January 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
9 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. scott

    ask if they believe the electoral college should be abolished, as some states have done under the National Popular Vote.

    January 14, 2008 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  2. Steve Holland

    To Senator Clinton, Senator Obama and Senator Edwards:
    The SAVE (Secure America with Verification and Enforcement) Act has been recently introduced in both houses of Congress with broad bi-partisan support (137 co-signers to date). Will you sign on as a cosponsor of this important legislation and as President work hard for it's full implementation? If so, why? If not, why not?

    January 14, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    Wolf, would you please ask them how their healthcare plans (except Kucinich's) will help solve our healthcare crisis when they will REQUIRE that we pay into the broken private health insurance system whose only interest is profiting from NOT giving healthcare?

    Wouldn't it be better to use all our tax dollars that go to government subsidies for these wealthy corporations and the $300 billion a year in administrative and paperwork costs (would be eliminated with Kucinich's single-payer) to ACTUALLY give us healthcare?

    And lastly to Clinton, Edwards, and Obama: Are you insurance salesmen?

    January 14, 2008 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  4. Eric Tracy

    I agree with previous comments that an important area where a dialogue has been lacking is the true extent of Obama's drug use, and whether or not he ever did actually sell drugs at any time.

    In the form of a question, "If you insist that Senator Clinton's initial vote authorizing some form of action in Iraq is an important blemish on her voting record, why is your past drug use not an important blemish on your record as a citizen?"

    I truly believe that Barack Obama is not receiving the kind of scrutiny that Hillary Clinton is receiving. The media seems to be playing nice with Obama and Edwards, while Senator Clinton's voting record and policy positions are being questioned at every debate. It seems to me as though the questions posed to all of the candidates, Hillary included, are very easy to answer with voter-pleasing sound bites that denigrate the other candidates, despite the fact that they all agree on basic issues. I think that a more direct and assertive line of questioning for all the candidates is called for this time. As a moderator, you should be willing to peel away at the political answers to get at the bare truth, and uncover the political statements.

    Ask Obama why he seems to consider experience irrelevant. It seems ridiculous. If all a candidate for President requires is a good acumen of rabble-rousing sound bites regardless of relevant experience, the only purpose of these elections is to determine who can rile up the voters most. That would be a very sad day for the American media, whose goal should be to confront the candidates as genially but as aptly as possible.

    I apologize for the long comment 🙂

    January 14, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  5. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    Wolf, could you please ask the candidates (Obama, Clinton & Edwards) how they can justify treating American people that happen to be gay unequal by forbidding them to marry the people they love? Is it for votes?

    And if their answer is for religious reasons, will you please remind them of the separation of church and state? How can they force their warped hateful religion on the citizens of our country? Land of the free, home of the brave?

    Dennis Kucinich is the only one that gets it on every issue. He is by far the most evolved candidate in the race.

    January 14, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  6. Zach

    Is affirmative action just? If not, would you continue it as president?

    January 14, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  7. Don Johnson

    Please ask all of the republican canadates if they will undo the law (passed in the omnibus budget) which cuts the amount of borders fence in half and cuts the double fence to a single fence, and makes it nearly impossible to build given the local consultaitons, environmental impact studies, and other red tape.

    January 14, 2008 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  8. Scott Carter


    Please ask the candidates if they were in office and a major terrorist attack (on par with 9/11) were to take place on American soil how would they respond both as President and as Commander-in-Chief. Would such an act be considered an act of war and would they be willing to go before Congress seeking a declaration of war against the terrorists and host country(s)?

    Thank you,

    January 15, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  9. Cason K.

    How will Israel play a role in your middle eastern foreign policy?

    January 15, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  10. tomasz

    Please ask Hillary ,
    If she claim she cares so much about our country ... why she did not run against Bush in 2004. It was already obvious what to expect from him.

    And another one about the war.

    If she claims :
    "“Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote..."

    After this confession she should get out of politics because of the admitted failure and why should we trust her judgement?

    January 15, 2008 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  11. Damian Hopkins

    My question to the democratic candidates is simple:

    with all three of you vying hard for the black vote, why should black Americans vote democratic? Blacks break 9-to-1 democrat, yet black schools and communities are in shambles, and hospitals that serve black neighborhoods are hospitals you wouldn't want YOUR loved ones forced to use. With black loyalty to democrats obvious, would you continue voting democratic despite the appalling results of democratic loyalty listed above?

    January 15, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  12. Dan

    I would like Obama to respond to Hillary Clinton's attack on his campaign coordinator Jim Demers who Hillary attacked as being a lobbyist for the drug company Fizer. How can Obama push for health care reform and to rid Washington of lobbyist influence if his close adviser works for a drug company

    January 15, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  13. Mike

    Mr. Blitzer,

    Please ask the candidates a question that is on many of our minds and clear up the mass of confusion.

    Hillary Clinton claims she will bring change. Why is she reverting to old "un-changed" "Washington" ways of campaigning. Her campaigning is attempting to down other candidates and trying to moving the focus off herself. Please ask her why she is contradicting her statements (and consistently is doing so).

