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. Joe Richardson

    Do you believe that an independent investigation into the events of September 11th is necessary and will you, as President, push for such an investigation?

    January 15, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. Santosh-Phila

    Did you support the guest-worker program that President Bush was advocating in his immigration-reform proposal? If so, would you say that the President showed political courage in standing up to his own party's base in pushing for such a measure? Can you give an example of an area where you have a serious disagreement with your own Democratic Party's base where you're willing to stand up against popular opinion within the party?

    January 15, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. Coy Epley


    I am confident that any of the [Democratic] candidates will get us out of Iraq. But my other top voting issue is OPEN GOVERNMENT. I'm sick of the citizens of this great country not knowing what is going on. I feel like we're supposed to blindly follow our leaders when they pass shady legislation and make back-room deals the American People weren't part of. I would like you to ask the candidates exactly how they plan to make government transparent again.


    January 15, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  4. Gerry Larose

    A number of different studies conducted by Harvard University, the Urban Institute and several others conclude that there is no shortage of American IT workers. In fact, unemployment among American IT workers is growing as more and more jobs are lost to outsourcing, off shoring and the importation of foreign labor through so-called temp visas like H-1B.

    Engineering schools like the University of Michigan report that almost half their graduates can not get even entry level jobs. To any candidate: "How can you claim to support the American middle class when you support an increase in these temp visas?"

    January 15, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  5. Heath from Illinois


    Please ask the current Senators how they're able to represent their state while campaigning for a new job. It appears to me that they're neglecting their current job.

    I wish my employer would let me look for a new job and pay me for it! 8-;

    January 15, 2008 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Donna

    What will be your FIRST act as Presdident, and why?

    January 15, 2008 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  7. Casey

    Please ask the candidates if the plan on investing more time, money and effort into stem cell research. Not only will this create jobs but it will save millions (of people.)

    January 15, 2008 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  8. chuck

    Thanks, Wolf. "Sen. Obama (and also Sen. Clinton), while everybody agrees that the prospective nominee of the Democratic party could make history, by either being the first African American or the first woman president, is it fair to assume that the losing candidate's constituency will have a bitter taste in their mouths that "history has eluded them." Based on this assumption, would it not make sense for either of you (should you lose) to consider being the other's running mate, thereby making history for both large groups?"

    You do a great job, Wolf. Keep it up.

    January 15, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Joe Linares

    Subject: Energy.
    In the last century there were two very large government funded efforts. One was the Mahatan project started by Roosevelt, which produced the first Atomic bomb. The second was the effort starter by Kennedy which put the USA on the moon.
    Both Democratic led efforts by giants in our countrys history.

    As president, what would you do (note that its not 'if you would') to start, finance, coordinate and ensure that the United States comes up with a viable, non-global warming, replacement to oil as an energy source, that would free us from the strangle hold OPEC has on our country?

    Subject Terrorism:
    During the past 7 years the actions of 9/11 and the word 'terrorism' have been used for political reasons and to conjure fear in our hearts while at the same time violating international agreements and walking over our constitution.

    As president, what would you do to 1) bring bin Laden to justice, dead or alive! 2) restore our international standing to a respected nation instead of a shunned nation 3) restore our civil liberties and reintorduce, long ignored, governmental checks and balances.

    Subject Healthcare:
    Most other industrialized nations, and some not so industrialized, have long had a healthcare system that covers all of its citizens regardless of their social and financial standing. No limits, no excuses, just a system that takes care of its citizens. Our government has a similar system for our military and for our congress, however its citizens are not covered by such a system.

    As president, what would you do to 1) Create a healthcare system that would cover all citizens 2) pass this legislation through congress, 3) finance it?

    Subject Jobs:
    After WW2 the USA saw a great rise in employment and related benefits provided thanks to labor negotiations with employers. In the past 30 years this countrys' leadership has been dominated by corporate friendly legislators, republicans. As such companies are making record profits while labor has seen its jobs go over seas, its benefits reduced, its wages near stagnation, and worst of all labor has seen its jobs replaced by imported labor, mainly from India.
    As president, what would you do to 1) Keep American jobs in America and stem the tide of jobs going overseas, 2) Keep American jobs for Americans by stemming the influx of legal foreign workers to replace American workers. Note that stating H1B and L1 visas has limits is not an answer as these limits have crept up every year; 3) Improve worker wages and benefits.


