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.
As a life-long Democrat, I'd like to know which Democratic candidate is willing to (based on the definition of "illegal", the economic drain on middle class Americans for the cost of education, healthcare, incarceration, etc., the security risk) say "NO" to amnesty (no matter how you fudge the definition) for illegal immigrants. The unprovoked war in Iraq is destroying America from the outside; but the danger in the present non-action against illegal immigration will most definitely destroy America from the inside.
Yes I would like to ask all the candidates about their position on civil rights, where they stand and what they will do about it.
Unfortunately we talk a lot about democracy, however, during the last administration much of our rights have been taken away. We have the evesdroping program, we have the patriot act, we have the secret evidence program, jus to name a few, so where did our civil rights went. What happened to the work of Mr. King? In the Senet only Senator Feinghold voted against the Patriot act. I would like to know how Hillary voted.
We are puting innocent people in jail because of secreat evidence, we are sending inocent american people to overseas secret American jails; yet we trumped the world about our wanderful American Democracy. Please tell them that the American people are educated and know what is goin on; that is why we want to know what their position is about this very important issue.
Ask each candidate if he/she can ignore the special interest and do what is best for our country after taking their money.
How can voters consider Barrack Obama for President and how can reporters let him get away with regularly admitting his disrespect for older Americans? (research his speeches for proof)
How ironic it is that a young black man running for President who undoubtedly has felt the ugliness of racism condemn older people. Race, gender and age bias are birds of the same feather. Very ugly birds indeed.
Also, please ask Clinton how she responds to the criticism that she and Bill seem to believe that she is entitled to the nomination. They seem to take a "how dare you" approach to anyone who questions her ability to lead the country. Additionally, I would like for someone to ask her what she has done, specifically, to help minorities.
I would like to say that many of these comments are pointedly in favor of one candidate or another–as are the questions I have posed above. But, it is important for the media to address the specificities if a particular candidate seems to flaunt a characteristic in their favor–Clinton/Experience, Obama/Change. Many people in the media have asked Obama to address his ability to bring about change and it is time that they ask Clinton to address her experience. Obama has been an elected official longer than Clinton. Additionally, being married to a politician does not give you personal experience. I'm married to a pharmacist–that doesn't mean that I could fill prescriptions.
I would like for the media to put to rest the notion that Clinton is somehow entitled to the Democratic nomination. If she wants it, she should fight for it like everyone else and not be so offended when anyone levels criticism at her.
All three candidates have pressed the idea of change. One of the main things they all agree on is that the partisian divided is too strong and we need to work together to "get things done." I want like to acually hear specifics on how you begin to bridge the partisian divide. How do they intend to get people to work together and set their differences aside inorder to pass complete comprehensive bills which actually work and make a difference.
What does Senator Barack Obama consider himself? Is he a Muslim or a Christian. Their are stories that he was sworn in on a Koran, did not place his hand on his heart for the Pledge Allegiance and recently said, " that the USA is not a Christian currently. Can the Senator clarify these points.
Several Republican have said they think the tax codes are is a state of disarray. They have mentioned the flat tax or a fair tax. Without getting into the progressive/recessive argument, tell me what your opinion is of our tax code and what needs to be done to make it work equitably.
What would you do to help the American people to regain constitutional rights that have been usurped by the current administration?
Knowing that the American people are tired of "politics as usual" What would you do to get all lawmakers, Democrat or Republican, to work for what is best for the country, not just their party?
One question to ask the Democrats. What is wrong with a "civil" debate? Personal attacks, unflattering remarks, innuendos, insults; Lord knows we will get these in abundance from the Republicans. Debate only the issues!! It is so important for the future of this country that we come out of the Democratic National Convention unified and on the path to winning the November election. I cannot imagine anything worst than four more years with a Republican president.
I am hopeful that whoever is elected is able to bring an end to the fear that rules so much of American life. For example, when I consider the millions of dollars and hours wasted at airports, mostly to sustain an environment of fear - is there no place for a rational conversation about that? Thanks in advance for considering this question.
"As self-proclaimed 'agents of change,' what exactly do you plan to change, and how do you plan to get it done and pay for it?" And, allow them at least 5 minutes to answer as opposed to 30 seconds. We'll get a really good idea of what they plan to do when they can't rattle of talking points for half a minute.
For Sen. Clinton:
Senator you say you want to serve the american people. That being said, if
you did not receive the Democratic Parties Nomination for President but
was asked to serve as the Vice-President would you accept, if not why ?
