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.
Are the Democrats strong enough to say that No Child Left Behind is a failed program and then poll teachers, principals, and parents to learn what they want as a national policy for education? And are the Democrats in favor of the states having final say in the structure of their schools?
When President Bush was elected, he referred to himself as a "uniter not a divider". While his record in Texas would have supported that slogan, something happened when he got to Washington, D.C. Do you see "partisianship" as an significant obstacle to getting things done in Washington, and if so, how would you go about dealing with this problem and why would you be more effective than the other candidates?
To all canidates, whom are they considering for their VP?
Why should my tax dollars go to care for someone who doesn't care for themselves? As an example we know that smoking causes many different health related problems...will people using universal health care still be able to smoke?
I would ask Hillary if what she meant when she said "there is no illegal women" represents a policy decision by her that our borders should not be secured.
What, if anything, should be done to improve services by the Small Business Administration? Should big government subsidize small business?
Attn: Mr. Blitzer
Re the questions you will ask the Presidential Candidates during the Congressional Black Caucus Institute Debate, please assure the following:
1. That you hold all the candidates to the same standard; meaning if you ask Senator Obama African American-related questions, that you also request answers from the other candidates.
2. The prison industrial complex in South Carolina is the largest industry of which 80% of the inmates are Black. Since Senator touts her 35 years' experience, which I assume includes work as First Lady, does she also take credit for (1) the fallout and lingering impact of Welfare Reform; (2) 3 stikes and you're out which helped to increase the number of Black in U.S. prisons, and (3) until the recent Supreme Court ruling, the unfair imprisonment of individuals caught with crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine. Numbers 2 & 3 are the chief cause of the one million Blacks now in U.S. prisons.
3. How will candidates make "No Child Left Behind" a funded mandate and it will bring balanced support to urban schools?
4. In regards to jobs for Americans, how soon can green technology bring jobs to urban cities? What training will be offered? What about jobs in rebuilding the nation's infrastructure? And, how will the candidates stop outsourcing of jobs?
I would like to know why Senator Obama did not take a position on many issues when he was in the state legislature. Why was he "present" as opposed to taking a stand on either side of an issue?
TO OBAMA: Would Hillary Clinton be good enough to be your Vice President if you are the Democratic Presidential nominee? Would you be good enough choice for Vice President if Hillary wins the nomination?
TO HILLARY: Same Question.
Senator Clinton, you speak a lot about your experience in the public sector, and how that will make you a more effective President from day one. My question is do you believe that being married to someone and counseling them about their career is the same as actually having that career? If I was married to a lawyer, I wouldn’t claim to be experienced enough to represent my wife’s clients in court. Being First Lady has lots of responsibilities, but does it qualify someone to be the President of the United State of America?
To All Candidates:
A large part of the ineffectiveness in Washington is due to the stalemate between Congress and the Oval Office. As President, what would you do to bridge partisan gaps and get things done in the federal government.
Senator McCain has said that he would be open to having Democrats in his cabinet. Would any of you seriously consider a Republican for a position in your cabinet? Would any of you be willing to set your differences aside and be a running mate for any man or woman you are on stage with now for the betterment of the nation?
It may seem harsh, but given the global cast of characters the U.S. has to deal with these days (the Middle East, China, N. Korea, Africa) Why does Clinton think that a westernized woman will have nearly as much respect and pull in the world than a man with an African/Islamic name. Condi already has a hard enough time dealing with global figures because shes a woman. In many ways Clinton is seen by the world as part of the problem to begin with. She voted to go to Iraq...the world will not forget that when she calls for peace.
Hillary's experience starting 35 years back
1973 Graduation from Yale
1975 Married Bill Clinton
1979 to 1981 First Lady of Arkansas
1983 to 1992 First Lady of Arkansas
1994 Failed to pass Clinton Health Plan as First Lady
1996 The only First Lady to be subpoenaed
2000 Elected to Senate
2006 Re-elected to Senate
2008 Presidential Bid
The only thing she looks to be qualifed for is First Lady, but she didn't do very well at that as her husband cheated on her time after time and some of you want her to run our country?
