WASHINGTON (CNN) - I must say I was stunned by the amazing reaction to my request Friday for suggested questions for the upcoming Democratic Presidential debate that CNN is co-sponsoring with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina next Monday night, January 21. So far, we have received some 2,000 comments. I am not surprised that almost all of them were serious and well-informed.
I have always had high confidence in our CNN viewers. I know you are smart because you wouldn’t be watching The Situation Room and all of our other CNN political coverage if you weren’t. There are simply too many other options available to all of you - ranging from sitcoms, to sports, to silly talk shows. Our viewers are intelligent and that certainly came through with your comments. You can take a look at them yourself. If you take the time, you too will be impressed.
Let me assure you that our team is going through all of these suggested questions, and we will select some of them for the debate. We will also use your ideas to formulate some other questions. You’ve raised serious issues and Suzanne Malveaux, Joe Johns and I are taking them very seriously. This has been a great opportunity for us to know what is on your minds, and we are grateful to you for the help.
Throughout my journalistic career, I have always cherished the fact that I am blessed with a front-row seat to history. I have the opportunity and privilege to ask important newsmakers tough and important questions. In the process, I see myself as our viewers’ representative. You might not have that chance, but I do - and I take it very seriously.
By the way, if you'd like to see some of the questions already asked, you can read them by clicking here. Thanks again.
–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer
Today, elected officials at every level seem more interested in catering to special interests and slinging mud at the oppositon party than representing the will and meeting the needs of the people. As a result, vast numbers of Americans feel helpless and hopelessly disconnected from the political process that once made our nation the envy of the world. My question is, platitudes and generalities aside, what specific actions would you as president take to help working-class Americans feel more connected to our political system and restore their faith in their elected officials?
This question is for all candidates,
Given that today is the birthday of one of our most honored leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. if he were alive today how would you think he would react to the negativity that has played out over the last few days regarding race and personal attacks?
If you really want a fair and unbiased debate, please allow Glen Beck to be on the panel of asking questions.
What ever happened to IRAQ?!?!
Questions for Senator Clinton:
Can you assure the American people that former President Clinton would be restrained from having any contact with White House Interns, should you be elected or re-elected into office?
Can you give us a quick walk-through of your "35 years" of experience, and what specifically you, not the Clintons, but you as an individual accomplished in these 35 years?
Does being a First Lady qualify as experience that qualifies one to run for the highest office in the land? Is that really the kind of experience that is needed to run the country?
I am a third-year Political Science major from California who has been following this election closely from both sides. My question is about a topic of great importance, yet one that has hardly been brought up – Israel.
Israel is one of our strongest allies in the Middle East, and the Israeli lobby is a strong political force in this country. The United States has sworn to protect the Jewish State from the aggression of its neighbors (in particular Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia). However, the Israeli government has not been held accountable for its violations of humanitarian rights under international law, or at least not by the United States.
A particularly significant example of this was seen in the Israeli-Lebanese War in the summer of 2006. This war was justified by Israel and the United States as part of the "War on Terror" and as a preemptive defense. (How ironic.) The U.S. Congress voted in support of "Israel's right to defend itself." After the war, a Human Rights Watch report attributed many of Lebanon's civilian casualties to "indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes" and accused both Israel and Hezbollah of "failing to distinguish between civilians and combatants." Israel's use of cluster munitions in civilian areas was also criticized, and many undetonated bombs still remain in Lebanon.
At the same time, however, Israel's conflict with Palestine remains unresolved. In order to facilitate peace, we need the cooperation of both parties. In addition, both parties must be willing to make certain sacrifices in order to bring about a resolution.
My question for the candidates is two-fold:
1. What will you do to make sure ALL nations – not just those we disagree with (i.e. Iran, Syria, North Korea) – abide by international law, and
2. What is your plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
I am a soldier in the United States Army. Why should anyone in this country vote for you when you refuse to put your hand over your heart or face the American flag during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance?
Referring to Richard Cohen's article in the Washington Post, I would like Obama to comment on Dr. Jeremiah A Wright Trumpeter Award to Louis Farrahkan. Rev. Wright is Obama's spiritual advisor. Does he support this award??
Hillary has told us that she 'found her voice' in New Hampshire. Does that mean that she was merely going through the motions and saying only what she was told to say? My question is Should we believe anything that she said prior to New Hampshire because frankly it did all seem quite rehearsed.
