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. A.J.

    FOX NEWS AIRED A SOUND BITE LAST NIGHT OF BOB JOHNSON (founder of b.e.t.) IN SOUTH CAROLINA , SPEAKING ON HILLARY CLINTON'S BEHALF. AT THE SAME TIME HE WAS ALSO MAKING DISTASTEFUL REMARKS ABOUT THE BARACK OBAMA CAMPAIGN IN REFERENCE TO "THE BLACK VOTE".

    IF HILLARY CLINTON IS SO CONCERNED ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE AND THEIR FUTURE; WHY WOULD SHE JOIN ARMS WITH A PERSON LIKE BOB JOHNSON? *BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION* HAS BEEN A PROBLEM IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY FOR YEARS NOW, LEADING BLACK YOUTH DOWN A PATH OF DESTRUCTION, TO NEVER RETURN. B.E.T. AND BOB JOHNSON HAVE DONE NOTHING, BUT HELP DEGRADE WOMEN AND GLORIFY GANGS, DRUGS AND VIOLENCE.

    IF HILLARY WANTS THE "BLACK VOTE"; USING BOB JOHNSON IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT. BOB JOHNSON AND B.E.T. IS ONE OF THE DIRECT CAUSES OF MISGUIDED BLACK YOUTH. I HAVE TWO ADOLESCENT CHILDREN, AND THEY WILL NEVER WATCH B.E.T. AND I AM A BLACK WOMAN!

    FIND ANOTHER WAY TO EXTORT THE "BLACK VOTE" HILL.

    January 14, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. Charleston, South Carolina

    Wolf,

    There are enough "gotcha" questions from both Clinton supporters and Obama supporters to fill a few landfills. Please leave the "gotcha" questions in the landfills. South Carolina doesn't need the garbage.

    However, the two main candidates have largely gotten a pass from the media on what seems to be the most simple question of all: what have THEY actually accomplished?

    Senator Clinton claims 35 years of experience ("I have 35 years of creating change") and bases much of her claim on the Presidency on her experience as First Lady in the former Clinton administration. Senator Obama likewise talks about his experience as a community organizer and as an Illinois legislator.

    The national media has largely swallowed this whole without asking a very simple question: what did SHE accomplish and what did HE accomplish? Not once in any of the debates have I heard this most simple of resume/interview questions asked. If I was interviewing for a new job, I would have to answer it. If you were interviewing for a new job, you would have to answer it. As far as I've seen from the past 3-4 debates, the national media has never asked them explicitly this most basic of questions in a national forum. America deserves to hear the answers.

    So, a simple question: Senator Clinton, what do you consider YOUR MOST important accomplishments while First Lady in the White House (we're more interested in that than in Arkansas). Don't take generalities about the economy, etc. What are the SPECIFIC accomplishments?

    For Senator Obama: similar question. He's been attacked as all style and no substance. Where's the "beef"?

    So, for Senator Obama, what do you consider YOUR most important ACCOMPLISHMENTS while a legislator in Illinois?

    January 14, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Jose Rodriguez

    Why are reporters shying away from asking Obama about his drug use? As a democrat I feel repulicans will bring this to the fore front if Obama gets the nomination.

    Are reporters nervous to ask an African American candidate about drugs? I feel it is better to vet this now than later during the general election.

    Thanks,
    Jose

    January 14, 2008 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  4. epsec

    Thanks for the opportunity here.

    Question for Sen Clinton:

    Every president/administration makes mistakes and a leader shoud learn from them.

    Becuase she touts her work in former President Clinton's adminstration as part of her experience I would like to know what mistakes were made in the Clinton adminsitation that will help her be a better president than the other current candidates.

    January 14, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. CNN Watcher in California

    Wolf,

    Senator Clinton talks a lot about her experience in the White House and yet refuses to release her records.

    Everyone appears to have given her a pass on this. None of your viewers would be able to dance around the question of providing references and "representative work product" if they were to interview for a job.

    Why has Senator Clinton been let off the hook? Please press her. The American people deserve to have the information. And, we might as well get the information out now. The GOP will never ignore this gaping discrepancy if she is the nominee.

