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. Nick

    These candidates spend alot of time talking about tax breaks for the middle class. I would like to know how they define the middle class. Often times the bracket used seems outdated. I made $65,000 this year, but after taxes, medical insurance, 401k etc. etc. I made little more than the year before when I brought home $55,000. Sometimes I feel penalized for working overtime or a second job. How do they propose to change the tax brackets, and what is the top end for what they consider "middle class." Would the candidates consider eliminating income tax and implementing a consumption tax as Huckabee has? Please be specific.

    January 13, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  2. Jay

    Hi Wolf:
    I would ask both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama how they will improve the economic outlook for the country long term. I am personally very very scared of the economic outlook for this country. I don't feel like the politicians are listening.

    1) How are we going to compete against countries with cheap labor costs?
    2) How are we going to compete against countries like China that does not have fair trade practices?
    3) Currently we are not building anything. Everything that we get is manufactured somewhere else. If we don't produce anything as a country and consume everything from somewhere else how are we going to have jobs in the country? How are we going to survive as a country? Where will consumers in US get money to consume and keep economy afloat if we don't have jobs?

    I want to hear something better than the same political cliche thrown at us by both the political parties.

    January 13, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. Mike Peterson

    Wolf,

    I am a strong independent from Kansas.

    I have followed the primaries and debates with great interest. I have yet to hear from the democratic candidates their views on illegal immigration. The Republicans have been bombarded and have given their views clearly. The democratic candidates have not. It seems that the Democrats are skirting this issue. This is a clear issue in the election this year and the Democrats owe the American people to explain their views in person.

    Questions:
    1. Do the Democratic candidates believe that illegal immigration is breaking the law?

    2. Are the illigal immigrants taking jobs away from the American people?

    3. What would they do about illegal immigration.

    Mike Peterson
    Olathe, Kansas

    January 13, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  4. I second this request

    Somebody wrote down this question – I second it, third it, fourth it, fifth it – gosh – I've got 1,000,000 in Kendall, Florida stuck in traffic for two hours AT LEAST every day that want to know why there are no buses out here! Guzzling gasoline – it's crazy! Everybody k nows somebody who has died in a car accident! Public transportation is obviously the most efficient way of conserving oil. What are we going to do about this?

    To all the candidates:

    It is clearly obvious that the next president will have to deal with many issues regarding energy conservation and global warming. Many of you have outlined plans to reduce carbon emissions and begin to use biofuels like ethanol. However, this will not solve all our problems and could take a while to implement. We need to effect change immediately, and can take simple steps to do so with the technology we already have. What would you do to promote public transportation, carpooling, and lower emission/smaller cars if you were president? Besides helping the environment and our dependance on foreign oil immensely, these would reduce traffic and congestion on the crowded roadways.

    Thank you,
    Charlie D.

    January 13, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  5. Peggy Soliday

    Thoughts from Salem, Oregon

    I am interested in hearing how the two leading candidates plan to "change" the course of the nation, eliminate special interests and business as usual in Washington. Democracy is a collaborative process – how will each candidate work collaboratively in order to effect change and what specifically will each candidate do to help our nation move in a different direction?

    January 13, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  6. Andy

    If elected as President, will you be affraid to use the military in another conflict if necessary, or has the Iraq War shell shocked and made you hesitant to the use the military in the future?

    January 13, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. JohnR

    First Congratulations to you Wolf, You are best in Blitzing.

    Question to Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama,

    Can you take a pledge now.. right now .. not to bring "Race" or "Gender" into your campaign not only in the primaries but also after primaries?

    I didn't hear until now Obama saying 'African American President' but Hillary made direct quote in NH debate saying "Having the first woman president is huge change with consequences for our country and the world."

    Pls. run on what you will do for this country and more over to the world as they look up America for leadership. No more references to virtual ceiling etc.

    Tired of hearing campaigns saying "We are above all of that" but endup saying the same.

