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
How about specifics on social security?
As a 39 y/o physician-I see a good chunk of my check for the year go toward social security. I do not expect that this program will be available for me when I retire.
I have heard various proposals from "raise the income cap for social security tax" to "let's get fiscally responsible first" to "let's set up another commission"
What about using social security funds for social security only?
what about raising the retirement age?
Raising the income cap to me means more of my money into a program that will not benefit me-also it seems that it is too easy to use social security funds for other government programs, etc.
This is a problem that needs solutions! Especially when we have borrowed ourselves into a hole in Iraq. Who pays this bill??
The buzz word for this election is "Change". Every canidate promises the moon when they are running for election then they get elected and get bogged down in "The System". If you were "Joe/Jane Voter", and you've lost your job to overseas workers, or you can't afford proper medical care for your family, or you're working harder and longer just to keep your head above water, or you feel your freedoms are being taken away in the name of national security, or your husband, son, daugther, wife, etc., has come home from the war and can't get decent care for his/her patriotism, and you are worried that this country has lost respect in the eyes of the world which lever do you pull? What makes you think you are "The One" that can really make change occur? Everyone of you has been part of "The System". Some a short amount of time and some a longer amount of time. One more thing........exactly when should we start looking for this change to occur? So far the election if the same old thing as always.
Question for Hillary.
Did you know you conduct yourself as if being married to a former president gives you an edge of some sort. You made no diplomatic decisions. You traveled with with Mr. Clinton; tell us how that translates into experience where you made the difference?
To all candidates: Do you believe Health Care and Home ownership are rights? If yes, how do you expect to provide them for every citizen with so much of our revenue going to continue our conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan?
I would like to know from each of the candidates, if elected President , specifically, which 5 top priorities would they focus on in the first thirty days of their administration
and what are they.
Exactly how do you, the candidates plan to address this question from a viewer in Michigan, a state whose economy is arguably one of the worst in the nation: How are you going to help us? How are you going to make sure the whole country doesn't fall into the same recession?
There have been many questions and comments made in the debates regardiong Iraq and the war on terrorism. Turnign to peace, how active a role would each candidate take in striving for a peace agreement in the Middle East between isreal and the Palestinians and other Arab States?
Senator Obama, if you are elected president, can you promise the American people that you will value the primary role of education in transforming the country? Given that a teacher is the most important determinant in improving a child's learning, what policies will you introduce to raise the profile of teachers and encourage a new generation of dedicated and inspirational teachers?
All candidates: What will you do to get the health insurance companies out of making health care decisions?
Mr Edwards, it is evident from the last debate that you have decided to align yourself with Senator Obama against the "forces of status quo", known more kindly as Senator Clinton. While you speak constantly and passionately against rich special interest groups, don't you find it ironic that each one of you has to be a multi-millionaire simply to run for president? Isn't this the real 'force of status quo', especially given that America is supposed to be governed 'of the people, by the people, and for the people?'
In review of the senate voting records for Clinton, Obama & Edward's, why does Obama have so many no votes?
Question to All Candidates:
What would be your immediate action as President to stop illegal immigration? And
How do you feel about the Trans Texas Corridor (TTC) super-freeway being built?
All candidates: How will you improve the education system in the United States besides getting rid of No Child Left Behind?
Senator Clinton, if a nation clearly and unambiguously launched a nuclear attack against America, would you immediately retaliate by firing a nuclear weapon at that nation? Do you believe in the power and message of retaliation, especially given the number of innocent lives which would be lost in such an attack?
We often hear candidates tout their abilities to improve the economy and create jobs. The Republicans often repeat the mantra of "tax cuts" and most candidates talk about research for the future as a means to improve the situation, yet many experts say that a president has very little impact on the economy. With the threat of a recession looming ahead of us, what practical steps will you take as president that will have an IMMEDIATE effect on the economy and job creation?
There are about 20-30,000 illegal immigrants in the small state of Rhode Island alone. This state, as well as many others are in debt.
1. Since you are Democrats and are not willing to be tough on illegal immigration, I would like to know how you will help the states with the added burden these illegal immigrants put on social services, including hospitals, schools and police force?
2. What will you do to enforce the immigration laws that are already written?
3. What will you do to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the border for "a better life" in the USA?
4. Are you willing to work with the Mexican government to improve the Mexican citizens' life?
What will you do to improve the crumbling schools and infrastructure in the United States?
Why not a program similar to the WPA?
Please keep this debate focused and don't let the participants to go on after their time limit. Also, please do not ask personal questions. Keep to issues.
Please explain your cocaine usage in more detail than sketched in your book, and tell us how this would impact our youth with an improper message about illegal drug usage?
The total US deficit is about 9 trillion and climbing to 10 trillion. This amounts to every US family owning a debt of approximately $100,000. How would the candidates reduce this massive debt during their term in office ? Will they sign up for a balanced budget and find a guaranteed way to bring the deficit down to half its value in 4 years.
Take note from the MSNBC debate. Ask about the issues! The democrats are getting off easy. Not many care about gender or race.
Q: How would your administration head off problems like the mortgage crunch we are experiencing? What mechanisms would you put in place to keep a finger on the pulse of segments of society that could get out of hand?
Do the candidates believe the length and cost of this campaign harms the country? It seems to me that it turns some people off and leads to cynicism about politics in general. For example: how many votes have Clinton and Obama missed in the senate? How in the world can any of the candidates have the time and energy to do justice to their current posts?
For the candidates: The power of the Presidency in the World's most powerful nation is a dangerous entity. It can harm and help the world. As we know there is supposed to be a checks and balances in our government. This means that no single entity can do something without the – advice and consent of the Senate or signed into law by the President. That being said, how will you use the Presidential powers granted by the Congress? Will you be quick to use the Executive Order to legislate from the Oval Office? Or will you be willing to use the Constitution and allow the Congress that is also elected by those who elect you into office to do what they are paid to do?
How can you as a feminist, supporter of the African American community, and mother, feel it is ok to align yourself with Bob Johnson a promoter of mysognistic music videos and negative influence on the culture of our youth?
Please tell me how this would play with your female voters?