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. Alexandre Kabanda

    Why when it comes to crises in Africa, USA is very reluctant to act. Genocide has been carried out in Rwanda and the powerful Nation in the world was watching. By the way, it was when Hillary’s husband was president. A terrible mistake he has admitted. OK. How about genocide that is being carried out in Darfur ? How about Kenya if the situation gets worse? When it comes to the Middle East, you react and act quickly. It you believe all man were created equal, why you left behind African continent. Is anyone going to change the American foreign policy that currently discriminates against Africa?

    January 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Andy

    This is for all candidates: on topic of Illegal Immigration

    Why would some one want to enter US legally, when doing so makes them wait for years of pain and no one seems to even do anything about it? Has anyone looked at the time it takes for people to become Permanent Resident? Educated people from India and China are prime examples. Why is Legal Immigration being made so painful. No wonder there are so many illegal immigrants. Since there is so much attention given to illegal immigrants, I am confident illegal immigrants can and will receive permanent residency before legal immigrants. Why can't US fix this irony?

    January 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. JoeA - NJ

    Mr. Blitzer,
    Two questions:
    1) Please ask Obama and Hillary to outline in detail how they will bring the troops back from Iraq. As far as schedule of timelines and number of troops, supplies materials etc..
    2) We need to get an outline in detail from Obama about how he plans on
    fixing the health insurance fiasco in this country.

    January 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Erikson Arcaira

    The recent exchanges about race from the Obama and CLinton camps have been unproductive and divisive. However, these discussions have placed an explicit focus on race relations in the US. Though seriously flawed, it cannot be denied that No Child Left Behind directs the attention of states, districts, and schools on the achievement gap and other racial disparities in education. Other than increased funding, what are the candidates' specific proposals for decreasing the achievement gap and improving education in urban and rural areas?

    January 15, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. Juan Jaramillo

    To all the candidates:

    Do you feel America has a security interest in responding to the emergency of AIDS and extreme poverty in Africa and other parts of world? If not, what are the reasons we should take action to end extreme poverty in the poorest countries?

    January 15, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Zia I.


    I don't know why nobody is raising the issue, but leftists have taken control over most of South America. One reason is, of course, Bush foreign policy. In my judgement this will result in huge backlash against US interests in the near future in whole of South America. Can you please ask the candidates what they will do to reverse the trend?


    January 15, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  7. Jayson

    I would ask the candidates to specifically address what steps are necessary to improve the economy, and how long it would take to implement each of their plans. I want to know if, in general, it is good for the president to set the agenda for economic policy as Bill Clinton did and W has not done.

    January 15, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  8. JT

    For Hillary:

    I hope I'm not too late to submit this question because I think it's an important one coming from the perspective of a young, black female.

    Do you see a double-standard from black leaders who encourage black youth to aspire to anything (such as the presidency), yet don't support Obama's candidacy?

    January 15, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Luis E.

    Please ask the candidates how do they plan to strengthen the economy? The dollar is currently being out performed by other currencies including the Euro and the pound sterling. As the fed cuts interest rates it is devaluing the dollar. Do they have any Idea as to what they might be able to do to spur economic growth and put America on a path to a stronger economy?

    January 15, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Juston Williams

    Ask Hillary why did she go from a republican to a democract.

    January 15, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Jay Davis

    Sub-prime lending has bolstered our economy for the last six or seven years.
    Hundreds of thousands of households spent and consumed at a higher rate than they otherwise would have because they had money which they borrowed against phantom home equity. Hundreds of thousands more Americans enjoyed the accoutrements of middle-class status – such as home ownership – even though they could not afford a down payment and were not sophisticated enough consumers to appreciate the perils of hybrid-ARM and other non-traditional mortgages.
    Which candidates believe that the economy is experiencing a necessary correction, and that interfering with it is contrary to more sound principles of free market economics?

    January 15, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. Peter

    I would like to know where the candidates stand on the use of nuclear energy as an alternative energy source

    January 15, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. eileen lombardi

    I am hoping to hear the candidates address a largely ignored but often maligned group of women in our country - the stay-at-home moms.

    Many women today are postponing marriage and motherhood until well into their thirties and even forties. More babies are being born to mothers between the ages of 35 and 45 than ever before.

    Many of these late-in-life-moms of young children are college educated and have worked for many years at a variety of professional and non-professional jobs.

    Those who choose to stay at home to raise their young children through their entry into school at age five or beyond do so a at a great financial and professional price.

    They lose their salaries, their salary increases, certain retirement benefits, and, as a result, future social security benefits.

    When is our government/society going to reward this wonderful group of committed mothers for their generous work on behalf of their children, and the future generation of American citizens?

    While the child tax credit is appreciated, it is hardly compensation for the expenses incurred by a family that chooses to have one parent remain at home.

    Tax breaks are available to working parents who place their children in day care during their working hours.

    When will the fed. government offer some tax break for families with one parent staying at home?

    The feminist movement has opened many doors for women in terms of education and professional opportunities. But it is not supportive of women who CHOOSE to exit the work force for a time to rear their children. And the federal government has not given any incentive for women to give their time, talent, and love to raise bright, healthy, and happy children.

    I am hoping to hear at least one candidate take up this cause with conviction. Because, many women today, older and younger, with college degrees or no degrees deeply value their decision to stay at home with their children and should be given due respect and reasonable support from the federal government for their contribution to our country's next generation.