    January 14, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Rodney

    I would ask about Jonathan Goodwin a mechanic that converts GM cars to get 100mpg for a hummer and 60 to 80 mpg for regular cars using GM Stock parts already in existance. I would ask if congress and the canidates are just giving lip service to global warming or will they take the lead and demand Car makers to start producing cars with better gas mileage 35 to 40 mpg in the future is unacceptable if all it takes is a $5000 dollar kit to convert cars to to get 60 to 80mpg that would reduce americas addiction to oil. Who's will to tell the truth and talk straight to the American people.By the way Gov. Arnold schwarznegger and Neil Diamond and other celebs are having their cars converted so this is being done right now and is apparently safe.

    January 14, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. George from Minneapolis

    To Hillary Clinton:

    What are these 35 years of experience that you keep replying to ?? Could you please explain to the public what you mean when you refer to your "35 years of experience."

    January 14, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  8. Catherine

    Dear Wolf.

    This is a question for Hillary Clinton. Paraphrasing their remarks of the last few days, Senator Clinton said that Senator Obama was not experienced enough and that fine speeches were not enough to get the job done. Senator Obama responded that there was a role for inspirational speeches in moving people forward - just look at Martin Luther King and John Kennedy and the speeches they gave THEN Senator Clinton twisted Senator Obama's words, criticizing him for supposedly comparing himself to King and Kennedy in terms of their LIFE'S WORK, which he certainly didn't do. Her remarks are NOT a legitimate campaign technique. Distorting someone's words is polarizing - and now we have a black-white debate going on, which we didn't have before, courtesy of the Clinton campaign.

    Every time Senator Clinton does something like this, at least with us former Biden supporters, (Go Joe!) she wipes out any inclination my husband and I have to support her. This has happened several times over the course of ther campaign.

    My question is: What can Senator Clinton do to avoid the spin and distortion that make people angry and disappointed? She needs to do this because if she is ultimately elected President, she'll need to have a constituency that trusts what she says so that the majority of the American people will be on her side to help her get things done. This country can't handle any more polarization and gridlock. Shape up Hillary! Please?

    January 14, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. To: CNN from Tristan Penton

    Correction:

    Everything I am saying here is true. This is not about race for me. Last night I couldn't sleep after I read the comments in response to my request for more information about whether Obama sold cocaine.

    Everything I said was true. it is not a lie.

    My name is Cristina. I am an American, black, white, green, latin, asian, yellow, purple and Indian in my blood.

    My asking people about his drug abuse, speculations to have sold cocaine and his fast-tracking his career are legitimate and not based on race.

    I think that's important. I really do.

    He has been in the senate two years. He is applying for the highest level office in the Country. I am not saying he is redeemable – I am saying that there is a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something.

    there is a time to grow and listen and be honest with your limitations. I feel deeply offended by the psychological games he is playing with the American people when he says things that are not true.

    I just hope and pray that the black people in America don't vote for him because he is black. that is all. And i hope that America can talk about him and question him with the exact same liberties that we question and talk about Clinton.

    It sincerely frightens me to think of the social connotations of his drug abuse being condoned.

    January 14, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  10. Colleen

    Please ask the candidates the following question:

    The 3 leading candidates all propose "brining troops home" as the goal in the Iraq war. What is their metric for victory? Do they define victory as simply "bringing troops home?" How do you respond to the axiom that "the enemy gets a vote too," since all of your plans ignore enemy actions in Iraq?

    Finally, the United States maintains troops in Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and many other nations. Why not leave troops in a relatively secure and peaceful Iraq as we have in these other formerly occupied nations? Why are the candidates not calling to bring troops home from these other foreign locations?

    Background on candidates prosals from official websites:
    Edwards proposes "an immediate withdrawal of 40,000-50,000 troops and a complete withdrawal within nine to ten months. We should leave behind in Iraq only a brigade of 3,500 to 5,000 troops to protect the embassy and possibly a few hundred troops to guard humanitarian workers." Clinton promimes to direct the NSC to develop a "clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration." Obama pledges to "immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq."

    January 14, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. David

    I would ask Hillary how someone who claims to have som much experience can continue to be on the wrong side of issues.

    Iraq – supported the war
    Immigration – amnesty, driver's licenses and no border security
    NAFTA and other trade agreements – have decimated our economy
    Education – No child left behind is a joke
    Patriot Act – Did she actually read it or just assume by it's name it is a good thing?

    Hillary has had numerous opportunities to exhibit good judgement and has missed the mark each time?

    PS. I keep hearing that Hillary has 35 years of experience helping people. As far as I know her only real time of experince is as a Senator and as mentioned above her decisions are suspect. at best I am married to an advertising executive, but that doesn't mean I can do the job.

