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.
Mr. Obama – stop with the pie in the sky promises – where are the details - where's the beef? What's your experience - in Kenya?
For all CAndidates:
How much money, approximately, have you accepted from any lobbyist?
Otto von Bismark is quoted as saying "Fools learn from experience, the wise learn from the experience of others." Throughout the early stages of this race, there have been varying references to "experience" and to "change." What specifically do you intend to change and name one or two specific experiences that will allow you to facilitate that change.
I am from a small town in the middle of Missouri where there used to be factories and ones my Mother and Father worked in all their lives. Now we are down to two factories for a town of only 4,000 population. Now Edwards would be my candidate of choice at this time. I hate that this race has become a "race about race". Gender, race and now experience is not important to me it is the economy of small towns like mine. We are "outsourcing" our country to the point where we cannot buy American anymore and that is where the economy has gone. We pay the price. You cannot seperate the War and the Economy because they are related uniformally in that if we had kept our American dollars in this country you would see the economy like it was in the times of the Democratic years. I cannot believe how much is spent on the campaigns when we have people well just read Edwards speeches. I do not care if Obama is black or purple, I don't care if Hillary is male or female I want "change" and Edwards seems to be the only one saying what I want to hear. I was for the war in 2001 to get Bin Laden and then we end up in IraQ and bin laden is still out there building his army and we have a Congress sitting around talking about a surge and benchmarks and why is America in a recession? This is my stance and my story and by golly I'm stickin' to it. Still undecided in Missouri so "show me".
All three candidates are against gay marriage but for domestic partnerships. How do you justify the new "Separate but Equal" for the 21st century?
Ask each one:
Cite an actual case in the past that will tell us that you are a natural agent of change and not one suddenly emerging because it is politically exciting to see so.
In their socialized health care plans, how do the candidates plan to avoid the pitfalls already seen in health care programs in Europe, such as long waits for non-emergent care and essentially a two-tier system of public and private care?
We've heard the candidates discuss big buisness and how corporations have overtaken our government with special interest groups and as well as lobbyists. How then, do candidates justify taking large sums of money in the form of campaign donations in their bid for the whitehouse. To whom will they owe their allegience...the company that gave them 200,000 or the little old lady who sent in her last 25.00.
All of the candidates talk in vague terms about creating a better future for our children but none of them address the looming crisis with Medicare and Social Security funding.
Please ask them specifically what they would do, and if, as most have the answer form a bi-partisan commission to study, why they don't have their own opinion and aren't willing to offer any leadership on such an important issue.
What are the candidates going to specifically do to bring about gay civil unions? You all say you support them, but what will you do to make sure it happens, and soon?
I would like to know which candidates are willing to lower the age of eligiblity for Medicare to age 55? Why would they find fault with allowing a healthier block of people (and their premiums) help subsidized a failing agency?
I would also like to know what specific plans the candidates have to help the people in the middle class, who are not having problems with their mortgage, however, still live paycheck to paycheck due to the rising costs of food, oil, health insurance, etc?
If you were a different color or sex would your campaign be easier or more difficult?
I would like to ask Hillary as a hard-core Democrat, why do I feel more and more every day like I am in favor of Obama? All year I have been anxiously following the Clinton campaign, reading her website, watching video. Suddenly, after hearing Obama speak and reading his plan I somehow feel transformed and that he will save this country.
Hillary, tell me how you will inspire me to bring about change when you fall in the mantra of Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, Clinton.
One question for Hillary Clinton. DOES SHE EXPECT AFRICAN AMERICANS TO VOTE FOR HER IF SHE IS THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE AFTER THE NEGATIVE REMARKS SHE AND HER HUSBAND HAVE MADE, AND ARE MAKING ABOUT BARACK OBAMA?
Change is all this country needs, especially after suffering from all aspects of the Bush administration, to undo all the mess that our country got into. I used to think of going back to the Clinton administration, but now, I started to think we need a little more change than that, Obama's change, hope and beleiving in our potential to bring it.
Ask Obama: With his wealth, why hasn't he helped his Grandmother get out of that poverty looking home in Kenya? What are his CHANGES, he has not explained them and about this UNITE the country thing, how is he doing that?
Remember, President Bush promised to UNITE the country and clean up the White House, you see where that got us.
To Clinton: If you weren't married to a well-loved two-term former president, do you think you would have front-runner status, or would you be running in the first place?
What changes are they talking about? Our parents Health-Care, Social Security issue, or Our Kids Education. Because I need to find out what would they do before I even VOTE to any of them. Because How many of us feel secure about our future?
I can speech about Changes But I need tha plan layout..
I hope your questions do not amount to a cake walk.
How can you possible characterize the administrations Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush and possible Clinton again as change? 24 years in the same families. If Hillary is elected is Jeb Bush next? Break the cycle.
To each candidate. How many years of public service? Comment: How does Hillary Clinton count so many years of public service? Does that mean as Co-governor and Co-president? I only know she served in the Senate. If it were not for Hillary being President Clinton's wife, she would not be in the spotlight at all and the same for President Bush. Families do matter.
How does Rudy Giuliani explain hiding expenses in obscure department budgest so he could run around on his wife? If you or I tried that we would be fired or in jail on tax evasion.
Did Giuliani declare the expense associate with his tryst as business expense on his taxes?
Does Huckabee approve of the Baptists attacks of the Mormons at their General Conferences and elsewhere? They are the only faith that does so. Catholic, Jews, Muslims, and other Protestants do not attach the Mormons.
Please ask a simple and significant question:
Do you believe that each of your opponents is "electable", that is, fully capable of winning the 2008 Presidential election?
The answer must be simple and absolute, and not relative. That is, it is not responsive to say: we are all electable, but I am more electable.
Why are we pouring billions of dollars of aid into other countries, not to mention the wars, yet my university has to take a mere $10 million budget cut?
I would ask the candidates how are all of the promised and proposed public spending and aid programs that Hillary and other Democratic candidates say they will put in place if elected president going to be paid for?
As it is we can't pay for the ones we already have (deficit spending and all).
As it stands Congress can't pass a budget on time without BILLIONS of Dollars in earmarks to grease it through.
As it is, we've seen Congress unable or unwilling to control spending on the programs already in place.
As it is, Congress' track record for new progrmas shows us programs estimated costs to be pennies on the dollar of what they turn out to cost over time.
We know someone has to pay for them. I hear the 'Sock it to the Rich' chant, but what defines rich, middle class, working class, and poor?
I would also ask the candidates which older or outdated programs would be cut to control spending under their administrations.
It seems all the original reasons (a.k.a. lies) made by Bush for going to war in Iraq have been debunked. Sadam Hussein was not tried for genocide or crimes against humanity. There were no weapons of mass destruction- hence no evidence of same and Iraq was not a hot bed of terrorism. I expect people in your positions to have real knowledge about what's going on. So what was the real reason for going to war in Iraq? Was it to control oil markets and handing multi national corporations billions of dollars? And, why is the new U.S. embassy in Baghdad so montrously big? What all will be going on there beside housing a few diplomats and giving them a gym and swimming pool.
If you were a different color or gender would your campaign be easier or more difficult?
What are you going to do about the dollar losing its value?