    January 13, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  8. Fred

    I would ask each candidate if they feel that it is OK to mislead voters about the record of their opponent. Does the end, in this case getting elected, justify the means.

    January 13, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  9. Matt Murphy

    As leader of one of the most influential powers in the world, how would you, as President of the United States, change our world for the better? How would you improve not just the lives of the citizens of the United States, but of the world?

    Matt Murphy
    Needham, Massachusetts

    January 13, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  10. c barnes

    The American public deserve a unified Democratic party due to the hell we've been through the last 8 yrs.

    Can Sen Clinton, Sen Obama, & former Sen Edwards show their democratic solidarity and Christian belief by giving each other a group hug, and let the past be forgiven and forgotten. To promise the public they will stick to the issues, not resort to stereotypical references or character/work misrepresentation so the Dems can win the W.H.?

    Good luck Mr. Blitzer if you can actually get them to do it. I'm sick of the foolishness from my party!!!

    January 13, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  11. J

    Ask Obama why any criticism of him by whites or women is said to be racist and he can really blast Hillary and all of the reports just pill it on. Ask him when he became a registered Democrat and which was the first race he worked in. Where was he when the Clintons were working for McGovern!!

    January 13, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  12. margaret

    I am undecieded ..I how ever would like sen.Clinton to specifically outline her 35yrs of experence .Also as she is running as the candidate to bring economic stability,I would like to know her economic experence.

    January 13, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  13. Maggie

    We understand that some families prefer private school education for various reasons and feel that people should be able to make the choice for private school education. We also feel that those families choosing private schooling for their children should have to fund that choice. As public school educators, we are interested in learning the candidates' feelings on vouchers from states to families wishing to send their children to private schools. Vouchers can undermine the success, future, and improvement of public school education. While it may be a state-by-state issue, President Bush has spoken in favor of vouchers. He also invented No Child Left Behind – another bad idea.

    January 13, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  14. Tim

    Stop with the in-fighting and get on with the issues. It's not about who wins, its about fighting as a team for this country. Hillary should select Obama as a running mate and get it over with.

    January 13, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  15. Ani

    I am just wondering if anyone has the nerve to ask Clinton to clarify what I can only determine is an attack on Martin Luther King. First of all did women get the right to vote because a president just thought one day that only white men voting was unfair? To go further, did LBJ simply decide that it was time for civil rights to all? If it took a president to pass the Civil Rights act of 64, who did it take to get that message out there? I don't think that LBJ woke up one fine day and decided that that was the day to give rights to African Americans as well. And when is she going to ask her self, friends, husband, and employees (campaign contributors) to STOP putting everyone down from Obama to icons for humanity like MLK. Is nothing or no one sacred on her path to the White House? How low does she plan to go in order to win this election? Frankly I am fed up with her. As a white female I never thought voting for the first woman to run would be repulsive to me. Further more as a life long democrat, I’d sooner vote republican than help her into the office. I can only interpret her words as being a racist. By far the only person who could keep me from voting, I used to respect the Clintons.

    January 13, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  16. Yolanda Purnell

    Hillary,

    You are starting to appear very hard- up for the African American vote. How about leaving race and gender out of this. This campain is not about MLK or LBJ, it's about a Democrat or Republican running this country. May the best man or woman win!!! So please Hillary, have a bit more integrity and class. To see this side of you is not becomming. And by the way, please stop torturing us with the views of Bob Johnson and Al Sharpton because they do not represent any African – Americans I know. Those two have did nothing for the African – American community but cause havoc! I wont support anything that they are in favor of (especially BET )!

    January 13, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. KA

    Sen. Clinton, did your campaign or anyone associated with your campaign initiate the effort to disenfranchise 9 Las Vegas precincts arranged largely to serve Culinary Union members only two days after the Culinary Union endorsed Sen. Obama? If the lawsuit was only a coincidence, why was the action not taken when the rules were announced?

