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. MMB

    Is one belief system better than another? When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Eastern Europe in the early 90s, two Roma (Gypsies) told me on separate occasions in two different countries that the 44th president of the United States will be a woman, and when she comes to power the US will experience its worst economic collapse and a nuclear catastrophe. Are the thoughts of an ancient wandering people simply "superstition," or an opportunity to consider reality with a different eye? (1.) What do the candidates predict will be the end result of the average Americans' overextension with credit, and massive foreclosures that we currently see? (2.)Since our foreign policies, and economic expansionism, makes our government (and in turn citizens) distasteful to the great number of other denizens of the planet, do the canidates imagine another violent barrage within US territory and what will they do materially (not simply diplomatic lipservice by suited minions in other countries) to mend our relationships with the international community?

    January 15, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Gary Porch

    President Bush has argued that Iran is a danger because of its nuclear program. However, a quart of VX nerve gas dispersed as an aerosol has the potential of killing everything within a cubic mile, and allows asymmetric warfare by either developing countries or well-organized terrorist groups.

    What would be your response as President if a quart of VX nerve gas was delivered to Ft. Detrick for verification that it is a viable agent, and accompanied by demands such as to withdraw from Iraq or face dispersal in the United States?

    Further, have our military actions in Iraq increased the likelihood that a developing country or terrorist group would produce such weapons as an asymmetrical response to our use of military power?

    If so, how should the United States and other developed countries proceed in a world where weapons of such mass destruction can be manufactured and smuggled into the United States or other countries with little or no chance of detection?

    Do you believe that the danger of the use of nerve agents is much greater than the use of nuclear weapons, given the ease of manufacturing versus that of nuclear technology?

    {For information on VX, see Wikipedia: "VX (nerve agent)".}

    January 15, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Politics Nerd

    Are you willing to eliminate health-insurance companies from using the "Pre-existing Condition" tool for denying people heath insurance. There is NO possibility for universal coverage without getting rid of pre-existing conditions denials.

    January 15, 2008 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Mary

    This question may seem trivial but as a women voter who is torn between Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, it makes a difference to me. I would like to know if Senator Obama was aware of the lyrics to the song "99 problems" that played in the background as his campaign celebrated it's victory in Iowa? If he was not aware of the lyric's, how does he feel now that he must have been made aware that the song refers to women in very deragatory terms?

    January 15, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  5. John Smith


    Illegal immigration has been a topic of heated debate and has received much needed attention during this election. Many of you have taken a strong position on one side or the other of this issue while ignoring the problems of aspiring LEGAL immigrants. In the midst of all the hype and bickering about ILLEGAL immigration, there is a group of people, often forgotten and ignored, who are caught up in a bureaucratic mess and stuck in a limbo, patiently waiting on the path to LEGAL immigration. This is a group of high skilled workers, most of whom have advanced degrees in medicine, engineering and science from Universities in the US and abroad. These people have worked hard, paid taxes and waited their turn, many for a decade, without the end anywhere near sight because of a system that is hopelessly broken and inefficient. .There are about 500000 of LEGAL IMMIGRANTS stuck in this mess.

    As the President of the United States how do you intend to address the problems faced by future Americans already living and working LEGALLY in the United States?"

    January 15, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Robert

    could you please ask Obama what his reasons are for thinking that the Clintons do not represent anything but positive change.Futher, what is it that he finds negative in the great effect the Clintons have had on social issues affecting our hard working Americans ?

    January 15, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Roland D.

    CNN, Please ask:
    I believe the way in which you campaign strongly indicates the way you will govern as President of the United States.

    So, Senator Clinton: How do you defend the way in which you attack your chief rival, a fellow Democrat, with misleading information? For example, the abortion mailers in NH in which you claimed Sen. Obama doesn't really care for a woman's right to choose, when in actuality he has a 100% rating from groups who advocate exactly that, or the misleading quotes from your 'Fact Hub' on your website that take Sen. Obama's quotes out of context to suggest to the reader he wasn't consistent on the war in Iraq.

