January 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
2 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. Joe Maher

    Wolf, in a brief interview with Dr. Ron Paul you touched on the "War on Drugs" as an issue of race in this country. I had a lot of respect for CNN for airing those points of view, as it is a common belief and a pressing issue where I am from and yet we do not hear it discussed very often.

    Would you please ask the candidates how they would adjust the criminal laws that have been put during the former administration? I would like to know how they would defend the civil liberties of the most troubled members of societies, particularly the minorities that are persecuted to fill monthly quotas. Moreover, how do the candidates intend to battle violent or drug crimes at their source, without simply labeling the lower classes of our society as "criminal" and casting them aside?

    Thank you again for this opportunity.

    January 13, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. Undecided in Arizona

    For Senator Obama: during your speeches at campaign events, you ask attendees to "stand if they are ready for change." Yet, there are over 100 instances in which you voted "present" during your tenure in the Illinois State Senate rather than to take a "stand" by voting. Please explain to the voters why you elected to vote as "present".

    For Senator Clinton: you voted on the non-binding senate resolution designating the Iranian Republican Guard as terrorists. Please explain the rational for your vote and its implactions for the United States.

    January 13, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  3. Robert- Indiana Unversity Studnet

    Would you please ask OBAMA about his ties with Tony Rezko and how his past errors in judgment could effect his decisions in the future. He defends his lack of expereince by saying that he has sound judgment.

    January 13, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Dawn

    Wolf,

    Would you ask both Hillary, and Barack to tone down the political jabs. We want to win.

    I love TJ's youthful reporting, he's great. Could you ask him to stop saying "git", instead of "get".

    Keep up the good reporting–CNN is the best.

    January 13, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  5. Robert- Indiana Unversity Studnet

    I find that I must accuse Former Sen. Edwards of using Obama's win in Iowa as a means of bringing down the Clinton campaign. This seems like a dirty and low tactic. The media should confront him about this!!!

    January 13, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  6. Eric Romans

    Here's something no one seems to want to talk about. To all of the candidates: What are you going to do to stop the genocide in Dafur, the atrocities in Myanmar, and the other crimes against humanity throughout the rest of the third world?
    -Eric

    January 13, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  7. Robert- Indiana Unversity Studnet

    To all of the Canidates:

    Given the completive nature of today’s global marketplace, what will you do as president to reform the American Education system to give young American’s an edged against foreign workers who are willing to take our jobs and be compensated several times less?

    January 13, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  8. Stephen Dougherty

    I would ask Sen. Obama how he plans to overcome his own sensationalism. Granted, it's propelled him into the national spotlight and he will have my vote in New York, but a sensationalistic approach only lasts so long. My question is: How would you create a sense of belonging and political seniority without giving in to the political machinations of greed and corporate influence that seem to have infected national politics?

    January 13, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Marc

    Senator Obama, during your campaign you have presented yourself as a hopeful candidate that can unite the country and move us forward to take on the challenges that face us. Senator Clinton has criticized you as not having a record of affecting real change for ordinary Americans. Can you tell the voters of South Carolina what in your record shows you have produced real results to back up your rhetoric?

    January 13, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. Philo

    Hi Wolf,

    Please ask the candidates 1) how important is "Bill Clinton's" involvement in the campaigning?; 2) was it Bill Clinton's influence that made the difference in NH?
    3) what evidence have we seen that Hillary has found her own stride? and 4) is it that Hillary has found the optimal way to exploit Bill's popularity and influence?

    Thanks,

    Philo, CA

    January 13, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. Fred

    Hi and thanks for asking,

    Debates where candidates give short answers on a variety of topics, do not truly serve our need for real solutions to real problems, because the discussion always stays on the surface level.

    Each debate should be on only one problem area (health care, the war, global warming, etc.) and let's see an in-depth discussion for an hour or two on just that topic. This format would show us who really has a grasp of the issues, and how deep and real their thinking is.

    What a service to our country, if you would sponsor a real discussion, rather than an hour of sound bites. The purpose of such 'debates' would actually be a national discussion about solutions. What a refreshingly new thing that would be! And so preciously needed.

    You could still make lots of money doing this, too. :)

    Thanks,

    Fred

    January 13, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  12. Cedric

    A question I like to ask from all three candidates is:
    There are many terrorist organizations around the world today. All pose a severe threat to the world peace. One of the world’s ruthless is the “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” in Sri Lanka, or in short, the “Tamil Tigers”. This group is described by the FBI as “that perfected the use of suicide bombers; Invented the suicide belt; Pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks; Murdered some 4,000 people in the past two years alone; and assassinated two world leaders-the only terrorist organization to do so”. There is an attempt by supporters of this organization who are citizens of the United States to donate large sums of money to Presidential candidates posing as ‘supporters of freedom fighters in Sri Lanka’ to gain support for their cause from the future US President. What is your stance on such as approach? How would you recognize an attempt by a terrorist organization to donate for your campaign when they only show themselves as US citizens?

    January 13, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Ron in Texas

    Wolf,
    My questions are for Senator Clinton, and Obama.
    When you take the oath of office, you will swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This means its laws. Will you really direct your Atty. General to enforce the laws or will you pick and choose the ones that fit your beat interest to enforce, as Bush has, and this includes our immigration laws.