    January 13, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. Marcia Baker

    I would like all the Democratic candidates to be asked if they would give their wholehearted and unconditional support to WHOMEVER is named the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.

    I would hate to see the Democratic Party compound their missteps in disenfranchising Florida Democrats and giving one segment of Nevada caucus goers special treatment to the detriment of all the other Nevada caucus goers by having the primary battle become a bloodletting brawl that would again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    January 13, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Will

    If technology is the answer for investing of the future. A follow-up question for all of them can be. What technology would you invest in that you believe will be beneficial to American lives and living?

    ***Wolf, please don't allow general answers. Let’s see if the candidates are aware and understand the technologies that are currently being developed that have the potential to revolutionize how we live, work, communicate and play if integrated properly within our society. Also I hope you moderate an upcoming Republican debate and ask some of these same question on this blog to them as well.

    January 13, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  20. Natalie

    Hi, I appreciate this oppurtunity to have input on this debate. I have several questions in mind:

    1. Although the surge of troops in Iraq appears to be reducing violence, it is not helping a political resolution. However, this decline in violence has somewhat removed Iraq from the center spotlight. I would bring up again, how each candidate intends to remove troops carefully without leaving a completely chaotic, ticking time bomb left behind in that region (one that will not come back to bite us later)?

    2. This one is for Obama, whom I do support. As a biracial woman I am proud to see how well America has accepted him. I do realize that he has to have a cross cultural appeal, and must not focus on his race in this campaign, BUT, I am wondering, when is he going to start addressing the needs of African Americans? I would like to ask him what he will do to help level the playing field, starting with education and decreasing the dropout rate among African Americans. And what is his (and the other candidates) view on affirmative action?

    3. To all: How do you respond to claims on the Republican side (by many of the current Rep. candidates) that America has become a Welfare state? Why does is it seem that it is more lucrative for some people to remain on welfare than to find a minimum wage job? How do you plan to address this?

    4. To all, on energy. How do you personally conserve energy in your own life, and demonstrate a real pro active interest in alleviating the global climate crisis?

    Thanks.
    Natalie in NYC

    January 13, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  21. Chamara

    Ask Obama

    1.Why he is not talking about econmoic and health issues regarding to African American community ?

    2.Why he is tring to ignore majorty of people in his propsed health plan?I n other hand Miss Clinton try to cover all the people (That covers all the poor African Amrican people too)

    3.Clinton Family is faithfull and loyal to African Amrican Community more than 16 years?
    But Mr. Obama like African American When close to presidential election?

    January 13, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  22. Concerned Dem

    This question is for Hillary

    How does she feel about possibly obtaining more women votes in NH based on a "feel sorry attitude" after she showed emotion or the "guys were ganging up on her," during the debate. I would think she would find this insulting, but I would love to hear her answer

    January 13, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  23. Elizabeth

    Ask all of the candidates if they would pledge to refrain from sending out any mailers or e-mails from their campaign offices during the four days prior to an election that raise new issues or make new characaterizations of their opponents or their opponents' positions?

    January 13, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  24. Diing A. Nyuon

    Dear Wolf,
    Since everyone has asked questions regarding domestic policy, I would be more than grateful if you ask Hilary Clinton how her Foreign Policy toward Africa would differ from Bill Clinton's? Remember, Africa had experienced the worst nightmare during the Clinton’s Administration than any other time since 1960s. Rwanda, Somalia, and Sierra Alone are few examples.

    Diing A. Nyuon
    Washington, DC

    January 13, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  25. Polticien

    Wolf, this more of a suggestion about process but please let the candidates debate one another for once. It has gotten contentious in the last 72 hours and let them settle their disputes and accusations of distorting records out in the open and not through surrogates or conference calls.

    Issues Iraq, issues of electability, the impact they will have on congressional and state-wide races, and of course their plans for the economy and how they are going to pay for it.

    January 13, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
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