    January 15, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. m lanier

    I would like to ask Senator Obama to help me understand how he is prepared to deal with the amazing hurtles of this next presidency. Who is on his wish list for his cabinet? I would consider voting for him, but I still have serious concerns about his experience and I need to know he will be getting the best advice and support. p.s. I want names – not glossy talk!

    January 15, 2008 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Rob

    I'd like to know how the candidates will approach the immigration issue. Specific policies and positions are important, but so is approach. How you listen and talk to the country about issues is also important. There are deep divisions in our country over the immigration issue. Deep anger and passions on all sides. What will you do as President to bridge those passions and unify the Country?

    More generally, how will you communicate to the public. FDR was famous for his fireside chats. What is the fireside chat of this century and how will you listen and communicate with the public.

    January 15, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. Ken

    To All Candidates:

    Do you own stocks in oil companies? Can we get someone in office that does not own stock in these companies so that all Americans can get a break? How can anyone get ahead if it costs more to go to work then they make in a day? This is one reason why the are so many people on welfare. They make more money staying at home than going to work. Is anyone going to do anything about the price of gas or is it going to be like all of our previous presidents and allow the oil companies to make massive profits?

    What are you going to do to make congress work together to fix this country's problems. The only thing most Americans ever see is the bickering that they do. Kids resolve issues better than they do.

    January 15, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  13. Bill Koetting [Missouri]

    To all: Why in this unpresidented age of telecommunication, is it still necessary to 'stump' across the nation during a campaign?

    Who is 'minding the store', representing the people that voted you into office, while you are taking a year off, with pay, to campaign for another office?

    January 15, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. WL from Florida

    Dear Mr. Blitzer:

    My questions to Obama:

    Questions to Obama:

    1) If your wife is seriously sick, do you pick the Doctor who has the experience and qualification of treating patience or you will pick someone with very little experience but claims he can provide hope and insists he can provide change in the status quo in the medical filed? Remember, you wife is seriously sick, it is a life and death decision, just as our country's situation now.

    2) When you were down 20 points, your campaign started personal attacks on Senator Clinton, calling her dishonest and not telling the truth. Do you think this is politics of Hope?

    3) When you visited Google recently, you mentioned that the two co-founders of Google were twenty something when they started their private company, so you claim judgment should be more important than experience. Do you understand that there is a major difference between starting a private company and being a leader of this country ? The founder of private company gambles with their own money while the inexperienced person running for president is gambling with our country’s money. If the private company fails, the founder will be in debt, they lose their own property. But if the elected leader fails, as our current leader does, our country lose. You will put our country in debt. Why should we elect a person who has not enough experience and willing to gamble with our country’s money and our country’s future?

    January 15, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  15. Linda

    To all candidates:

    What would be the FIRST THREE THINGS you would do when you get into the oval office?

    January 15, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. ktloss


    Please ask: We've had seven years of a President who believes his executive powers trump those of Congress and the Judiciary. Many people feel this has twisted the meaning of the Constitution and has been harmful to the country. How do you view the balance between the three branches of government, and what will you do to keep that balance? Please also comment on the use of signing statements and the role of transparency in government. In other words, will you continue the Bush administration's policy of the unitary executive?

    January 15, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. Question for Obama

    Please ask Senator Obama why he has not helped his grandmother get out of poverty in Kenya. If he wants to uplift America and bring prosperity to many...One must ask why he has failed to do so for his own grandmother. This goes to the heart of his character and judgment. With the wealth that he has in America, he needs to explain why his grandmother still lives in poverty in Kenya.

    January 15, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. Question for Obama

    Please ask Senator Obama why he has not helped his grandmother get out of poverty in Kenya. If he wants to uplift America and bring prosperity to many...One must ask why he has failed to do so for his own grandmother. This goes to the heart of his character and judgment. With the wealth that he has in America, he needs to explain why his grandmother still lives in poverty in Kenya.

