January 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Blitzer: What would you ask the Democrats in South Carolina?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/11/art.sc.debate.cnn.jpg caption=" 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. Andrew

    Ask them about specifics about withdrawl in Iraq. All you hear is we need to set a timetable or that the surge is working and let it play out. That is not good enough. Joe Biden actually had a plan to divide the country into a loose 3 state federal system with each of Iraq's political and religious factions having their own state they can govern. It has it's flaws, but it is progress. I want to hear what is going to be done SPECIFICALLY to improve the political situation besides being patient.

    January 14, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  2. daryl

    To all the candidates:

    With the recent protests and dissatisfaction regarding Chinese land grabs, how would your administration respond to popular unrest in China that threatens to destabilize the country and region?

    January 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Víctor Colón

    Dear Presidential Candidate,

    Families of children with disabilities in the public school system do not have equal access to justice, contrary to what you may have been led to believe.

    Will you push for legislation to level the playing field? How will you convince Congress to accomplish this?



    (Wolf, Thanks for the opportunity.)

    January 14, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  4. Craig

    Wolf – please ask the candidates if they would make Election Day a national holiday (or at least move it to a weekend) to encourage and celebrate our most sacred right, electing our leaders.

    January 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  5. brian slater bakersfield, ca

    I would like to know how each of you support the Railroad? Over the past years the Bush administration has gave billions and billions to our airports and have literally ignored the railroad. The U.S. is far behind other established countries with passenger rail – How would you support the Railroad? With gas prices skyrocketing and the skies and airports overloaded, we need long term committment to the countries rail system. Please let me know how you would support the system and what plans you have in place?


    January 14, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. Shannon, Charlottesville, Virginia

    I'm supporting Obama, but I'd really like to know why he voted for the PATRIOT Act.

    January 14, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  7. gerald griffin - marietta, georgia

    Senator Clirnton (and others)

    Please define your experience you have been tauting throughout this campaign. Are you counting the time your were first lady in Arkansas and the White House, when it was your husband who was supposed be in the elected office.

    January 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  8. Bill Baird

    I would like to ask the candidates that in the waker of warrantless wiretapping, the military commissions act, signing statements that go against the very law being signed, holding American citizens without charge and without the rule of law, and other abuses of the constitution uder the Bush administration, what do they plan to do to bring back the primacy of the constitution.

    Many of these issues have been put through under the congress that contains members who are now candidates. How and what will they do to "turn back the clock" on the abuses to our consitution?

    January 14, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. lacquel

    Having just returned from Burma, this question is from the people I met on the street during my visit. "Given our poor track record with sanctions to promote democracy ie. Cuba etc. What would you do different to help bring freedom to the people of Burma?"

    January 14, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. margaret griffin - marietta, georgia

    Sen. Clinton

    How do you explain your refusal to distance yourself from Bob Johnson, founder of BET, who is credited with making millions by the degradation of women and negative influence of youth with the music videos he pandered on BET?

    As a feminist, a woman and a leader what is your position on tthis? I am an African American woman with an issue of your allowing his divisive statements at one of your rallies in S.C.

    January 14, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. Will Clinton

    Question for Hillary:

    What exatly is the 35yrs of experience you are talking about? What changes in govt have YOU initiated, discounting what president clinton has done. Does being first lady translate to experience?

    Why have you and hubby all of a sudden started playing the race card. It almost looked like barack was gonna embarrass you two with wins in Iowa and new hamshire...then you guys went on that personal divise rhetoric.....You had my vote but i'm thinking twice about it....EVEN IF YOU WIN THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION I MIGHT VOTE FOR JOHN MCCAIN!!

    January 14, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. Scott Rosenbloom

    I'd like to know if the candidates could discuss whether or not they think that "energy independence" could be a nationwide effort (just as JFK described going to the moon) and how it could be the key to jump starting other major issues like and upsurge in the economy, our involvement in the Middle East, unemployment, the interest of younger Americans in math and science, etc.

    Scott Rosenbloom,
    New York City

    January 14, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  13. Carol

    My question is for Senator Clinton.

    As far as my research has led me, Senator is the first elected office you have held and you weren't elected 35 years ago. Would you please explain to America what you did during these past 35 years that equate "experience".

    January 14, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. Al n NJ

    Why does being the First Lady either of a Governor or President qualify a person to run a country?

    If Hillary is so confident in her experience, why is it necessary to have Bill on the campaign trail?

    January 14, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  15. gerald griffin - marietta, georgia

    Sen. Clinton,

    Please define the experience you have been heralding. Are the years you were first lady in Arkansas and Washington what you are including as a part of your experience?

    And...will former President Clinton have a post if you become president? Or will former President Clinton be running the country like you have been giving yourself credit for doing while he was in the White House?