Senator Obama has touted judgment over experience in this campaign, and Senator Clinton has touted her 35 years of experience. Assuming both are important to being President, Senator Obama please tell us about the most significant experience you would draw on as president, and Senator Clinton give us an example of how your judgment equals your experience.
All of Clinton's, "experience" means nothing when she did not have enough forsight or morals to vote "no" to Iraq
I would ask Senator Clinton how probable it would likly be fo her to produce change as she says she has all her life, when she has a horrendous trackrecord of being able to bring republicans and democrats to work together for common goals. It is notworthy to state that the only noteworthy asseignment the fornmer President Bill Clinton asseigned to her was the healthcare plan, she could't even get that one done, so how can she talk about change when she couldent even deliver on that? wouldent Obama be more capable of bringing about that change, since he isnt hated and detested by the republicans as she is? plus one last thing, please ask her about how little she achieved in all those 35 years sof experience she keeps making up, what 35 years? are you counting your time as first lady as experience? what did you get done in your time as first lady? NOTHING.
Thanks Wolf, g´hit them hard with the tough questions.
What part of taking charge of our borders, and sending "illegal" aliens home before offering them any path but that one to their foriegn homelands don't you understand?
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.
This question is to all three candidates: should you win the democratic nomination, who would you pick as your running mate agins the republicans?
Thanks again Wolf.
thanks for having John Edwards on your show. it seems like the media has forgotten we still have until November to vote, and yes, there is still Texas left to vote. any way good job. also, the political bowl is pretty good too.
Wolf, I want to ask the candadates if they plan on launching a new investigation as to the events in 9/11. Why is it that the Twin Towers were demolished? Many credible demolishinists testify that it was. Why are these crucial questions ignored? I am not a conspiracy theorist, just a concerned citizen who has seen the footage over again like the rest of the world.
This question is directed at Mrs. Clinton. I want to know why she is able to comfortably talk about the women vote and women issues but has the audacity to try and belittle Obama's mentioning of the late great Dr. King and what he meant to the cause of bringing change to this country in the area of equality?
To Hillary: How does she intend to circumvent the many health insurance and pharmaceutical company lobbyists that have such an influence on congress while she attempts to push her Healthcare reform plan?
To John and Barack: Both candidates recognize the negative influence some lobbyists can have for the American people. What are their plans to reduce the influence of lobbyists (especially the for the Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance industries)? Are they willing to do away with financial incentives and force the industries to debate in front of congress to make their case?
To Barack: Can he describe for us his shift in stance on the Iraq war from 2002 to present. The question is important because he claims not to make decisions for political reasons, yet on Meet the Press he claims his decisions were for political reasons.
To Barack: Why did he strongly deny his Muslim upbringing? This question is important because it points to integrity. This country has lived through 8 years of lies. Denial of his Muslim upbringing implies he is uncomfortable or has something to hide. I've not heard anybody call him on this and wonder why that is.
To all three candidates:
Much has been made about the different levels of experience between the candidates on this stage. I want to ask each candidate, "Specifically, what experience do you bring to the table that the other candidates on this stage do not? Please talk particularly to your years as a public servant and in elected office and to the objectives you have been able to accomplish in that time."
To Senator Obama:
Recent ads and statements from opposing campaigns have targeted your record in the Illinois Senate on reproductive freedom, the consistency of your position against the Iraq war, and the teeth of the ethics reform legislation that you helped to pass in the Senate. How do you respond to these attacks?
To Senator Clinton:
In a recent Fox 5 – The Washington Times – Rasmussen Reports poll that asked Americans who they would most want to keep out of the White House, you were the number one "anti" pick with 40% of the vote, more than twice the total of the number two "anti" pick, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani. If you were the Democratic nominee for president, how would you overcome this animosity towards your candidacy in order to win the general election?
To Senator Edwards:
You have said that it is time for change in America, and have indicated on a number of occasions that you believe that you and Senator Obama are the change candidates in this contest. What do you say to the charge that your candidacy pulls votes away from Senator Obama and that the longer you remain in this race, the more likely it is that Senator Clinton will get the Democratic nomination?
Just because you have experience and a 'track record', what else about you makes you qualified to be a symbol of freedom and hope?