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. Lynn

    Please ask all the candiates about their tax reform positions. To encourage Americans to save, would they consider eliminating the taxation of interest earned on savings and CD for the AVERAGE middle income American, by eliminating taxes on any interest and/or dividends less than $20,000 per year.

    This would serve as an enticement to save money toward retirement, which would go far to supplement and reduce social security reliance.

    Currently, if you save it, it's taxed; if you spend it, taxed and when you die it's taxed.

    MIDDLE America needs tax breaks.....there are NO existing loopholes for the average Joe.

    Those who earn $100's of thousand and millions have the loopholes and don't have simple bank accounts.

    WHO is willing to step the plate and help middle America?

    January 13, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Al in BR, La

    With almost all candidates refusing to set a 'date certain' to pull our troops out of Iraq, do any of these candidates see a 'floor' for the American dollar that would cause them to pull our troops out?

    January 13, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  3. Dave

    John Kennedy promised the nation, without equivocation,that by the end of the decade the U.S. would have a man on the moon. It was perceived as visionary, if not improbable, but it happened in the 60's although, sadly, not in his lifetime.
    Will you–Obama, Edwards, Clinton–promise the country, without any equivocation, that in your tenure as President we will find a cure for cancer and for Alzheimer's disease? If so, how? If not, why not?

    January 13, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Bonita Porter

    My question is in regard to entitlement programs, specifically SSI and welfare. What are you willing to do to clean these progams up?

    January 13, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Brenda

    I would like to ask Senator Obama if he would take steps to reduce the powers of the executive branch that were concieved and promoted by Vice President Cheney. I would also like to ask Senator Obama if he would immediately, if elected, take action to repeal the Patriot Act.

    January 13, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Kristina Mohamed

    Hi Wolfe,

    While I like B.Obama policies of change and his plans for America best... I will want to vote for Sen Hillary Clinton based on her chances of electability exclusively.

    I would like to ask Barrack Obama if he does win the democratic primaries ... how will he make himself more electable to win the bid for white house; Since everyone seems to be projecting Sen Hillary Clinton as the one with best electability for the democratic candidates.

    January 13, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. carina

    Please wolf, ask the candidates this question.
    All of them are promising the voters that if they are electec president they will listen to the voters. A very high percentage of the population in this country is against the invasion of illegal immigrants, and all Democratic candidates are pro-illegal. This means that they are not listening to the voice of the citizen voters, they are listening to the law breakers. Senator Clinton, Senator Obama, and Senator Edwards have made it clear that protecting the illegal immigrants (law breakers) will be their first priority if the are elected.

    January 13, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Robert H

    I have two burning questions for the democratic candidates: how do they plan on spending for health care reform or any other expensive programs, when the Bush administration has tragically squandered our resources in Iraq and thrown us into massive debt. After Iraq how can we afford any of the programs you propose of healthcare, education, infrastructure, security etc. It is one thing to promise a program and another to pay for it.

    After starting a war, detaining and torturing political prisoners without trial for 6 years, after unilaterally discarding weapons treaties and the Geneva conventions how do you plan to rebuild the good name of our Nation in the eyes of the world and its own citizens?

    January 13, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Craig

    RE: Question for the candiates at the Democratic debate

    Dear Wolf,

    I've been very concerned about the current mortage crisis in America.

    Recently, I read in the news a story about Angelo Mozilo, CEO of the failed mortage giant, Countrywide. Mr. Mozilo stands to receive as much as $100 million in bonuses and perks once Bank of America buys his failed company. This, even as the people for whom his company was supposed to help are - at this very moment - losing their homes.

    Here is my question to the candidates: Do you think it's fair that failed CEO's receive such bonuses at the expense of the people who suffer, or do you think CEO's and corporations should be held accountable? If so, are any of you willing to introduce legislation to stop such inequality?

    Thank you,

    Craig, a concerned American living in Paris

    January 13, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. Sandy

    Question for Senator Clinton:

    Please explain how you can make changes when you have taken campaign contributions from drug companies and insurance companies.

    January 13, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Jodi

    Politics as a whole has progressed into nothing more than a struggle for power and money. 'Big Business' seems to run this country more so than the 'average' american. And as these people who run these major corporations go home each night to their multi-million dollar mansions the number of homeless people continues to grow. Politics is supposed to be about taking care of the AMERICAN people, our wonderful country and our way of life. America is supposedly the 'Land of Opportunity' but if you visit almost any major city in America you will see countless people that seem to have been forgotten by their own government.

    I would like to know from ANY candidate what, if any, plans they have for addressing the issue of poverty and homelessness within their own country.

    January 13, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Angel Jordan

    I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHY IT IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FOR HILLARY CLINTON TO USE GENDER TO GET AHEAD IN HER CAMPAIGNING (i.e. I thought the world was ready for a woman president, etc.)? AND NO ONE IS RAISING THE CONCERN OF SEXCISM...... ON THE OTHER HAND IF BARACK OBAMA WERE TO USE HIS RACE AS A CAMPAIGNING STRATEGY, I'M SURE THE QUESTION OF RACISM WOULD COME ABOUT. DOES SEXCISM AND RACISM NOT FALL ALONG THE SAME LINES?

    IMAGINE BARACK OBAMA GIVING A SPEECH AND CONSTANTLY REFERRING TO BEING A BLACK MAN. IT WOULD DEFINATELY RAISE QUITE A FEW EYEBROWS AND MAYBE EVEN MAKE SOME UNCOMFORTABLE. WHY IS THE SAME STANDARD NOT UPHELD WHEN IT COMES TO HILLARY CLINTON CONSTANTLY REFERRING TO HER GENDER?