    January 14, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  12. Greg Figgs

    As a Hispanic -American, I was undecided until today on who to support for the Democartic Party. However after listening to Senator Hillary Clinton state that King's dream of racial equality was realized only when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, while Bill Clinton said Illinois Sen. Obama was telling a "fairy tale" about his opposition to the Iraq war, I must concur with Senator Obama that these are ill-advised comments. I don't think these are the things that we as Americans need to hear coming out of the mouth of those who aspire to run our country for the next four years. As of today, Senator Obama has my Hispanic-American vote! Shame on the Clintons!

    January 14, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. KD

    Please ask Barack Obama to explain his inconsistencies on the Iraq War from 2002 to present.

    January 14, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Abe Vasquez

    Recent surveys and polls have Presidents Bush's Iraqi surge campaign working. Initially, the surge campaign was heavily criticized by all candidates of the democratic party, now that campaign has brought tangible results to the Iraqi people; what do the democrats have to say about it now? I hear only silence and that's a good sign, that only means they are eating their words.

    January 14, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  15. Michael, Florida

    The Dem race is closer than we thought it would be. Given that every state's primary is now essential for one to win the nomination, what do you say to the registered Democrats in Florida who you have boycotted during this process? Why should we overlook the fact that you have been ignoring our state while dipping into our wallets? And finally, given the fact that your boycott has pretty much handed Florida to the GOP on a silver platter, should we even bother to go to the polls?

    January 14, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Barbara

    Why are spouses so vocal on the campaign trail, we aren't electing them..?
    The candidates need to answer to the issue/debate "of the day" themselves.
    Will their spouses come running to their defense is they get into an issue with another world leader..??

    January 14, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Justin Solomon

    Ask what their opinion is about the war in Iraq, that's a hot topic and I want to see how they respond to this question. Thank you.

    January 14, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. Ken, Chicago, Illinois

    The Pee Dee area of South Carolina, an area represented by Congressman Clyburn has lagged behind the rest of the state and significantly behind the rest of the country in job growth. Williamsburg County consistently has double digit unemployment rates even in the best of economic times in America. How would your economic polices spur economic growth for the Pee Dee area?

    January 14, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  19. From all of us at work in need of good public transportation

    We would like to know what the candidates are going to do about the poor public transportation in America. We are so behind in this regard compared with other countries and it's not fair that we are basically forced to drive our cars. Even if we wanted take the bus, it's so hard for us to even advocate for them. There are so many hours in a day. Why isn't our government doing anything about this?

    January 14, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  20. Al in BR, La

    Thanks Wolfe for this opportunity. Please ask John Edwards if he would consider representing Democrats who think illegal immigration IS an important issue.

    I think this is his best chance to separate himself from the rest of the pack and become a truely viable candidate..

    January 14, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Kevin LaBarr

    To Hillary Clinton:

    You state that you want to have full health coverage for all American's yet during your husbands term you failed at resolving any health care issues. What would you do differently.

    Kevin in Upstate, NY

    January 14, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. Fred Eberle

    Mrs. Clinton.

    How, considering how polarizing a figure you and Bill are, do you intend to heal the rift between the parties and change the way business gets done in Washington.

    January 14, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Adam

    Gloria Steinem recently wrote an article in the New York Times about how a candidate's race and gender affects voters perception of their qualifications. I am interested in senator Obama's opinion on that matter, and if he believes that anyone would be giving him serious attention if he were female and/or caucasian.

    January 14, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. I would like video played of MLK shaking President's hand when legislation was passed

    i would like Wolfe to play the video of MLK shaking the President's hand. We all have dreams. Activism is an important part of American politics and it does make sense that a President responds and helps to enact legislation that will move a country forward.

    it's both. Why is saying that a President helped realize Martin Luther King's dream in any way an incorrect statement?

    January 14, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  25. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There were some good questions raised. Her are my additions:

    Nuclear power; currently we have fission power. Do you favor expanding it and lifting the reprocessing spent fuel ban that Carter put in place? France doesn't have the problem we have since they reprocess much of their fuel.

    How do you feel about and how would you encourage businesses to team with government and other non-governmental organizations to protect the enviroment per Newt Gingrich's book? He advocates less lawsuits among other things.

    If you were not running for president, which one of the other candidates would you endorse?

    January 14, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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