    Senator Obama: How do you defend the accusations that you've recently fanned the flames of racial tensions to pander to the Black vote?

    Senator Edwards: How do you claim to not pander to interest groups when, in the Iowa campaign, a 527 group, headed by a former aide to your campaign, seemed to advocate your Presidency? Particularly, when they had your face prominently shown in their commercials.

    January 15, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. Eric

    Wolf I would love for you to ask Mrs Clinton about her 35 years of experiance she so freely speak about. She has never explain in detail what that experience consist of besides being the First Lady. Being the Presidents wife is a hell of a lot different from being "THE PRESIDENT". I surely hope she isn't counting that time as part of her experience in politics. Please as that questions for Americans all around the world.

    January 15, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. HarrisCoTaxPayer

    To all the Candidates: You want to reform Healthcare in this country but what do you propose to solve the problem of healthcare for illegals that is crippling our public hospitals? Over 100 MILLION was spent in my county alone treating illegals. If you fix illegal immigration you will help our healthcare system.

    January 15, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  10. Pauline

    Thanks for taking the questions,
    One of my concerns is the disintegration of the Iraqi social, and family, structure since this war began. I read a white paper on the cost of war, which showed the number of Iraqi men between the ages of 20-45 which have died in this war. There are a large number of Iraqi families with the mother being head of household, and a single parent, and we have seen the consequence of this in our country when there is not a good male role model for our young men, our prisons begin to fill up. The are are also a large number of Iraqi families in refugee camps. This has the potential to be a breeding ground for recruitment for future terrorists, if the social and family structure is not repaired before the children reach their teen and adult years.
    What's our plan to fix this problem once we pull out?

    January 15, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  11. Tim Hullett

    I have a series of questions I would like for you to ask the candiates:

    1. What are you going to do to reduce the national debt?
    2. What are you going to do to bring balance to our massive trade deficit?
    3. Are you going to propose another crime bill with a ban on assault weapons?
    4. What specifically are you going to do to see that every American has access to health care? ( I am uninsured).
    5. Will it be a broader version of Medicare at the federal level and Medicaid at the state level?
    6. Right now, FICA tax contributions are made to the first $97,500 of income. Will you raise that cap, or eliminate the cap altogether in order to give senior citizens confidence that Social Security will still be accessible for them?
    7. In the past four years, gasoline prices have more than doubled. What are you going to do to bring them back down to less than $2.00 a gallon?

    January 15, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  12. David

    For all candidates: if you we no longer in the race, which of the other candidates will best reflect your agenda for change? Not asking for an endorsement, just who you think will be strongest on your specific issues. (Could be that X would be good on health care, but Y on the economy).

    For all candidates: where do you see the most wasteful spending in government today, and where would you cut spending?

    On healthcare: why would socialized medicine be such a bad thing? What are the pitfalls of too much regulation?

    On terrorism: do you believe that, with our economy at or near recession, our enemies would time an attack to kick us while we are down?

    On our face to the world: what would you do to improve America's international reputation, increase our number of allies and reduce our number of enemies? What actions will you take to inspire the world?

    January 15, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  13. Trains

    I would really like to know if the candidates are aware that America is asking for and longing for better public transportation and that we do not believe that a president will speak about this on the platform because it will take too much courage to speak up about it.

    I mean, come on – what free market exists when there is no public transportation and we are forced to buy cars to get to and from work and even to go to the grocery shopping? Why are people even studying to be architects if developers control construction?

    Do they know that the world is upset with us because of this?

    January 15, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  14. Rachel

    Please ask the following of Mr. Obama, as I have not been able to find an answer to this anywhere:

    Why did you vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act, when it has taken away so many of our civil liberties – something you say you stand for?

    January 15, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Matt

    My question is,

    It is a fact that the federal reserve is a private bank owned by private individuals. Do you believe that because the federal reserve has the ability to print and provide the government money when it is needed that they have too much power and can influence world policies on war and peace? Is it constitutional for them to have this ability and if you think they have too much power can you commit yourself to shutting down the federal reserve to allow the government to print the money for the United States of America? If you do not believe they have too much power can you explain why you believe this?

