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. Eric, Chicago,IL

    To All Candidates:

    Many of you have lofty goals of realizing a dream of complete energy independence, and just as many have put emphasis on making sure the energy is "green".

    With the incredible advances and cost reductions occurring such as "printable" solar cells, improved wind generators, and other forms of renewable, nonvolatile power, do you have any plans to offer subsidies to business and households across the nation who wish to supplement their environmental friendliness by implementing solar water heaters, personal wind generators, geothermal heating/cooling systems, or other forms of self sufficient power supplements?

    Do you have any plans to cut the massive subsidies to oil and coal companies in order to bring costs up to their actual level for these types of energy, thus making renewable sources more competitive?

    January 14, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Lyle Johnson

    For Senators Obama and Clinton:

    For the last several years you have each had the opportunity to work in a bipartisan way with the Republican leadership, and for the last year with the Democratic leadership, to legislate your health care reform packages. Perhaps I missed it, but when did you introduce these bills, who co-sponsored them, when did they come out of committee, by what margin did they pass, and when did President Bush veto them?

    I assume he vetoed them since they are not law, and you are legislators who can introduce bills, and sometimes are even present to vote on them :-)

    I was taught in civics classes many years ago that Congress passes laws, the Executive branch enforces them, and the Judiciary interprets them. Yet I hear presidential candidates talk about introducing legislation when they become President, which they clearly cannot do.

    My question: What's stopping you from taking care of this NOW, while you have a seat and a vote in the U.S. Senate, and while your party is in control of both houses of Congress?

    Thank you.

    January 14, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Donna

    I agree that this question needs to be asked, and Hillary needs to answer. Saying that the documents are being reviewed and will be released in due time, is not an answer.

    "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 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. Tara Whittington

    My Question to all the candidates:

    I am a Senior at the University of North Carolina. When I graduate in 4 months, I will be nearly $30,000.00 in debt from student loans. With the unemployment rate rising, making the prospects of finding a job after graduation that much harder, what would you do as President to help recent grads find a job and pay off their debt?

    January 14, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. Julie

    In light of Pakistan's status as a nuclear power and in the wake of the assassination of Benizir Bhutto, what course of action should the US take to promote the stability of Pakistan without repeating the mistakes made in supporting the Shah of Iran.

    January 14, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Casey

    As the wife of a member of the United States Armed Services who is currently serving a tour of duty in Iraq, I am very concerned about recruitment and retention in our military. More and more service members are choosing to get out of the military when their commitment is up, and recruitment has been down for some time. All of this puts a strain on those who choose to continue to serve their country. Deployments are lasting longer and are coming more frequently. I would like to know what each of the candidates proposes to do to encourage both retention and recruitment within the military, as this could become a serious problem if it is not addressed appropriately by our government.

    January 14, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Feyk

    The actions of government seem to be increasingly divergent from the will of the people. Perhaps nowhere is this more obvious than in the shear size of the government, which has become a monster that is more expensive and less responsive as it swells in size.

    Do you think the government is too large and do you see any way it can be brought under control?

    January 14, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. P

    My question is:

    Many of the presidential candidates have changed their motto or their theme through out the campaign, how can they guarantee that they will not completely change their story/position after they are elected to office?

    January 14, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Anthony V

    To Barack Obama:

    I read on the internet that you took the position of supporting partial birth abortions? Is this true, and if so, can you provide your rationale for your positon?

    January 14, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Noble Seattle, WA

    If you were to become President would you choose the law over your personal conviction even when to do so will contradict the principles under which you are running to be President at the moment (and maybe got elected) and why would you go with whatever preference you decide?

    January 14, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  11. ClaudiaCalifornia

    There's been a lot of talk about "change" and how change is necessary for the country. But sometimes, as the old adage goes, if it's not broken, we shouldn't necessarily fix it. My question to the candidates is: Are there any current policies you would NOT change?

    January 14, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  12. CC, Chicago

    Sen. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have all advocated the position of pulling the troops out of Iraq. I'd like to know what their plan is for national security if the Iraqi government doesn't maintain stability post pull-out and Iraq slips into civil war. Will we save American troops lives at the cost of American civilian lives?

    January 14, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  13. CC, Chicago

    Much talk about immigration issues has been about illegal immigration. What about legal immigration? There are a limited number of green cards available for highly skilled workers, especially in technology. Many of the students at university graduate programs are foreign, and then leave our country and bring their new skills to their home countries because they can't get a green card here. Microsoft can't hire enough workers for facilities in the U.S. and is now opening an office in Canada. While worrying so much about amnesty for illegal immigrants, shouldn't we also be concerned about keeping some of the highly skilled workers here that our universities educated and trained?

    January 14, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. Barbara

    I believe the greatest threat to this country is the erosion of the wall between church and state. I would like the candidates to respond. In the 50s and 60s candidates still had their personal beliefs, attended (or chose not to) the church of their choice without much comment and without that becoming part of the body politic.(Although Kennedy drew attention for being Catholic, in the end, it became a non-issue.) Religious beliefs were not woven into the fabric of government, as they are today. I find this very frightening and dangerous... what do the candidates' think?

    January 14, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  15. kathy

    I'd like you to ask a job interview question. Like, "what would you do if...."

    nuclear bomb expodes at port...

    massive earth quake hits the Pacific NW.

    stock market drops by 1000 points

    etc.

    They should have specific answers, not their canned responses from the trail. Push them on this.