    January 14, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  16. James H. Murphy

    Questions for those who believe the H-1B is about a shortage of Americans to do the job:

    1. If corporations get all the H-1Bs and green cards they want, can the long term consequence be anything other than total dependence on foreigners for technology?
    2. Is Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, wrong? He testified to Congress: “Simply producing more engineers and scientists may not be the answer because the labor market for those workers will simply reflect lower wages or, perhaps, greater unemployment for those workers.”
    3. Is Vivek Wadhwa of Duke University, a supported of more foreign workers (he is one), wrong? He says “…the problem isn't the supply, it's the demand…we have enough engineers and scientists. The problem is that the salaries aren't there.”
    4. Why are law firms, like the notorious Cohen & Grigsby, holding seminars on how to legally avoid hiring qualified Americans? Lawrence Lebowitz’s famous quote explaining of the PERM application process to employers. "Our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker, and that, in a sense, sounds funny, but it's what we are trying to do here."
    5. Shortage at what price? My undergraduate economics professor made a big deal about it not making economic sense to claim a shortage without a price. For example, claiming there is a shortage of good five cent cigars makes sense. A claim that there is a shortage of cigars is foolish. There is no doubt that there is a shortage of college graduate programmers at $20,000 a year, is there a shortage at what the average American programmer makes? So the question is at what price?
    6. If there is a shortage why are real wages going down?
    7. Why is it that those employers who claim a shortage of American tech workers laying off so many of them?
    8. Is socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrong? He says "What many of us have come to understand is that these H-1B visas are not being used to supplement the American workforce where we have shortages but, rather, H-1B visas are being used to replace American workers with lower cost foreign workers,"
    9. Is Nobel economist Milton Friedman wrong when he says the H-1B is a subsidy? He said "There is no doubt, that the [H-1B] program is a benefit to their employers, enabling them to get workers at a lower wage, and to that extent, it is a subsidy."
    10. Why not end the H-1B and other work visas and allow a free market solution? An increasing wage will attract more workers to science and engineering and solve any supply shortage that MAY exist. Free markets do not have shortages.

    January 14, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. Dennis Raz

    Wolf: I have not heard any discussions about the infrastructure of the U.S. Bridges come to mind, but there are as many old and failing buildings, schools, housing, nursing homes too many to list. What would or could, a president do to shore up America? I think its about ime that the inflation index address the real costs we face every day. Currently food and any form of energy is not used to ascertain our inflation rate. I think these issues should be addressed. P.S. Tell Lou that I'm about to become an independent. thanks!

    January 14, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  18. Ziggy

    Dear Wolf,
    Please ask how each one of them differs from Ron Paul.

    January 14, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  19. margaret griffin - marietta, georgia

    Sen. Clinton,

    How do you explain your support of Bob Johnson, founder of BET, when he has made millions off the degradation of women and youth through is pandering of exploitation music videos that reflect young women and African Americans negatively?

    January 14, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. Ann

    How can Senator Clinton claim more experience than any other candidate in the field? She hasn't served as Senator since she was 26. Please explain.

    January 14, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  21. Robert C


    Please ask each of the candidates their basis for believing that the government can create and manage a health care program better than a properly incented free market?



    January 14, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  22. Arleen Benson

    A question for each candidate: 1) How has 'up to the minute' press coverage of your campaign effected your campaign strategy and, 2) is your campaign counting on 'the press' to get your positions out to all the Super Tuesday states and beyond or do you intend to visit some or all of them yourselves?

    A question for you, Mr. Blitzer: I used to think CNN presented the news in a non-biased, non partisan way until the primaries started. Now, however it seems that most of the commentators and news staff have 'crowned' Obama and relegated Clinton to 'racist' status. What has happened? Have the formats of the afternoon/evening shows changed to all be strictly 'non news'? Thank you. Arleen Benson, Seattle Washington

    January 14, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  23. Justin

    I too would like to know more about Hillary's claimed 35 years of experience. If her experience comes from the private sector as well as being married to an elected official, then the person we should be electing is Bob Byrd's wife. Better yet, let's make it a Mrs. Byrd/Mrs. Thurmond ticket.

    January 14, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  24. Sam

    For Hillary:

    Senator Clinton, in 1993 you were charged with creating a universal health care plan. At the time the majority of the public was in favor of universal health care, your husband was president and there was a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. Despite this it failed disastrously and was the basis for Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution that saw both houses lost to the Republicans. What assurance do Democrats have that we won't see history repeat itself if you are elected?

    January 14, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  25. Keith

    Q: Without using the word "change" or any of its variants, what specific initiatives would you propose to restore the many civil rights that have been taken (rather, given to the government BY the government) from the American people.

    January 14, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
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