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. JASON TERRELL

    Being in my thirties, and my parents growing closer to retirment, I would like to know details on the candidates plans to ensure the longterm vialbility of social security. With alot of retiring baby boomers relying on social security, Where will the money come from, and how long can it stay above water. I would like to also see the candidates comment on allowing a more flexible tax code on allocating before tax income on healthcare, childcare, and care for the elderly....

    January 14, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Greg H

    Which candidate will abide by the constitution and enforce the immigration laws that are already on the books?

    January 14, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Greg H

    Which candidate will reverse the Patriot Act? Who can we count on to restore our civil liberties?

    January 14, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Tom Brent

    Almost every Democrat elected to Congress last year PROMISED to take on Big Oil Companies and work to lower the price of fuel at the pumps, now NOTHING is ever said about this. Ask Hillary and Obama what they intend to do about the run-a-way price of fuel at the pumps. Long term conservation as an answer will not get my vote.

    January 14, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Mukul

    Before the debate, please verify the facts about Obama as the idea of change that he is selling is authentic or not. Media should be impartial, you should ask a question if the candidate think the media is projecting their statements and their opponents correctly. This election is for choosing right candidate and it is very important for the media to ask relevant and correct question. Because any misinformation and biased behavior can change the public opinion and a voters thinking process to some extent who depends upon the information reported by media such as CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, FOX, NBC etc. The topic for the question should be divided in the following sections:

    1. Hot issues for the country: Economy, Foreign Affairs, Health, Social Security
    2. Candidates background: What they have said before and what they propose?
    3. What value they bring on the table and what are their strategies to improve overall viewpoint of America amongst the world community. Why they think they are the best candidate, please quote some specific achievements on the record as part of their resume for this job.
    4. Governance/Budgeting issues.

    Do you think there has to be summary on the topics that you have asked for each of the candidate. This will clarify where each of the candidates stand in terms of specific important issues? There is no point repeating these issues/question in every debate.

    January 14, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Nick Jones

    You could ask Hillary Clinton why she refuses to release documents from her years as First Lady until 2012. She keeps insisting that all candidates be vetted and that she will answer any and all questions posed to her but these documents would give us a truier insight into her years of "experience". If they really wanted to provide those documents to the general public, they could. Seems to me like she may be hiding something. She was First Lady for 8 years; one would think that if she couldn't get much done then, what could she do for us now?

    January 14, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Greg H

    Trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA, have damaged our economy and destroyed others in our hemisphere. What will the candidates do to rectify this problem?

    January 14, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Paul Humenik

    From an independent voter, ask Mrs. Clinton the following: How would you be able to help unite the country when you are looked at as being the most devisive candidate on the Democratic ticket from a Republican's point of view?
    Wouldn't you run into opposition of any reform based simply on the fact of who you are? Similar to how the Democrats look at President Bush.

    January 14, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  9. Mark

    I would like to know why the Admin's/GOP justification for troop withdrawl in Iraq is always "if we set a timetable, they'll simply wait us out". Well, can't they do the same for a surge in troops and/or offense? Why aren't the DEMS making this disgusting corporate war the MAIN issue in this campaign?

    January 14, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Joice

    Please ask Senator Clinton whether she feel's that Bob Johnson's comments regarding Senator Obama's time spent in the "neighbor", while Senator Clinton was actively supporting civil rights, were warranted. If so, why?

    As an African-American woman, I was greatly insulted by Mr. Johnson's words. Prior to his speech, I had great respect for Mr. Johnson based on his business acumen. After seeing the display he put on this weekend and the fact that Senator Clinton did not immediately address it, I will never support either Mr. Johnson or the Hillary Clinton again. I am thoroughly outraged by the underhanded tactic of making race a central issue in this process and unfortunately I think that it points out that the Clintons will do absolutely any thing to win.

    Maybe Dick Morris is right after all about the Clintons unquenching thirst for power rather than the existance of any guiding moral obligation to improve the lives of fellow Americans.

    Outraged in Milwaukee

    January 14, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Jeremy

    Research funding awards, through such organizations as the NIH, have been reduced during recent presidential terms. It is increasingly more difficult to attain external funding for health-related scientific research. As a young researcher at the beginning of his academic career, I will rely on external funding to support my research and hold employment at universities. What specific plans do the nominees have for government funding of scientific research?

    January 14, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Greg H

    What will the candidates do to encourage/promote the establishment of family units in minority neighborhoods?

    January 14, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. JIM

    President Clinton's legacy is being eroded by his attacks on other candidates. He is showing no class at all and sounds like he will do or say anything to get back into the White House

    Do you agree ?

    January 14, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  14. David

    I, for one, would like to hear what their ideas are for our nation's educational system. Speaking as a young voter and a product of No Child Left Behind and as someone who has seen a decline in education it seems to me that it is much more important an issue than the war or healthcare. No matter what changes the next president brings about they will mean nothing if future generations aren't educated well enough to maintain change.

    January 14, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Sandy

    I have two questions.
    The Clinton campaign has called Senator OBama's record on the Iraq war a "fairytale". My question to the Clinton campaign is this: If you believe that his record on the Iraqi War is "fairytale" why did you wait until you were concerned about him beating you in New Hampshire to make this statement?