    My next question is for Senator Obama. It is a proven fact that most children follow the religion of their parents. One of your parents was a Muslim. How can you explain your distance from the Muslim religion?

    January 13, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. GA

    In light of the recent racial tensions and the focus on the Clintons' statements related to MLK and the Obama's denials of introducing any comments to contribute to these tension, I would like Mr. Obama to answer questions related to Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s (Obama's National Campaign Co-Chair) statements shortly after Senator Clinton's win in NH. Mr. Jackson, Jr questioned the authenticity of Senator Clinton's emotions during a NH campaign stop, and questioned why she would get emotional about "her appearance" but not cry tears for Hurricane Katrina victims. I felt very alarmed when I read these statements, because I felt he was deliberately introducing racial issues into a situation (Clinton talking to a group of women about how she copes with a stressful campaign) that had NOTHING to do with race. Ms. Clinton's appearance had nothing to do with why she became emotional; she was talking about her strong interest in public service. In the spirit of fairness, I believe Mr. Obama should answer questions about Mr. Jackson's statements, because he is not just an Obama supporter, he is one of the national chairmen of his campaign.

    January 13, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  15. Jeremy

    Ask about Prison Industrial Complex Reform.

    January 13, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    These questions are for all the democratic candidates. As you all know that we are all facing a global environmental crisis. If you were to win the nomination or even the presidency, would you sign the Kyoto Protocol and any other environmental protection treaty out there and actually follow it? My second question is would you increase environmental standards on cars sold in the United States? All the best.

    January 13, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  17. tyler gop country

    definantly ask why they are so ignorant as to why they didnt pick up republican views and values.

    also ask why they all currently believe in socialism

    January 13, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  18. chyrelle martin

    I want to know what two concrete, specific things each candidate will to stop American firms from shipping jobs overseas.

    January 13, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  19. Susan Smartt

    We have heard ad nauseum the candidates falling over themselves to be the candidate who will withdraw troops first, fastest, etc. It is time to have a discussion of the problems faced in cities across the country coping with decreased federal funding in the face of increasing problems – particularly rising crime and decreased spending on education. Our ability to compete globally and stimulate our economy is significantly impacted by our inability to make our cities safe and give our children the best education in the world. I would really like to hear some specifics, not rhetoric.

    January 13, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. Siddhi

    Ask Hillary to speak to her specific contributions to our society over the last 35 years.

    Can she point to ONE specific signiture program that she initiatied and saw through to success? Just one.

    I'm not talking about passing legislation on the Hill, in which case her record is not much deeper than Obama. I'm talking about a record that comparable to other women who are in public life like Maxine Walters or Gloria Steindam who many people view as stalwarts of the people and causes they represents.

    January 13, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  21. Shane

    For Senator Clinton:

    You have spoke about being the best candidate for President because or 35 years of experience that you have. After your victory in New Hampshire you said you won because you "finally found your voice." If you just found your voice, whose voice or voices having you been using for the last 35 years, prior to New Hampshire?

    For all:

    1) We have listened to all the candidates, both Democratic and Republican, speak of change yet as the race has become closer what we see is very familiar. Swift boat tactics and character assassinations are rearing their ugly heads more and more as the campaigning continues. The almighty dollar, selfish ambition for power, and the desire for the Republican and Democratic parties to rule over one another has become a cancer threatening to destroy this country. Which one of you is willing to throw away the past and truly stand up for positive change for all Americans?

    2) Why has Washington place so much emphasis on the words of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when we all know that the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, is the final say on everything in Iran?

    3) Do any of you agree with President Bush that Iran the world's leading state-sponsor of terror?

    4) What do you think is the greatest hope for America?

    5) What person, past or present, has taught people the most and why?

    6) What are the top three dangers for America today and what would you do to alleviate the danger?

    January 13, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  22. Ben of NJ

    Hello Mr. Blitzer,

    My question is a simple one to all of the candidates. With all this talk of change, why do you think you can bring change? What can you do that the other candidates cannot?

    Sincerely, a 12 year-old kid from NJ

    January 13, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  23. GA

    To all the candidates: How do you plan to address the enormous debt being carried by 20 and 30 somethings because of student loans? I have heard your plans of streamlining the process of getting financial aid, but how do you plan on helping those who have already graduated and are now saddled with exorbitant student loan payments?.

    January 13, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. Paul

    Why isn't the Iraq war still an issue for this election. Besides the "we need to get out of Iraq". There has been no debating the issue of Iraq by either party's candidates. Regardless of the right or wrong way we got into the war, the question is:

    "If" the current trend of "success" in Iraq continues and the situation on the ground improves with very little violence, chaos, bombings, and killings, would you risk the stability of the Iraq by removing our troops prematurely?

    For the candidates that advocate "immediate withdrawal", Would they go back on their campaign promise if it meant that the action would destabilize Iraq and return the country to violence and possibly even civil war?

    January 13, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. Valerie In Nevada

    I asked a question for John Edwards yet it is not posted. At the bottom of this you claim due to the high volume not all comments will be posted even though it was a valid question, yet you will post comments about not using the publics questions, or question after question that asks the same thing of Clinton or Obama? Is this yet another ploy on the part of the news media to NOT have Edwards name appear as a viable canidate???

    January 13, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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