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. pjonathan

    to all the democrats:
    On which issue would you diverge the most from the Bush-Cheney administration?

    January 15, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  2. Saybome

    Wolf – Please ask these candidates what they believe will be the impact on the American people if the national continues to mushroom and the dollar continues to dive? How do they inted to fix this difficult problem?

    January 15, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  3. Elaine

    I'd like to ask each candidate what they will do to preserve the rights to be free from the imposition of religion. All the candidates trumpet their faith, some, such as Huckabee and Romney, more stridently than others. How can we trust them to uphold the freedoms of *all* the people, including atheists, agnostics, and secular humanists. Policies based on a candidate's religion are at best suspect: I want policies based on what is best for the country as a whole, not ones they believe or claim to believe to have been dictated by an imaginary dictator they consider worthy of worship.

    On another topic, in the interests of preserving the environment, candidates talk of more efficient cars, more public transportation, etc., but I don't hear any talking of reducing the *need* for transportation by supporting increased openness to telecommuting, incentives to replace business travel with teleconferencing, etc.

    January 15, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  4. James

    For all the candidates:

    I take it that each of you disagree with CNN's Lou Dobbs on immigration, and there may be some valid points to the disagreements, so my question is this:

    Why have non of you, sat down with those in opposition to your position to get a better understanding of the concerns of Americans on the issues surrounding them?

    I would think, its a great start at healing the country that is divided on many fronts because of a policy that appears to being forced on a majority of Americans that contest it.

    Which of you would call on Mr. Dobbs, if for nothing else, his references to make sure that your not making policy that is biased towards lobby, and pac.

    After all why take lobby money for the vote, when your voting with them anyway.

    January 15, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  5. FSR

    Ask each of the candidates "if your bid for the Democratic presidential nominee is unsuccessful, which of your opponents would you like to see as your party's nominee and why?" A follow-up question is "would you consider being this candidate's running mate to continue serving the party's agenda and the American people?"

    January 15, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  6. Jonathan Hempel

    I would ask all the candidates about their views on the United States' recent lagging in the sciences as compared with countries such as China, India and Japan. Where do the candidates think the US stands today among industrialized nations in consideration of the sciences and how can we change this?

    What would they do to reemphasize the sciences in middle and high schools and to bring Americans back to a level of mild understanding of science?

    Additionally and most importantly, what would their policies be as to supporting and funding national research agencies such as the NIH and NSF, which give vital grants to research programs in academia to further research in many greatly important areas?

    Finally, in addition to funding federal research agencies, how would the candidates address the issue that has come up recently that the FDA, the governmental agency in charge of regulating the safety of prescription drugs, is having a hard time quickly and accurately approving drugs for market sale, which can have a huge effect on consumer safety and health?

    January 15, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  7. Larry Andre

    This is not a question for the candidates but rather a plea to Wolf Blitzer:

    1. PLEASE stop with the constant self-congratulatory "Best Political Team on Television" business, or at least cut back to only a couple dozen times per show. It is intensely annoying after the first few hundred times. It makes you sound like a used car salesman pushing lemons on a late night commercial.

    2. PLEASE try to show more balance and less favoritism in your treatment of debate participants. You have a strong tendency to favor those presumed by the media to be the front runners and to ignore presumed "also rans." As one example, you ignored Ron Paul almost completely in the early Republican debates. The voters get to decide who merits serious treatment, not broadcast journalists. Give us a chance to hear from each of them.

    3. PLEASE stop inciting candidates to dwell on pseudo controversies and focus on the issues. You like to get candidates to criticize one another on ancient history and side issues, encouraging dog fights that add nothing to our understanding of the policies the candidates would promote. I believe we would all benefit more from a thorough discussion of the many issues our nation faces.

    January 15, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  8. Todd

    Senator Clinton,

    What is the most significant way politically or ideologically that your views differ from those of Bill Clinton?

    I think the American citizenry is pretty well-informed on his policies, and given that many Americans assume that a Hillary presidency would be an extension of his leadership (especially given a prominent role Bill would likely play in the White House), I think it would be instructive to know what differences there are... since we seem to be pretty familiar with the similarities.

    January 15, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  9. Lasith

    I am interested in Bill Clinton and his influence in Hillary Clinton's Campaign. I can see that he has had a large role in this campaign and I am interested in what role he will have in the future. Can he become Vice-President or maybe he will become a supreme court judge. My question is: will we have the same polices of the 90's and will Hillary be able to run the country without Bill constantly interjecting? This might be the greatest challenge to change that Hillary will face in the future.

    January 15, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  10. zack


    I have read most of the comments on this site and with out any doubt, 50% of
    americans want to know why Hillary refuse to explain her 35 years of experience,
    if you don't ask her any other question please ask her to outline the 35 years.

    Thanks in advance


    January 15, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  11. John G

    Can any of the candidates explain why the democrat controlled Congress has not accomplished any of the changes promised during the mid term elections and based on their track records why should we believe that any of the members of Congress currently running for the democratic nomination would do any more as president?

    January 15, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  12. John G

    Can any of the candidates explain why the democrat controlled Congress has not accomplished any of the changes promised during the mid term elections and based on their track records why should we believe that any of the members of Congress currently running for the democratic nomination would do any more as president?

    January 15, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  13. John Patterson

    My question is for all the candidates, but I would like to hear Senator Clinton's response first:

    In 1995, Senator Clinton spoke in China, stating in part, "that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights". I agree. Millions of women currently live in countries without many basic rights, often to due to oppressive Sharia Islamic law.

    As most scholars agree that divestiture and economic sanctions helped end apartheid in South Africa, isn't the west hypocritical by not acting similarly against governments that deny women basic rights? What would you do as President to improve human rights for women in Saudi Arabia and all people around the world?