    Also, please ask her how Bill Clinton's experience in politics, and as president, automatically gives her so much "experience" and will be ready if she walks in as president.

    Lastly, please ask her why she attempts to bring the "women factor" into the campaign and then accuses other candidates of doing the same thing, even though other candidates did not the same as her.


    January 15, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  14. James

    My question is for Mr. Edwards

    I feel your passion when it comes to lobby's buying the country off of elected officials that vowed to represent the people, and I am sure you can understand why its so hard to trust those in office.

    and I agree with you that Lobbying should not be allowed to feast off of our quality of life.

    But I don't blame Lobbying, I blame those in office that accept it in trade.

    So, we have a supply and demand issue, If ethics reform had real teeth, there would be no place for lobbying.

    Please respond to what you would do to change the culture in Washington if you are elected president

    James (Los Angeles)

    January 15, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  15. Phyllis

    Please ask Senator Clinton if she can, in good conscious, look into the eyes of the mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of our fallen soldiers and continue to say (as she did on Meet the Press) that she did not realize that she was voting for authorization to go to war. I think I am more concerned about her voting without fully understanding the implications than I am about the vote itself. This is very concerning.

    January 15, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  16. pjonathan

    To all the dems, starting with Hillary:
    What has the Bush-Cheney administration done that has most harmed America?

    What has the Bush-Cheney administration done that has most harmed Americans?

    January 15, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  17. pjonathan

    What legislation enacted in the last 20 years will you work in your first year of office to repeal?

    January 15, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  18. James

    This question is for Senator Obama,


    You understand the need no doubt that Americans are losing America, and to save something of it for our children, and our children's children, there is a need to change the course.

    We are in a perfect storm of challenge, the Economy, which no one seems to be talking about in its entirety, I remember a time when I was in high school, during summer vacation, finding a job that helped me learn the value of hard work, finance management and priority sought us out.

    Today, I see this generation of high school vacationers competing with a foreign population, that are not here legally filling those same slots.

    So my question is this, How do you balance the quality of life of your potential constituents, with the effects the new comers have on them?

    January 15, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  19. Anonymous

    what will be the american benefit from the midele east

    January 15, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  20. pjonathan

    To all democrats:
    Of all the positions of all of the republicans, which one do you disagree with the most and why?

    January 15, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  21. James

    Senator Clinton

    Experience, there is no doubt that you have Washington experience, advocacy experience, and family experience, and I will not question them.

    But I do question your judgment, and I want to point out two; your vote for the war in Iraq, you submit in hindsight should not have happened.

    The information following the failure of the comprehensive immigration policy, reflects that it would not have done the job projected.

    We see a similar pattern from the current president in which we all feel missed the opportunity to really represent Americans.

    So my question is: If your elected President, how would you eliminate risk associated with bad policies that often come from oversight.

    January 15, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  22. pjonathan

    to all the democrats:
    Which republican will best continue the policies of the Bush-Cheney administration?

    January 15, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  23. Saybome

    Wolf – Please ask these candidates what do they consider the greatest threat to the American Way of Life, why do they think so, and what do they intend to do about it.


    January 15, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  24. ROBERT BROWN JR, Warner Robins, Ga

    For All Candidates – Dems & Reps

    1. Customer Service in the U.S. has basically gone down the tube – there is no personal service. Major corporations are achieving major profits and senior managers are receiving big bonuses and the national unemployment rate is alarmingly high with many U.S. citizens at the lower pay scale finding it hard to find a job – do you and will you (as a starting point) support tax incentives to businesses that hires real customer services representatives and which throw away voice recordings-answering machines to stimulate employment and personal economies.

    2. Is Change Really In The Air and Is Healing A Part Of Change – the latest housing market information looks dismal while reparations remains in limbo. Financial stability and home ownership are two main issues that have been lacking for the majority of Black Americans since slavery – how would you cure both the current housing market crisis and reparations and would you support reparations legislation that would provide 3% mortgages backed by the Federal Government to assist with settling the issue and which also would allow all Americans to refinance at the 3% mortgage interest rate to stimulate the economy, healing a wounded people and road to recovery.

    January 15, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  25. Marisol


    To Senator Obama:

    Why did you wait one week to condemn accusations against Hillary that her remarks (and her husband’s) were racist in nature? Moreover, upon condemning these accusations, you then proceeded to state to ABC News on January 14, 2008 that the comment was revealing about her political character. "I do think it was indicative of the perspective that she brings, which is that what happens in Washington is more important than what happens outside of Washington." He said he believes the quote betrays a belief on her part, "that the intricacies of the legislative process were somehow more significant than when ordinary people rise up and march and go to jail and fight for justice." He called that a "fundamental difference" between them (Source: ABC News Political Radar: “Obama Damps Down Racial Controversy” 01-14-08).

    Is there not a hypocrisy in your statement? Didn't Hillary explicitly acknowledge Dr. King's contributions in all the aspects you outlined beforehand? What is this "fundamental difference" you refer to? Please explain and justify your statements with hard evidence that clearly outlines this intention on Hillary's behalf. Hillary please respond to Senator Obama's remarks should you feel it merits clarification of the facts. Thank you.

    January 15, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
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