current housing crisis : If they were President today what would they do exactly ?
How would each candidate improve our trade deficit with China ? Or with anyone ?
Please ask the candidates: What role do you think foreign aid plays in the safety of our country?
I would ask what each candidate thinks causes the high dropout rate in high school. Knowing the underlying cause of a problem is essential to how a candidate will try to solve the issue. This also is a question that hasn't been asked repeatedly in multiple debates.
For Sen. Obama, I would ask how he would differentiate himself from the current president, who also during his campaign in 2000 said he would make washington less partisan and was also criticized with having little experience.
I would hope he is asked about his plans, both immediate and long-term, regarding how to deal with the economic mess and stress brought to us in most part by the current administration.
Will you allow prescription drug trade to once again exist between Canada and the US so that our seniors can stop suffering with high prescription costs?
What else can you do to secure a better life for our greatest people, the seniors?
I would ask them if they are interested in some more election promises and legislative agenda's OR if they are ready for the kind of natural leadership that inspires Americans, moves Americans.
I would ask them if they know that great things are ahead for us all; just over the February 5th horizon. I would ask them 'Are you ready to join a fresh American movement in a rising barometer, on a incoming tide, a course charted in a sea of change with challenges ahead.- that only Leadership; not policies will pull us together, and get us through.
Are they ready for this course, a course that is genuine, and a course that when last was traveled- we peacefully placed our flag upon the Sea of Tranquility, we corrected Social Injustice, and united, we brought down an 'evil Empire.'
I would ask them if they ARE READY, FIRED UP, and READY TO GO!!!!
The states of AZ and OK both passed legislation which would self-deport illegals. I think it is a wonderful thing. If states can pass laws banning free handouts to people here illegally a) why hasn't Congress passed something similar? b) since Congress has been lax on the easiest issue to fix, do you pledge you will force something similar into law in your first month?
Ask Barack Obama:
What experience does he have dealing with women's issues both nationally and internationally? As a woman outside of the US, I know Hillary's presidency is going to bring a lot of positive changes in the lives of women in developing countires as she has always been workign in these issues – the Beijing +5 is only a small example. As women in countries outside of the US, we are all excited about such a qualified women running for the presidency in the United States.
Also, ask Barack Obama if he thinks the "experience factor" is important while running for a president. Is it something that should be completely overlooked? And why does he think that with years of experience that Hillary brings to the table, he assumes that she is not going to bring a change. Change and experience goes side by side and should not be overlooked in isolation. Ask the same question to the other candidates.
Oh, and ask if they Will put George W. Bush on an 8 dollar bill to represent his 8 wasted years. in which he completely ignored the American people.
Seriously, what will you change for the American people? Health Care, Schools, Taxes?
I would like to ask Hillary why she questions Obama's vote to fund the war.
Obama oppsed the war and he was righ while Hillary voted for the war.
Obama voted to fund the war so our men and women in the harm way have
what they needed while Hillary opposed. I think he was right on both while she was wrong on both votes.
I would ask Clinton: With your negatives so high (at 47%), doesn't that mean you have to get virtually every other vote? Other candidates do not have the high negatives and will not bring out the republican voters. How is that good for the party?