    January 15, 2008 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  19. Paul

    I would ask Senator Clinton the following:

    Senator Clinton, many within the party feel that you are the most conservative of all the candidates. Additionally, statistically, it has been shown that your nomination would increase Republican turnout against you and depress Democratic support. On the otherside of the coin, Senators Obama and Edwards both show increased turnout from Democrats and Democrat leaning independents. In this election, where it is fundamental that the Deomcrats, as a party, are able to rally around a candidate who can fight back against the Bush agenda; how do you reconcile that you will be strong enough in the party and to the independents to win in November and correct the mistakes of the past eight years, while it largely does not appear this is the case?

    January 15, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  20. Bob

    I have watched (and complained to whomever would listen) as our(?) government sits on its hands while the executive branch uses our constitution as toilet paper. At this point, how can any politician in Washington be trusted to uphold the law? Last time I checked, we still have 3 Supreme Justices that violated the constitutional rights of all Floridians in the 2000 election by not allowing their votes to be counted. We have numerous members of Congress that have failed to bring President Bush to justice for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of 10s of thousands of Americans. He is also allegedly responsible for torturing foreigners and obstructing inquiries into their torture. Congress, by failing to act, is a coconspirator after the fact. Congress has a legal obligation to bring the President to justice. This brings me to my question. How is our current government any different from any other dictatorship where the rule of law is something to be cast aside when it is convenient?

    January 15, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  21. Jason

    For Obama–

    Clinton amd Edwards both have good ideas to implement change but what sets you apart in bringing change to help minorities? And what have you done in the past?

    January 15, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. Chris Willowbrook, IL

    Dear Mr. Blitzer,

    I have a few questions.

    1) When we talk about experence, how do the candidate define it? Is it years served as an elected official? If so does that not make Obama more experenced that Clinton? Is it public serve as an uneleced offical? Does being first lady count? If so what did Clinton do?

    2) In terms of Health-Care, explain how forcing people to buy insurece counts as universal coverage when insurence companies don't always cover things, you have to go to their doctors, and some people can't afford to buy it. Also, Mr. Obama, what is your plan in detail? Mrs. Clinton, how do you deal with the fact that while you talk about univeral coverage, how do you deal with the fact that you take a lot of money from the insurence lobby, at my most recent check the second most in the Senate?

    3) We've heard a lot about change. In the debates, Mr. Clinton has talked about how elected a woman would be a big change? Wouldn't elected an African-America(Obama) or an Latino-American(Richardson) also be a big change?

    4) I'll end with education. As a teacher, I have a lot of issues with no child left behind, many teachers do. What will they candidates do spacificly to fix education, and also make college more affordable?

    Thank you
    Chris-Willowbrook, IL

    January 15, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Dave (an Independent)

    Following the 2006 elections, Speaker Pelosi vowed to reduce the extreme partisanship in the Congress and allow the minority party more involvement than the Republicans had done while they controlled the House. I, and apparently many others based on the low ratings Congress gets, believe that she has not done that. There are different people leading it, but it's still the same old thing – problems go unsolved while politicians maneuver for political advantage in the next election. Do you see the partisanship as a problem and, if so, how do you intend to get both sides of the aisle working together for the good of our country rather than working against each other for the good of their respective parties?

    January 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. Galen

    Universal health care in the United States must be addressed in the near future as it is stifling our economy. The Democrats all have laid out plans on this important issue. Much has been discussed on a difference of mandatory coverage under Sen Clinton's plan versus Sen Obama's plan. However, Sen Obama stated emphatically that all Americans will sign up for health care. So, then why the concern over a mandatory coverage penalty? This difference in plans illuminates the difference between these two candidates in experience of getting participation from all parties on an issue. You must address the concerns of the majority to get acceptance of the plan. This tenant brings more confidence to all Americans that individuals don't have the option to opt out of the system and thus we all accept their risk while they receive the benefits of not paying in.

    January 15, 2008 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  25. Paul S

    To all candidates.
    – Have you taken money from Lobbyists and/or PACS and which ones?
    – How much does a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread cost?

    January 15, 2008 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117