    FINALLY, HILLARY IS ALWAYS REMINDING EVERYONE OF HER EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE. HAS SHE EVER STOPPED TO THINK ABOUT THE LARGE AGE GAP BETWEEN HER AND BARACK OBAMA? ONCE HE REACHES THAT AGE, I'M SURE HE WOULD HAVE COMPARABLE EXPERIENCE, IF NOT MORE.

    THANK YOU CNN AND WOLF BLITZER FOR LETTING THE AMERICAN PEOPLE VOICE THEIR OPINIONS.

    January 13, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Wade H

    To all or any of the candidates:

    - Do you think it is a role of the United States government to spread democracy to the Middle East?

    January 13, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Ken

    Do the candidates think the Earth's human population going from 6.5 billion to 9 billion in the next 37 years is appropriate behavior given global warming and pollution, lack of sufficient clean water and food, destruction of habit, loss of species, and threat for disease? If not, what would they do to encourage some sanity worldwide with high birth rates causing Ethipia's population to grow 23% in the next decade, Angola's 22% ,Guatamala's 22% (despite significant emmigratin), Saudi Arabia's 21%, Eygpt's 17%, India's 16%, Mexico's 12% (even after significant emmigration to the U.S.), and Indonesia's 12%.

    January 13, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Harriet

    Mr. Obama has made a political decision to distance himself from those in the civil rights community who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and yet he invokes Dr. King's legacy in his speeches. Why has he distanced himself from the the people who helped realize the dream of so many African Americans?

    January 13, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Dan L

    Wolf,
    I would ask the candidates why they do not support a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Why, when our military is stretched thin do they not support openly gay members of the military who want to server their country.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    January 13, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Russell F

    How do you plan on addressing the large trade deficit and reversing the thousands of lost American jobs to china within your first term in the White House.

    January 13, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. ellijayman

    All Democratic candidates:

    What is your position on immigration?

    January 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Robert

    I would ask Obama how he can speak of inclusiveness when he attends a church, the Trinity United Church of Christ, which seems to have a "blacks only" doctrine.

    January 13, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. LJ from Buffalo,NY

    My question and concern is this: Bush #2 waged the war on terror due to the 9/11 attack by Al Queada and Osama Bin Laden, but most of the energy seemed to be concentrated on Iraq and Saddam with Afganistan in the background. It's been said [in some circles] getting rid of Saddam and company was to finish thingsfor his father Bush#1, maybe in part. My question is this: there has been alot of attention given to the fact that Obama's father is from Kenya in Africa, my heart goes out to the people of Africa with all their heartbreaking problems of famine,aids, and slaughtering of their people in Congo, Dafar, and such,they do need help, What is the position of Obama as to Dafar and such as to getting the US militarily involved being that he has such close familiar ties to the area? Also I would like the comments of John Edwards and Hiliary Clinton on this matter. The military issues cut real close to my heart as I've had family in all the wars since WWI and now my son who has been in the military since 1989 and Gulf War 1, served both in Iraq and Afganistan[where he was wounded] and my daughter-in-law who also is in the military served in Afganistan, the thought of going to the junles of Africa are just overwhelming. My husband in Veitnam[27 months of our life] was worrisome enough. Handling a deployment such as the unknown of Africa may just to much to comprehend, maybe if my father would have given me his consent to serve medically in Veitnam would have quelled my fears, my son thinks I'd find a way of handling it cause I always do, if he only knew . Thank you for letting me comment.

    January 13, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. John

    I just heard Hillary's new lines for South Carolina. They are all about us all getting together as Americans and how we can bring together all l the energy and powers of innovation that our diversity provides us.

    In other words, she's basically adopted Obama's campaign message as her own.

    So here's my question for Hillary: When the election is over and she's sitting in the White House without the electoral imperative of altering her message, why would people believe that she won't simply revert to the old approach of devious Clintonian political strategizing?

    January 13, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Lorry Mulhern

    Please ask Obama and Clinton why only now, in the past couple of weeks, their campaign rhetoric has begun to center on the economy? In fairness, isn't the state of the economy for the middle class a campaign issue that John Edwards has been championing from the beginning?? In fact, Clinton and Obama seem to "follow" Edwards on many issues, i.e. – Universal Health Care, the mortgage crisis (isn't that a result of the entrenched "coroporate greed" that Edwards has long discussed?), etc. etc. Frankly, I hear them over and over mirroring Edwards positions, after the fact? And, Sen. Clinton is now even talking about "giving voice" to the middle class, and sadly, that is verbiage straight out of Sen. Edwards speeches?

    January 13, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. DAB

    What would the Democrats do to restore the sovereignty of the United States? Examples: letting the UN determine policy; fighting a war for economic issues that only benefit a small % of the population; basing our values on somehting other than our constitution?

    January 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. LJ from Buffalo,NY

    Thank you for posting my comment, I'd like to know have you received other concerns on this issue? Good luck with your upcoming debate I'll be watching. Supporting you from Buffalo.

    January 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. Michael

    All the candidates support achieving some sort of health coverage for all Americans. They debate fine points of getting there. And they all are saying that they would begin to create legislation once in office.
    There is however, right now, a bipartisan bill in Congress titled the 'Health Americans Act'. It is complete legislation, not something yet to be figured out, needing umpteen more commitee meetings and public forums. It has been through all of that. Created from many years of just exactly that. Why do not any of you support S.334 the 'Healthy Americans Act'?

    January 13, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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