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.
I recently saw a picture of Obama's grandmother posted on CNN. His grandma appears to still be living in poverty in Kenya. Please ask Obama why he has not helped his grandma get out of poverty in Kenya with the wealth that he has here in America. If he wants to help uplift America and bring opportunities of prosperity for everyone, one must ask why he has failed to do so for his own grandmother? This goes to the heart of his character and judgement.
President Bush is wrapping up a trip to the Middle East where he reaffirmed the United States' strong relationship with and commitment to Israel, then went to Saudi Arabia and promised them millions of dollars in weapons and arms. A strong commitment to one nation's security, and then, in the same breath, millions of dollars for that nation's sworn enemy.
Does there come a time when the United States should stop placating everyone in the region, pick a side and get out of it?
After the Democrats remove all the troops from Iraq, how do they intend to handle the collapse of the government and the negative inpact that will have on the people of Iraq?
I'd like the following questions asked of the candidates:
Obama: Do you think affirmative action is a good policy? And do you think that electing you president over a more experienced contender would be a sort of affirmative action? Do you think Clarence Thomas was the most qualified for the job of Supreme Court Justice?
Clinton: What changes have you seen in China since your famous visit when you gave a speech in Beijing stating that women's rights are human rights?
Edwards: Why do you think John Kerry endorsed Obama over you, his old running mate?
To the candidates:
Seven years under the current administration has left this country weakened. What is one new idea that you might do to restore what we used to have?
Since this war their have been a lot of talk about Halliburton and KBR. These companies have received contracts with no bids. Evidence have been found of them misusing the millions they have been receiving for the work. These companies have clearing been capitalizing on wars in the middle east. Like vultures in a water drought. What will the candidates do to stop this type of corruption?
Question to all democratic candidates:
The Environment and its health is one change that needs to be addressed with intelligence and tact. How will you find a balance between fighting the "War on Terror" efficiently while still taking environmental threats here at home and abroad seriously economically?
Tiny shacks in Bangladesh are becoming solar powered at a rising rate, what would you do to make sure that the United States manages to keep up with a 3rd world country?
Please no more "Jerry Springer" type debates with questions like "why don't you think you're more popular?" This demeans the candidates, the voters and the process. Please stick to policy questions. I'd really like to know what they intend to do about some of the issues facing the country.
For each candidate – What quality do you admire in each of your opponents that you do not have?
To Hillary Clinton:
How do you expect to make the cost of health care go down by making it mandatory for people to buy? If people are forced to buy it why does that necessarily mean insurance companies are force to improve it? I don’t get it, especially the part about then subsidizing the industry with public funds after they already have some of the largest revenues in the United States, could you clear this up for me?
-David J. Ridley
I would like to know what the candidates thoughts on decreasing slightly the amount of foreign aid and moving that money for capital improvements in schools around the country for things such as infrastructure improvements as well as computers and money for art and gym classes. In addition to those capital improvements, make starting teacher salaries around the country $40,000 but tie future pay and employment to performance.
I've read "Dreams From My Father" and "Audacity of Hope." Also Sen. Clinton's autobiography. I think I have a better appreciation for the anger and frsutration which emanate from racial and gender bias as a result. My question to Sens. Obama and Clinton is this: What have you read, experienced, with whom have you worked or met, that has made you more appreciative of the plight and stuggle of men and women like me in the gay community? And would you support an openly gay man or woman for president, otherwise qualified? Would you consider one for your VP? For your cabinet?
I would ask Senator Clinton why her "experience" makes her more qualified for the Presidency when her "experience" as First Lady demonstrated the failure of her health care plan, 8 years of partisan bickering with the Republicans (recall her famous rants against the vast "right wing conspiracy"), and revealed her as the one of the single most polarizing figures in all of politics, if not THE most polarizing figure. How can someone like that ever bring the two parties together to actually get things done, regardless of her "experience"? Seems like we would be assured of even more gridlock.
One of the great obstacles facing the nation and the next President is to regain the trust of the international community. Given how unpopular President Bush is around the world, our allies and our enemies need to see that we are turning over a new leaf in our selection of the next President. Restoring our credibility is at a premium - it is the only way that we can expect help and advancement in ending the war in Iraq; establishing new and shared precedents for ending global warming on a, well, global level; etc., etc., etc. We have a great deal to learn from our allies, and we need to reconsider how we view and deal with the people, organizations, and nations with whom we do not have the friendliest of relationships. Surely this election is about who is best to lead the United States, but why do any of you feel that you have the face and mind to remake our place in the world, and how do you plan to do it?
IF YOU ARE REALLY SREIOUS ABOUT FREING THE COUNTRY FROM STRANGELEHOLD OF MIDDLE EAST OIL ARE YOU READY TO MAXIMIZE THE DEVELOPMENT OF RAILWAY TRANSPORTATION SPECIIFICALLY AND TO ENACT AND ENFORCE A LAW THAT REQUIRES GAS STATIONS TO HAVE ETHANOL PUMPS IN THEIR STATIONS AND NOT SIMPLY AN OPTION AS IS BEING DONE IN GERMANY?
I'd like to get to know the real you: what has been your Most Embarrassing Moment that has nothing to do with politics?
I am deeply concerned about our lack of commitment to the environment. I feel that we need to act quickly and decisively and this is going to require sacrifice by all American citizens and strong leadership by our executive branch. Do you agree and if so what would you ask of the American peopole and how would you lead by example?
Recognizing the success Karl Rove had with slander, and the deep emotional divisions it caused. What will the Democratic Candidates do to avoid this "the ends justify the means" mentality?
Or is Election more important than Truth?
Wolf. please let me call you that as you are in my living room more than I am these days..I respect your questions and you ask some of which I would certainly like to...straight forward adn to the point, even though the replies might not be. Thanks for the coverage and for the good work for the American people this important time.
Hillary Clinton has stated she is a leader, but in recent weeks she teared up at the height of campaign stress, and now she has her husband attacking her rival. Are we to understand that if there is a terrorist attack that she will cry while her husband makes the decisions?
I would like to hear very specific plans they have regarding Social Security, Medicare and immigration. I doubt we will hear anything specific, politicians seem incapable of answering a direct question with a direct answer.
Will you wage peace?
Much has been made this election about having foreign policy experience, and granted it is a serious issue, but my question is: Considering that we as Americans need to take care of home, besides the economy, what would be your top priority in your first 100 days domestically speaking?
A question for Hillary Clinton: If you became president, what role would your husband plan in your administration?