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. Dana Saar

    Explain why our current federal payroll tax system should be retained in lieu of a federal consumption tax.

    January 14, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. David LaFalce

    Dear Mr.Blizter,

    To any of the candidates:

    "If you are elected president what will your administration do for the Old Rust Belt cities like Buffalo, NY which have fallen on hard economic times with the loss of its manufacturing sector?"

    January 14, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Caleb

    Senator Clinton, it was proven in the Iowa caucus and the New Hampshire primary that Senator Obama could attract independents as well as republicans to vote for him. If you are elected the democratic nominee, how can you assure me that you can do the same?

    January 14, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Matt C

    With all the talk about reducing pollution and greenhouse gasses and better reducing reliance on oil, along with the constantly rising costs of maintaining our aging roads and bridges, why are none of the candidates discussing the single biggest thing we can do to make positive headway in those areas: Mass Transit?

    Amtrak is in shambles, and most cities do not have reliable mass transportation systems. And yet, when cities like Denver and L.A. implement rail transit systems, they do spectacularly well. And cities like New York and Chicago are seeing continued growth in ridership on their trains. Why are we not investing more money in transit systems that can save us all money and move our country further down the road to energy independence? What would you, as candidates for President, propose we do to leverage this opportunity?

    January 14, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. SS question

    to Obama:

    You have suggested raising the cap on the FICA or SS tax. How much longer will SS stay afloat with the proposed change?

    January 14, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. R Maples

    Wolf-

    Please ask the candidates what they will do to further the open government/transparency initiatives in their Administration?

    Best,

    Bob Maples

    January 14, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Iowan for Hillary

    Questions for Hillary, Obama and Edwards at the next debate

    Hillary: What is your stance on the lobbyists that have such an influence on congress especially in Healthcare. I know the gonvernment has rules against polititions taking money, trips or any perks, but I believe this is just another rule that is completely ignored and very difficult for the Washington watchdogs to control. It sickens me as well all other Americans to see Healthcare COE collect 1.6 Billion in bonus money while hospitals and doctors either DO NOT accept patients or put them in a cab and send them to skid row when their Insurance companies deny payments.

    ALL CANIDATES: Exactly what is your Healthcare plan to ensure our older citizens are covered. They are as important as child coverage. I sincerely hope is is not another program like Medicare. The amount of money misspent by Medicare makes my blood boil. They double and sometimes triple payments to Doctor's and hosipitals and catch probably 25% of the errors.
    There appears to be no accountability for monies spent in any of the govenment agencies, departments, etc.

    Obama: Your campaign is based on CHANGE. Great. How are you going to stop the corruption in our government. How will your changes ensure there is full accountability in every agency within the government and how long do you think this initiative will take. Will you establish severe penalties against anyone found to have broken the government laws as is done in the private sector. It appears to us Americans, the only punishment for any one in Congress is resignation. That is not punishment. Thieves and crooks in the private sector resign their jobs because they have to go to prison, senate and house members resign and collect their large pensions! Makes me want to be an elected offical so I can get in on that scam.

    Hillary has stated she will have a transparent govenment under her in office, do all canidates agree with her.
    With the lies and deciept in the current adminstration, I think Americans deserve transparency.

    ALL CANIDATES: What are your thoughts on term limits in congress. Most Americans really don't pay too much attention when it comes to electing Senators and House members, so we continue to see people the same old eneffective people in office year after year. To really have change you need fresh input.

    I will state that I do NOT consider this demecratic race to be a race or gender issue and am frankley I am sick and tired of the media trying to make it one. We finally have 3 good canidates and I believe they will all try to do the best job they can. But it is so much easier to talk about it than to get it done. I am looking for a canidate that will get it DONE. This race had been conducted without all the slander and accusations, as in past presidential elections, but as you can see it is now starting because the media likes to put their own spin on the canidates words. Let us hear the truth and we can decide who to belive without all the media input.

    January 14, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Jessica Mathews

    We've seen time and time again, CEO's and CFO's getting away with obscene, gluttonous severance packages.
    I'm a 28 yr old, middle class (what's left), full-time student, squeezing in 30hrs a week of work. The unrealistic and appauling amounts of money that these people walk away is insulting to myself, who is a hard working citizen who can't even afford health insurance.
    I've had to watch and listen to CEO after CEO engage in fraudulant activites with rarely any consequences except maybe paying a few million in fines of the few billion they STOLE. This is a constant slap in the face to us hard working, diminishing, middle class citizens.
    What kind of tougher punishment will you implement for these avaricious individuals to reduce this wheel of robbery?

    January 14, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. VJ

    I hope you ask about legal immigration. The standard response from candidates on both sides is that they are all for legal immigration. But the way USCIS treats the legal immigrants is really disgusting. Last year USCIS and the State dept could not even come to an agreement on the number of immigrant visas available. Then there is some thing called as FBI namecheck close to quarter million people sit in an FBI list for years and years before they are cleared (the was a congressional report on this from the Ombudsman for USCIS – I bet none of the candidates read that).

    To me in this loud debate over illegal immigration, the real issues of legal immigrants are simply overlooked.

    January 14, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Lori

    Hello Wolf,

    I was thinking about this question the other day, that I would like to ask all candidates, thank for asking us for a question:

    'If I were to hire you as my President, would you raise my taxes? Plain and simple Yes or No answer only, not rhetoric please. '

    My opinion is, we as country , are basically hiring someone for 4 years as our employee titled 'President' to lead our country, so that is why I used the term hire. As he/she should be working for all Americans first, period. If he/she doesn't do the job they were hired to do, then we'll fire 'em in 2012.