    The Clinton campaign and the OBama campaign have been making comments about each other that give the appearance being mean, spiteful and totally unrelated to the needs of the American people. Why do the candidates think that making personally destructive comments about another candidate is related to the needs (health care, Iraqi war, poverty, etc) of the people of the United States?

    January 14, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Greg H

    What will the candidates do to promote full disclosure of all available educational programs for all students at the middle/high school level that want to challenge themselves?
    Currently students and their family are not aware of these programs unless they volunteer or work at the school.

    January 14, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  17. Greg H

    Which one of you is ready to level with America? We all know we need to sit down and balance this budget and individually start saving more. Which one of these candidates is willing to say we can no longer subsidize the world with our economy, it is time to start putting our own house in order first?

    January 14, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Nick

    Wolf,
    I would ask Hillary Clinton why she refuses to allow documents from her years as First Lady to be released until 2012. She insists that candidates be vetted and remarks that she will answer any and all questions posed to her; yet the release of these documents would provide a truier insight into her years of "experience". If she wanted these documents released it could be done; seems as if she is hiding something.

    January 14, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  19. Julie Cline-Maurer

    The voters get much of their information on the candidates from the media (my husband and I are watching the channels around the clock!) – when we only hear sound bites that are repeated hundreds of times by one candidate distorting or misrepresending what another candidate has said or what their record is – and we have not heard that other candidate's actual remarks, how are we able to know the truth?

    I hope that you will ask these questions of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on how the voters can decern the truth from the campaigns and the candidates and how do we make them accountable for their statments and records. These are the Issues of the upmost importance or how can we believe our President and trust in what that President will tell us.

    1. If you could ask Obama to first respond to Hillary's statements that were on the news as well as on "Meet the Press" saying that "Obama compared himself to JFK and Martin Luther King," and "used JFK and Martin Luther King to attack her." Please also show the clips where Obama said these things and ask Hillary to answer whether indeed he did say these things
    2. Pleae show full clip where President Clinton remarks that Obama's position on the war since 2002 'Is a faiyrtale" and that Obama was not consistent in his position. Then ask Obama to answer this in detail
    3. Hillary stated on "Meet the Press" that the Obama campaign said "she was partly to blame for Butto's assasination" Can you please show that clip where an Obama campaign aide was asked a question about Clinton's position on the Iraq war and how he rsponded.

    Then have both Clinton and Obama respond to the truthfulness and sparring over these types of incidary remarks and how this is potentially the worst sort of campaigning that leaves the voter discouraged and disgusted.

    January 14, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. John

    Of what significance is experience when this has resulted in the following.
    1) A free falling Dollar
    2) A free falling Housing market
    3) An economy entering free fall
    4) Lowest per capita middle class income in living memory
    5) Sky rocketing energy costs
    6) sky rocketing food prices
    7) Americas reputation in free fall
    8) Rocketing medical costs
    9) 40 million in poverty
    10) Double the above number of medically uninsured
    11) Fighting two unwinable wars military victory diplomatic disaster zones
    12) Heading for a 15/18 trillion dollar National debt, Uncle sam is bankrupt and digging in deeper. When your in a hole the first thing to do is stop digging.
    13) America is about to loose it's A1 credit rating.
    America has experienced the effects of experience for the past forty years and the same old problems persist we need a change, a radical change from the past.
    Give me Obama over the Washington old guard anytime He cannot do anything but much better than this present lot

    January 14, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Anthony

    Wolfe I have two questions:

    Will the candidates agree to stop now with the petty attacks (including Bill) and get back to the people business at hand? And how will each of your presidencies address the continued plight of the Gulf Coast states that were affected by Katrina? What will you do differently then the current administration?

    January 14, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Bill Kirchner

    For Senator Clinton, I have heard her repeatedly refer to her being involved in change for 35 years. I have never heard her enumerate what she did for change in those years, and I would like to hear her response.

    For all: What would they do to regain and bolster America's stature overseas, in light of President Bush's arrogant bunker diplomacy.

    January 14, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Independent Voter

    Please ask Sen. Obama:

    "You detractors describe you as being more style than substance, and I have heard many people express the desire to support your candidacy if they only knew exactly what type of change you plan to bring. Assuming you could bring the nation together, what would your priorities be from a policy standpoint? (Not just a different name and face, not just bringing people together)

    January 14, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Lauren, MO

    Wolf, thank you for asking your viewers what we would like to hear. I have followed the candidates, reading articles, watching candidate speaches and candidate town hall meetings. I have not made my decision on a candidate yet. I have noticed that Edwards and Clinton seem clearer on the issues and explanations of policies that they will bring into the white house, I have not however seen Obama explain some of the change ideals and policies that he would put in place. Can we get a clearer explaination? I have seen questions posed to obama in debates however I just haven't heard answers from him with any depth of explanation.

    January 14, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  25. Sarah L

    Please don't encourage this experience/change debate anymore. We are distracted from the real issues. I would like for this debate to address the environment.

    January 14, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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