    January 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Tom Sutter

    Since the relationships between the U.S. and other countries has been so tarnished over the past 7 years due to our unilateralism and the policy of preemptive military action, what will you do as president to repair those relationships? Do you believe in the policy of preemptive military action, and if so, what situations would justify its implementation?

    Believe me, I have many more questions – the current administration seems to be in need of a time-out or a whuppin' (depends on how you were raised) – but I'll spare you and ask just one of the more important questions to me. And thank you for this opportunity.

    January 15, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Johnnie Moore

    This question is for all candidates. I find it interesting that not one of the candidates have voiced their views on scientific research or science policy. With the issues surrounding global warming and stem cell research becoming hot topics in recent years, you'd think at least one of the candidates would have at least a paragraph on their website about whether or not they are interested in seeing forward movement on critical issues in scientific research. Recently, some voters have begun to push for a presidential science debate. What are your views regarding scientific research and would you be willing to participate in a science debate to express those views in depth?

    January 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |


    January 15, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Tom Sutter

    Alright, one more:

    Is invading and occupying a foreign country under false pretenses considered an impeachable offense? Seems to me that invading and occupying Iraq has done more to hurt this country's national security than any one individual currently detained at Guantanamo Bay.

    January 15, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Dianna

    I have looked up the 'working' experience in government of both Obama and Hilary. What I have found is that counting Senator Obama's Experience as a State Senator in IL and his work in the U.S. Senate he actually has more working governmental experience than Senator Clinton. Have said that I would like to know about the claim of 35 years of experience from Senator Clinton. It should be said I do not feel that being First Lady of the State of Arkansas or the U.S. counts beyond that I would like her to elaborate.

    January 15, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. Tom Sutter

    OK, I can't help myself.

    Do you think the current system of how we conduct primary elections is adequate? If not, what are your thoughts on regional primaries where the primary dates are rotated every election cycle? As someone who lives in the State of Michigan, I feel terribly slighted by the Democratic Party for prohibiting our state's delegation from sitting at the convention, and I know I'm not the only one in that boat (Michigan, after all, is THE state in the union that is currently in a recession). I know that it is important to connect somehow with the voters, but in this age of technology where conference calls and electronic "town hall" meetings are the norm, it seems to me that the candidates can reach a relatively wide audience without having to pile-on the frequent flyer miles; do you agree or disagree?

    I'm done for now. I promise.

    January 15, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. Carol Bennett

    Wolf – please stay away from asking questions that serve to create animosity between candidates.
    We'd really like to have questions about the issues – not "he said, she said" questions. Those are truly a gigantic waste of everyone's time.

    January 15, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Sam

    Mr Blitzer,

    Thank you for the opportunity to ask the candidates a question on where they stand on the issues. I am 36 years old and I am concerned where this country is heading economically and socially. I have not made up my mind on who I would vote for on the Feb.5 CA primary but why should someone vote for any of these candidates when all they talk about is change but there are no details for change. I commend the candidates like Edwards and Clinton who have offered various plans and have been slammed for it but at least they have offered a plan.

    My questions to the candidates is they talk about changing the way things get done in Washington especially with various lobbyist . The candidates talk about being free from them and not having them in their administration. Would any of the candidates have the resolve to ban lobbyists from being involved in the political process and if not why? As an individual I feel no one is there for me who is lobbying for me and my needs? Why do various corporations and organiztions who have big money and powerful lobbyist get to present their needs over the people of this country. I feel that the only time politicians are concerned of the needs of the people are during election years when they need the "people's" vote to get back to Washington. Thank you from a worried citizen of this country who feels used by the political process.

    January 15, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Patrick Hays

    How many candidates are there from the Democratic Party?

    Does the Constitutionally guaranteed Freedom of the Press mean that the media should be making news by deciding which candidates we should hear about or simply reporting it and let us hear from each candidate equally and making our own decisions?

    How much do big business and big donors affect each of the remaining 5 major candidates decisions on what they would do as president?

    January 15, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  23. Erin

    As a former AmeriCorps member, I have been disappointed that every year the funds for this wonderful program have been decreased. I know Sen. Clinton has stated she wants to increase the educational award that members get when completed. But does she also want to expand the program back to the size from when her husband was president?

    January 15, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Dan D


    It's one thing to hope for change, it's another to pay for gas to get to work.

    How do you plan on decreasing our dependency on the Middle East and lowering fuel costs?

    What is your specific plan and how long will it take?

    January 15, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  25. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    One of things that could help medicare is to put everyone on it. In fact everyone should have just what the old folks in this country have for healthcare (you don't hear them complaining ... medicare with a private gap policy to take care of the things that medicare does not. These gap policies are less expensive then the full ones offered now. With a huge pool it should help lower the costs for everyone. Healthcare should not be a profit making industry. It is a well known fact that medicare is far more efficient then private health insurance ... 3 percent of costs go to administrative costs vs. 12 to 15 percent for the private insurers. The car industry as well as other manufacturers' would have the healthcare monkey off their backs so that they can compete evenly with those countries that cover their workers with a single payer system.

    I want each of the candidates to answer what is wrong with having everyone on the same healthcare program as our old folks ... medicare plus a private 'gap' policy?

    January 15, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
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