    January 15, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  14. David, Columbia MD

    I recently emailed a question to a number of campaigns that I am interested in personally. I have yet to receive an answer from any candidate I managed to get the question to, but what bothers me most is that what I did get from the Democratic candidates was a free subscription to a large number of unsolicited emails thanking me for my support (never offered) and asking for my money. So here's a question I'd like to see addressed:

    Are you going to listen to the people? How are you going to ensure that the voices of the people are actually heard, when so many of us have our voices drowned out or ignored?

    Here is the question I originally asked the candidates, which I still would like to have answered. To be fair, I didn't get this sent to Senator Edwards until today, so I don't know if he (meaning his campaign, of course) will take the time to answer my question or will ask me to give him money like the others have.

    I believe any nation or culture has always needed some goal or project that unifies them– WWII unified our nation and brought us out of difficult financial situations because the American people banded together to accomplish something for good. The space program did that more recently, and also showed another incredible feat: it unified the entire world, who watched eagerly as Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and later as we struggled to return the Apollo 13 astronauts to earth. The International Space Station is perhaps the biggest collaboration between nations, and I believe the space program could possibly be the most effective means of generating peace and good will between nations in the world.

    I applaud the number of candidates that have suggested building a project like the Apollo moon landings to solve our energy issues, but at the same time I have not heard many candidates even mention the space program itself.

    A recent survey found that most people believe that NASA's budget is comparable to the Department of Defense's, however the actual budget is quite small, and possibly not enough to really accomplish the wonderful things they are engaged in.

    Can you tell me what you believe is the roll of America in Space Exploration, and how he would support NASA and private endeavors in space?

    January 15, 2008 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  15. ROBERT BROWN JR, Warner Robins, Ga

    Question For All Candidates

    Global Warming is a world survival threat that is without a probable plan that would work to evacuate planet earth. Michigan-Detroit and based auto makers are in a sales and jobs slump – will you support legislation and is there a justifiable reason why America's technology and the pace set by the auto industry aren't agreeing to manufacture vehicles with 50, 60 70+ mpg as a standard in 3-5years which will generate more interest and sales of U.S. made vehicles.

    January 15, 2008 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  16. SrA Kevin J. Court, USAF

    For Senator Clinton:
    During your campaign you have highlighted your experience gained while in the Whitehouse during Mr. Clinton's administration. During his administration, he essentially took a "break" from military spending, which has now led to our nations services having to recapitalize land, air and sea vehicles and support equipment in enormous quantities. We have left so much equipment behind in the desterts that they are now veritable bone yards. If elected, will you commit to military spending to modernize and recapitalize our fleets and to help keep me, as a soldier mobile, prepared, and able to combat future threats?

    January 15, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  17. Joy

    To Senator Clinton: Although you claim an admiration for Dr. MLK's visions and how he worked with President Johnson's in order to sign the Civil Rights bill, you neglect to tell the voters at that time, you were a supporter of Barry Goldwater, who opposed the enactment of the Civil Rights bill?

    January 15, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  18. Raju

    Our country gives men and women the day off on important days such as Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

    How come Election days are not national holidays to encourage our citizens to vote in the most patriotic day possible? Would you support legislation to label election days every 2 years to be national holidays?

    January 15, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  19. Pam

    In order to promote a UNITED States of America would you appoint a true bipartisan cabinet? What specific strategies do you have for reducing the polarization of the (un)UNITED States Senate and Congress and the (un)UNITED States of America?

    January 15, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  20. Saybome

    Wolf – Please ask these candidates what they believe will be the impact on the American people if the national debt continues to mushroom and the dollar continues to dive? How do they inted to fix this difficult problem?

    January 15, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  21. Pam

    In order to promote a UNITED States of America would you appoint a true bipartisan cabinet? What specific strategies do you have for reducing the polarization of the UNITED States Senate and Congress and the UNITED States of America?

    January 15, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  22. Greg Swanson, S.C.

    In the midst of this recent increase in negative campaigning, it seems as if the real issues, those which truly define what this election means for democrats, Americans and people around the world, have fallen to the wayside. Discussion on any issue that affects the American people; health care, Iran, global climate change and L.G.B.T. rights only appear in conversation upon external prompting. What motivates a candidate like yourself to participate in what can hardly be deemed "political debates" over these issues such as Hillary's unfortunate remarks about LBJ and M.L.K. Jr., and what does this say about your campaign and the current state of American politics?

    January 15, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  23. Michael Soneff

    Senator Obama, since the year 2000 NASA has consumed 140 billion dollars of the federal budget. Your health care plan would, if fully funded, cost 50 to 60 billion dollars annually. Can we really justify spending that money on space rocks instead of medicine?

    To the rest of the candidates: What's your position on NASA funding? Do we really need NASA now that the cold war is over?

    January 15, 2008 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  24. Ian Colte

    Wolf, I think Kevin Drawbaugh from Reuters brings up a good point to ask:

    "Ask corporate lobbyists which presidential contender is most feared by their clients and the answer is almost always the same - Democrat John Edwards. One business lobbyist said an Edwards presidency would be a 'disaster' for his well-heeled industrialist clients.

    'I think Hillary is approachable. She knows where a lot of her funding has come from to be blunt,' said Greg Valliere, chief political strategist at Stanford Group Co., a market and policy analysis group."

    January 15, 2008 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  25. HSH

    I woul like someone to ask Senator Barrack why he did not vote for the Iraq war. Was it because
    – He knew something the rest of Congress did not?
    – He believes War is not a solution
    – He did not want to go to war against a muslim nation for fear of a backlash in the Middle East
    – He was not convinced America's forces could win a war
    – He was not convinced America had a plan for post war Iraq

    January 15, 2008 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
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