One of things that could help medicare is to put everyone on it. In fact everyone should have just what the old folks in this country have for healthcare (you don't hear them complaining ... medicare with a private gap policy to take care of the things that medicare does not. These gap policies are less expensive then the full ones offered now. With a huge pool it should help lower the costs for everyone. Healthcare should not be a profit making industry. It is a well known fact that medicare is far more efficient then private health insurance ... 3 percent of costs go to administrative costs vs. 12 to 15 percent for the private insurers. The car industry as well as other manufacturers' would have the healthcare monkey off their backs so that they can compete evenly with those countries that cover their workers with a single payer system.
I want each of the candidates to answer what is wrong with having everyone on the same healthcare program as our old folks ... medicare plus a private 'gap' policy?
Hillary Clinton is now telling us that she is an agent of 'change' and yet ,recently the tactics that she is allowing her campaign to use is straight from the Republicans playbook. I'm not impressed with that all. Quite frankly, I find it disgusting. So my question is when does this 'change' begin. (perhaps after we help her win the election?) hmmm
Thank you for the opportunity, Wolf.
"It seems that with the increasingly easy access to information and the proliferation of Presidential politics as a form of entertainment, I spend as much time reading, hearing, watching and thinking about how the respective candidates play the game as I do about where they stand on 'issues.' While I am attracted to the notion of 'straight talk,' I am fearful that it too is more aesthetic than substantive. In addition to any public voting record that you might have, what do you suggest that I examine in order to best make my choice for our country's next president?"
General Question for all candidates:
I recently read an article on 'Yahoo News' about the number of single adult and single parent households actually out-numbering the number of 2 adult households.
Why is it that politicians seem to want to cater to the multi-adult households and seem to ignore the fact that single adults are actually equal or might be the majority these days?
Why are all Tax comments geared towards the multi-income households when single adult (especially the single adults without children tax credits) have no one to rely on, for ALL HOUSEHOLD expenses, except the single income and with absolutely NO tax breaksor 'responsibility credits'??
Also, with the number of Seniors (over 60) who are being widowed at an all time high and the number of younger adults being more responsible and not having children out of wedlock, I honstly think it is high time that politicians start to take a hard look at leveling out the playing field!!
I personally am part of the younger (mid 30's) single and childless demographic and I am tired of losing out on the extra 2 or 4 thousand dollars annually that are credited as a head of household. What politician has a plan to help out what has become or is fast becoming the majority of American Households?
"Please share for whom you voted in the Presidential elections since you were able (if you did vote), why you voted the way you did at the time, and how you feel about that vote now."
"How do you think that the role of the President of the United States and the nature of the presidency have changed in the last century?"
For Sen. Clinton: Why does your campaign support the Nevada State Teachers Association lawsuit against the Culinary Workers Union? The lawsuit seeks to stop an arrangement by the Culinary Workers Union that would allow casino and hotel employees to be able to caucus at their places of work so they didn't have to take time off of work to vote. Why is it a bad thing to give more people the opportunity to cast their vote?
For Sen. Obama: Your message of hope and bipartisanship is appealing to a great many voters, but has so far lacked in specifics. Please give an example of one specific thing you would do as President to bring an end to the partisanship and polarization in Washington.
Thanks and God Bless America! Peace!!
From Tristan Penton in Miami:
OBAMA IS NOT FINDING COMMON GROUND. HE IS THE ONE THAT IS DIVIDING AND BANKING ON CLINTON'S ALREADY DIVISIVE ELEMENT IN THE POLITICAL WORLD.
HOW SICK. HOW SICK. HOW SICK!
HE IS FAST-TRACKING HIS CAREER! THE AUDACITY FOR HIM TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT!
WE CAN'T TALK ABOUT HIS DRUG ABUSE BUT HE CAN LIE ABOUT CLINTON TO EVERYBODY'S FACES IN HOPES THAT PEOPLE WILL BECOME UPSET ABOUT RACE AND WHO TAKES MORE CREDIT LBJ OR MLK?
OH MY GOD…
She later writes to remove her comments because she was not aware of such a double standard. May I inquire of why she never asked about our current President's marijuana and cocaine use with such urgency?
Frankly, after Bush, if anyone asks about past drug use in their past, I think all candidates should be treated as Bush has been by allowing them to sidestep the issue similarly so as not to impress children today with the sense that "daddy, the president smoked pot, maybe I should" (Bush's taped quotes).
Anyone who brings this up should be blasted for their double standards. Democrats allowed Bush to keep a lid on his usage for sake of his concerns above and his privacy. And I'll be horse-whipped before I see any sanctimonious hypocrisy from a Republican on the issue after allowing it to slide with their choice for President with nary a peep - they *better* keep quiet!
If you wish to press the issue with Obama, or Bill Clinton inhaling or anything else, then let's also demand a blood, hair and drug test from George W. Bush (he who chokes on pretzels and passes out in the Pres. bathroom a la 2001). If it's not equivalent, then yes Ms. Penton, there is that double standard so alive!