With no finger pointing or judgment of any one of you, are the three of you here today willing to sign a pledge that there will be no more dirty tricks or wordmanship from this day forward. This pledge will contain a statement that if one of you breaks this pledge, you will immediately withdraw from the presidential race. And, believe me, with the technology we have today, you will be found out.
Senator Clinton, why do you continue to claim that you have 35 years of experience; when you have only been employed by the government for 7 years? Senator Obama, why haven't you talked more about your 11 years of experience in government (Illinois State Senate & US Senate)?
What wil each candidate do to stablize the social security system and medi-care.
Question for all,
America's energy policy which is primarily based on burning fossil fuels for energy has placed the world's environment in a man made disaster and placed the United States in a greater dependance on outside supply. Every day hundreds of millions of dollars are taken out of our economy and given to other nations to keep the flow of gas and oil for our energy needs. We are using our military might to protect outside sources of gas and oil. The whole world knows of our gluttonous use of oil and gas.
For the last thirty years I have heard from our polticians that the free market will bring the technology when the time is right to change to renewable energy. Yet in my hometown (Port Arthur, Tx) two LNG facilities are under construction ( a third to be started this year) and the largest gasoline refinery in the U.S. is now under construction. Our government is still giving the energy companies tax breaks to search for new supplies of oil, gas, and coal. The free market is a great and powerful notion for getting the job done, but given the scientific evidence of global warming and our continued dependance on outside souces of fuel it seems ludicous to continue this course of self destruction. It seems that only government intervention will force the big investers and the powers that be to take us off the fossil fuel addition.
Question: If you were elected President, would you consider changing our energy policy by placing a ban on the use of burning fossil fuel for energy within a 20 year span in order to force change from burning fossil fuel for energy?
We are an "Auto Nation." And this has serious implications for us across the board. How do you intend to to help develop public transportation and what benefits do you see coming from this development? We are so behind compared to Europe. What can you do about this?
You, Senator Obama and Senator Edwards claim to be the agent of change. How do you expect to effect change given the political angst of republicans and even some independents attached to your husband and to you.
Senator Clinton talked about initiating several programs to assist in the subprime mortgage debacle. HOW will she fund them?
I second what Jay is asking:
Why has no one confronted both Clinton and Edwards on their health care plans? In particular, their "mandated" health insurance seems to imply that their plans will serve to FURTHER ENRICH large health care providers (i.e. insurance companies) in this country.
How will they protect us from rates going too high. We're "required" to have auto insurance and look at how high the rates are. Who is to protect us from this and how?
They're not doing a very good job now of protecting us from what the auto insurance industry is doing to our pocket book.
I would like this question asked of Sen. Clinton:
"You have long acted as an advocate for women's rights. One of the biggest problem women have today is childcare. Research shows that this problem negatively impacts women far more than it does men. The problem is bad enough that some, like myself, choose to abandon careers because the childcare choices are of such a poor quality and so expensive. Do you have a proposal to allow women to remain in the workforce more easily?
Change is too ambiguous word to let go without specific explanation. Change can occur with a President who offers inspirational messages like FDR that when combined with the force of the people pressuring their Congress to make things happen or it can occur through a President who hears the minority voices and has the experience to move legislation in the Congress in spite of opposition like JFK and LBJ on civil rights. Most Americans are frustrated that our Presidents and Congress have “punted” the hard issues for resolution at a later date. This is the fourth quarter and we can no longer afford to “punt” the issues with hope that later our choices get better. What two issues have been “punted” too long where you will lead on getting a resolution on them within your first term, and who would you look to in the Congress on the opposite side of the aisle to help your administration get legislation through Congress on these tough issues? Or in the alternative, who in Congress do you feel would present the largest obstacles to actually moving change forward on those tough issues?
To all three candidates:
To me, an average voter, drug use in the in the past by Presidential candidates is a legitimate concern. Do you agree?
Wolfe, please play tape of Martin Luther King shaking the President's hand when the legislation was signed and then please ask the candidates how in the world Senator Clinton's comment that Martin Luther King's dreams began to be realized when legislation was signed by the President is in any way diminishing the civil right's movement.
And if Obama is saying that this his camp has no comment – then why does he say that this comment is "ill-advised?"
Is not this, again, a play with words?
Senator Clinton is saying that they both worked together. Exactly what Martin Luther says:
"Direct action is not a substitute for work in the courts and the halls of government. Bringing about passage of a new and broad law by a city council, state legislature, or the Congress, or pleading cases before the courts of the land, does not eliminate the necessity for bringing about the mass dramatization of injustice in front of a city hall.
Indeed, direct action and legal action complement one another. When skillfully employed, each becomes more effective."
Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama,
What would you say to anyone who is voting for you because you are a woman or a Black man?