    January 14, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  16. John

    Do you think the time has come to stop playing "world police" and concentrate our resources into helping our own citizens. Spending funds on education, immigration and healthcare instead of the war in Iraq?

    January 14, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  17. Carolinda Carlson

    I feel 'EXPERIENCE' is a drawback. Isn't it these EXPERIENCED Washington folks who have caused our problems-bad trade deals, highest trade deficit, loss of jobs, etc. ??? Am I missing something?
    Also, is anyone focusing on the ROOT CAUSE of illegal Mexicans....?? We hear that after Nafta was signed, we sent our subsidized farm products to Mexico, displacing 19 million farmers...! (Etc.)

    January 14, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  18. Sherrian

    Thank you. Clinton says that Obama is just pretty words, what are her plans to run the government? What is her reason voting for war and now saying her vote was just a warning? I thought she was full of experience, she spins. What is she going to do about the inequities of the justice system (stop the racism against black me put into jail for the same offenses that white people get therapy and probation for), or really do mucho about the school system. I also fought for change in the school system , I have been a organizer, I have helped hundreds of kids stay in school, I have worked with the issues of the Children's Defense Fund, but I can't take credit for all that was done in those situations. She is a usurper, and a negator of others. She hates Obama because he is good and he has made her vulnerable in of all things race and taking credit for Civil Rights, when she thought she was sleeping in the White House again as President. In other words what real change has she made for Black people lately? Why does she say she can hit the ground running when she also has stated repeatedly that she will get a group together to help her decide how to handle the war? Is that not the same thing Barak Obama could do? She says that he is all talk and no substance, just a lot of uplifting rhetoric (belittling) how would electing her be different than a White man? White men simply handed the training and promotions to their women after the civil rights movement. She is just going to be another blue eyed blond pushed in our faces like all those newswomen who look alike and are like the White men who hired them. What are her changes? She is so busy downing Obama and talking about race ( but of course let's not make it an issue except when she wants to) that she is not really telling the public what her policies are. I was for her until she kept at the race thing and then tried to blame others for reacting to what she has said. By the way she never takes anything back but repeats it over and over while saying that it is of no importance. I think she is talking to White people and her rhetoric may help her win. How did she get 35 years of political experience? I calculate that she and Obama have about the same no of years real experience. While Obama was doing community work and I might add being an attorney as well, she was doing the same on her various committees and such. Why is the media not pinning her to explain herself about experience, her policies, her agenda, her need to neutralize others, and how is she different than a White man in America? She takes the black vote for granted. She says she is for us but I still want to know what she has planned to change how we are treated in this country? To be honest it would be great to ask her what did her husband really do for Blacks and what is she going to do, since I can't think of a thing either of them did to help us in this country where discrimination is rampant. Blacks voted Bill in because we did not want the other guy. Then we were ignored in reality. I can't play the sax but I did want better schools and less redlining. I don't care about Bill's elevator stuff and Hillary's 35 years of fictious experience. She is not truthful, when I saw her on meet the press she was cold, dismissive and herself, which scared me. She spins, when it seems she can get away with it and she did on Meet the Press. I think the media is now trying to take Obama down. Hilary and her husband or starting the we are white people saying the black guy is not good enough campaign. Media don't help them. This is everyday for Black people. Its called discrimination.

    January 14, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  19. Marilyn

    I am very concerned that so much money is going out of the USA due to trade deficits while our manufacturing industries are struggling and there is talk of raising taxes. I would like to hear how the candidates feel about adding tarrifs to incoming goods to raise money instead of taxing the American people and also balance the money involved in international trade.

    January 14, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  20. Samih Elakkad

    Isn't our system of a welfare state encouraging laziness where the hard working support the lazy. It is okay to help the disabled and poor, but Isn't it illeagle to steal from the hard working and to give to the lazy.

    January 14, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. paul

    There are repeated government studies and congressional hearings which prove there is no tech worker shortage in the United States. These studies also show Professional careers are under attack to labor arbitrage. In addition, the H-1B and L-1 guest worker Visas are called the "outsourcing" Visas by NASSCOM, an Indian trade association and have been proved to facilitate the offshore outsourcing of jobs.

    Why then do you promise to increase these very Visas which have hurt Professional workers? Why will you not present positions and policy based on the real facts and in support of the middle class, which most assuredly would not be to increase guest worker Visas and accelerate the offshore outsourcing of American jobs.

    January 14, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  22. Ron Ricketts

    Everyone talks about the war in Iraq, but what about the war in America. Since the war in Iraq started in 2002, over 16,000 Americans have been killed each year in America. I can only imagine what the uproar would have been if we had suffered such casualties in Iraq. What are you going to do to make America safe?

    January 14, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  23. Daryl Odnert

    A Question for the Candidates: In an 1886 decision (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company) the US Supreme Court decided that a private corporation is a person and is entitled to the legal rights and protections the Constitution affords to any person. In principle, do you agree that private corporations should be entitled to the same constitutional rights as private citizens? If so, why? Should labor unions be treated differently?

    January 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  24. Patrick Kunc, Denver Colorado

    I would like to know if given their parties nomination would any of the democrats consider any of the more moderate republicans, such as John McCain as a vice president or high cabinent position? I feel this move would go a long ways toward uniting the country.

    Thanks

    January 14, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Robyn

    America doesn't build anything anymore (Ships, Dams, 'works programs). What will you do to change this? Specifically. Don't tell me what your philosophy is. Tell me what action you would take.

    January 14, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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