    January 14, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  11. Jack

    Wolf,

    Ask the candidates what are they going to do about the massive deficit/debt they are going to inherit from George Bush?

    Also, ask the candidates what they are going to do about CUBA and port security?

    January 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. jen

    Why are the candidates not paying attention to Kenya with the crisis that is going on there. Are they asking the current administration to do something about peace in Kenya before it explode?

    January 14, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Dan, NJ

    Senator Clinton,

    At the end of your husband's presidency, pardons and other accomadations were granted to many "Clinton friends." What do you say to people who think another Clinton presidency will include more special treatment for Clinton friends?

    January 14, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Jared

    Wolf,
    As a recent college graduate and soldier currently deployed overseas, the economy and job market are true concerns for me. There have been numerous predictions of the possibility of recession in our near future, due to the lowering value of the dollar, a poor housing market, and unemployment rates going up (to name a few). What plan would you set in place to get our country back on track econmocially and ensure there are jobs available for young college graduates. (Please give us some specific examples)

    January 14, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Erik William

    Please ask Hillary why we should elect another Clinton after having 20 years of Bush/Clinton/Bush. Isn't it unhealthy for our democracy to have two families control the White House for such a long period of time?

    January 14, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. Dave in NC

    Following the 2006 elections, Speaker Pelosi vowed to reduce the extreme partisanship in the Congress and allow the minority party more involvement in crafting legislation than the Republicans had done while they controlled the House. I, and apparently many others based on the low ratings Congress gets, believe that she has not done that. It's the same old political grandstanding but just with someone different leading it. Do you see the partisanship as a problem and, if so, how do you intend to get both sides of the aisle working together for the good of our country rather than working against each other for the good of their respective parties?

    January 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. James

    Wolf,

    Please ask all the canidates to give us their interpretation of the 10th amendment. As a follow-up to many other questions), you might ask what part of the Constitution allows them to do XXX ( fill the blank – provide health-care, school funding, social security, etc)

    You might also ask if any would propose to amend the constitution to provide a right to vote to all Americans.

    January 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  18. rich

    my question concerns the ability of a president to pardon anyone they see fit. Why does the president need that( other than to spend millions of tax-payer dollars on an investigation and trial(aka scooter libby fiasco)) just to turn around and set some croney free. I believe the president should not have this power( we have plenty of governors) who do this or stop wasting taxpayer money on fruitless investigations and trials. thank you

    January 14, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Teri

    I have two questions:

    I'd like each of the candidates to state precisely their plan to pay for these ongoing Wars without leaving our children & grandchildren in debt. Please give a straight, concise answer.

    I'd also like Senators Clinton & Obama to consider joining forces now for the good of the country and the party. Do something unprecedented – announce they will run together as President & Vice-President before any more battering of each other. I know Sen. Obama wasn't running for second place, but please consider it.

    January 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Maina

    I am from Africa. I would like to ask the candidates if they have plans and if not would they improve Africa to be a better place by trade or other opportunities. Also with all the wars that goes on in Africa, would you take a comprehensive measure to quill this and would you ask African leaders toimprove the adoption proceedings in order for African kids to have opportunities that other kids from poor countries get in America and other developed countries?

    January 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  21. middle class in FL

    I work for a fairly well know company with a workforce made up primarily of IT workers. The management has stated openly that we will have a 50/50 ratio of company employees to offshore contractors from a company based in India. As such, when our seasoned US employees leave, they are replaced with inexperienced Indian contractors simply to meet the quota. This is not a unique scenario as many companies now view employees as a commodity that may be sourced from the lowest bidder. Our executives will receive a bonus equal to more than most people make in a lifetime if they can achieve this ratio.

    I would like each of the candidates to comment on this scenario and how they would balance stopping the loss of American jobs with allowing corporations to remain competitive.

    Thank you.

    January 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  22. david netes

    For Sen. Obama:
    Despite constant reports showing that the creation of ethanol from corn is even more harmful for the enviorment and economy than oil, why does he continue to insist that we need corn ethanol in order to get off of foreign oil? (And there are many other better, less expensive, more enviormentally friendly alternatives)

    January 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  23. Leo in Kuwait

    Question for Obama and Hillary: Please explain exactly what will be the most important change you are planning to implement and how does that help a middle class american(Soldier).

    January 14, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Catherine

    Ask the candidates to prioritize the following issues: (in other words what should American be focused on?)

    A. Gay Marriage – legalizing and is it more important than B,C,D,E,F
    B. Iraq – leave or stay?
    C. Economy – is is that bad and if so, what next?
    D. Abortion – is this issue deserving of more attention than others on this list?
    E. Education – NCLB act, working or not?
    F. Improving relations with the middle east – do we need too? If so, how?
    G. Immigration – can we keep ignoring it? If not, how do we control it?

    I understand certain issues are emotional hot buttons however, the fact is Americans are still killed in Iraq, fewer kids are being educated, terrorists continue to seek to destroy America and there seems to be a recession looming ahead in our future.

    Which candidate can focus on issues that face the entire country and not just a minority who use the national platform to take away attention from what I believe are too be much greater threats too this country.

    January 14, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. T

    I agree with the above poster. Do not be a Tim Russert type moderator. His questions were mean spirited and out" to get ya". Be fair to all the candidates. There is nothing worse than watching one candidate being ganged up on.

    You might want to ask Barak to clarify his voting records that Clintons are bringing up...

    Finally....I swear if you ask Hillary about her tears...I will never watch CNN again, and I will start a national boycott ( :

    January 14, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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