Seems like my comment was removed. Guess I hit my mark. Truth stings. CNN and all news commentaries need to practice integrity and responsibility. News in service to one's ratings is not a good thing. Lets concentrate on what is important.
For example: What are the candidates positions or thoughts on the following>
-Bush's recent billion dollar armament gift to the Saudi's, in addition to nuclear power (ostensibly for domestic use).
-Saudi's denial of Bush's request that they increase production to ease the resession in the US.
-Social Security benefits, medicare, and presciption plans.
-Education reform, we have been in a dumbing of America process. High School and College educated people who cannot read or write effectively or efficiently. The lack of students entering the sciences, etc.
The high cost of education.
-The economy, lose of manufacturing jobs, outsourcing, the trade deficit.
-The increase of jobs in the service sector while increasing are extremely low paying...how is that good for the economy?
-The real estate mortgage crisis.
The war in Iraq and in Afghanistan...billions of dollars and the priceless loss of lives. What is a better solution?
Pakistan: friend or foe? What is the reality?
American solution to world crisis is simply to throw money at the problem. Or to arm adversaries into "allies". Is there a better way?
Global warming crisis. Solar energy, alternative fuels...why the molasses in january approach to such a 'solvable solution". Notwithstanding our own untethered and protected oil cartells.
Corporate welfare. Is it time to finally say, enough is enough?
Those are my top picks.
Given our dependence on foreign oil and the pathetic situation it creates where a US president has to visit Saudi Arabia to "complain" about pumping levels and increased prices, why aren't the candidates talking about real, specific solutions that we could accomplish now? Here's a novel idea...why can't the US government create a non profit organization that can leverage federal land for pumping oil closer to home? That would reduce our dependence on oil from Arab countries, eliminate the need to fight a trillion dollar war in Iraq, give us a short term solution until we develop viable fuel alternatives, and the proceeds could be used to address our healthcare and social security issues. I'm sure we'll hear lots of challenges to an approach like this (e.g., no drilling in Alaska, gov't shouldn't be involved, etc.), but these are all driven by special interests. We have real problems and need real solutions.
Enough with the banter back and forth based on your recent, inaccurate poll results.
Here we go:
1. Should you be elected, will you use signing statements on approved legislation?
2. What will you do to make the selection of Supreme Court justices an open
process as opposed to the high political process we now have?
3. What will you do, as President, to change the silly rule we presently have to override a veto which leaves the ultimate fate of legislation in the hands of one person rather than in the hands of our national legislators where it really belongs?
4. Would you support an effort to have the Vice President elected by the people, rather than the tagalong method we now use?
Aside to Wolf Blitzer: Bring a shrill whistle and if any of the candidates continue to bring up points we have heard from them time and time again, let them have it.
It does get boring after awhile.
Question for anybody besides Ron Paul:
Our nation is so deep in debt that interest payments will make it difficult even to stay where we are, let alone ever get out. This issue has rarely been discussed in this election. Does it matter? How will you address it?
The No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001. In 2008 there have been many acknowledgments and criticisms in relationship to this law. What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of No Child Left Behind? What will be your priorities to the education of this country?
To the Democratic candidates:
1. Why are the Democrats trying to push a new immigration bill that includes amnesty for the illegal immigrants when they know the majority of the people in this country want secure borders first and a fair way to citizenship? That means, get in line behind those that are here legally trying to obtain citizenship.
2. Don't you think you should represent the majority of the citizens of this country rather than catering to big business interest that only want illegals here for cheap labor? Democrats are acting more and more like Republicans all the time.
Has John Edwards worked any gainful employment in the last 5 years? How many voters can take off work for 5 years to campaign? Is he a 'Professional Candidate'? How does constant campaiging while building a 20 + thousand square foot home make him 'one of us'?
Ask Obama why he thought campaigning was more imortant than showing up to vote on the Iran issue? Does he understand this to be a pivotal moment he could have documented his foreign policy stance. He braggs about saying the Iraq War was wrong, but did not hold the office to vote for or against. When he did have the authority to vote on Iran he blantantly avoided it. Didn't want to leave a paper trail?
How are American Workers to compete against the world two largest human populations, China and India with one of them Communist with the worlds largest standing army and can set sub standard wages.
Why are they content that we lower our wages to match the rest of the world?
What do they consider a 'service' industry'. If you don't manufacture it, you don't service it.
Ask both Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama what they plan to do to make sure that we dont have a continuing attack against the american people and thier civil rights and the rights that have been established in the Constituion . The Bush administration has turned the goverment into a tool to harass,embarass and intimidate the very people that they swore to protect.