    January 15, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Tim K - from Canada

    CNN: Could you please ask the following to all the delegates?

    "What is the rightful place of the US in the context of the international community? How does this differ with the mainly unilateral positions that the US has taken under George W. Bush? And finally, what is the first step to mending these relationships?"

    January 15, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Jennifer

    I would like to know if the canidates agree with congress in the proposed selling of 20 billion dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

    January 15, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. Denis Brock

    Would you pledge to honestly uphold the office of the President of the United States vs. appeasing and pandering to special interests, ethnic groups (including Caucasians), Congress or anybody/anything else, even if it meant eliminating any possibility of a second term?

    January 15, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. Benjamin Kuku

    The candidates talk about "change". I will like ask each candidate what kind of change the will bring about in the following area: the economy; health care; education; approach to war on terrorism and homeland security. I also will like ask how each canditate propose to accompish changes in these areas

    January 15, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. Susan Lindberg

    Please ask the candidates to consider changing election day procedures. As a California resident, I feel our votes count for very little...results are always announced before the polls even close here. To increase voter turnout and keep the press from negatively influencing voter opinions during a one day election, why can't the US have elections over a three day period like other countries? It gives citizens ample opportunity to go to the polls regardless of their work schedules, and the "exit polls" might have less of a negative impact on independent thinking. Other countries have elections over a few days with no more risk to voter fraud than what we experience here (perhaps less!), so fraud should not be an argument against a new process. With so much at stake, it would be nice to have an election that accommodated voters rather than the candidates and the press for a change.

    January 15, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Raja Banerjee, St. Joseph, MI

    This is a yes/no question for all candidates.

    Suppose, after your presidency begins and you initiate troop drawdown, violenece levels in Iraq explodes to a record high. Suppose it gets so high that your top generals vehemently urge a return to troop levels and military commitment seen during the surge lead by General Petraeus. Will you heed the request of the generals?

    January 15, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. Jennifer

    I would like to hear all the candidates tell exactly how they plan to actually finish the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. If Bush keeps it up we will be in a conflict with Iran also before the end of his term. So how would you rectify that? And please tell it in a way that is understandable and without double talk. As an American I am sick and tired of being both lied to and told what you think we want to hear by our government. How honest would you be with us on all topics? And please don't lie!!! I know that is hard.

    January 15, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  23. Roger Ball


    At the issue of race and racism in America among both Blacks and Whites- I would want to know the reasonings behind dubbing Obama a Black man when he is of mixed heritage. Is it that for Blacks his is a black man and is it that for Whites he looks too black to be of mixed heritage? Here we have a Man who carries within his genes the 2 Ethnic heritage that has been so long and divisive and we still cant accept that Obama is not a White Man nor a Black Man -But one of us- Americans!


    January 15, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  24. Connie K. in New York

    Hi, Wolf–

    Love the Situation Room! Thanks for the opportunity to suggest questions for the important debate before Super Tuesday. Here's one for your consideration:

    I am uncomfortable with Mr. Obama's admitted cocaine use in his youth and Ms. Clinton's much-publicized marital problems. We cannot afford to elect anyone this time whose personal issues may distract us from the important work we need to do. How can each of you assure the American people that any embarrassing personal problems you encounter in office will not interfere with the tough job that lies ahead of you as President?

    Thank you.

    January 15, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |

    Wolf :

    Ask the candidates what they plan to do about the CHINA.******????


    (1) Communist

    (2) Number one threat to world security

    (3) Recipeant of multi-trillions of dollars of American treasure

    (4) A world power-with a 2.5 million man army-more necular weapons than america.

    (5) Capable of scrambling and shooting down our satelites ,disrupting our military, bringing our nation to a halt by corrupting our computers, and bringing down all the fly-by-wire planes in the air*******WOW SCAREY*******

    (6) The benifactor of loss of hundereds of million jobs in America and Trillions-Trillions-Trillions of dollers in treasure******How much longer can this go on before they have it ALL*****?

    (7) Are none of the candidates concerned*****?

    January 15, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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