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. Satyam, Conservative Democrat

    MUST READ for BARACK OBAMA!!!!!!!!

    #1Throughout your campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire you mentioned again and again that you are the premier change candidate. You haved compared yourself time and again with John F. Kennedy, whom served as a U.S. House Representative from 1947-1953 and then as a U.S. Senator from 1953-1961, giving him 14 years of experience before his run at the presidency. With only three years experience as a U.S. Senator, what makes you think you can provide America with the change we TRULY need?

    #2 Is experience not a prerequisite for creating real change?

    January 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. John

    To all Candidates: Wolf can you please get all the candidates to comment on the current situation in Kenya and what the US should be doing. The following are some suggested questions to ask:

    1. It troubles me that in Africa most conflicts are often inaccurately depicted as just "tribal conflicts." For instance, I have been following the post-election violence in Kenya, and was wondering if you can you give a more accurate description of the current political and humanitarian situation there instead of just "tribal conflict", and what role the US should be playing?

    2. I have been discouraged that the African continent has not been included in most foreign policy discussions. For instance, regarding the current post-election crisis in Kenya can you comment on what specifically you would do as President to promote peace, truth and justice in Kenya?

    3. One of the fronts on the "war on terror" that is most often ignored is in eastern Africa, particularly in Kenya and Somalia. For instance, a year ago the Union of Islamic Courts managed to establish a relative atmoshpere of peace in southern Somalia, before then being invaded and overthrown by Ethiopia. Did you support this invasion of Somalia, which included US air strikes, as part of the "war on terror" and why?

    4. It often troubles me that violence against women often goes underreported in this country and abroad. In the context of foreign policy, for instance, I have been very concerned about the current humanitarian crisis in Kenya, in which women have been targeted and nearly 300,000 people, mostly women and children, have been displaced following post-election violence. What specifically would you do as President to address the situation in Kenya and the violence being committed against women?

    5. Most of you have commented publicly on the situation following the horrendous assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan and the travesty that it represents for democracy and stability in that country. However, I am curious why most of you have not commented publicly on the similar situation in Kenya and the travesty of the manipulated election results and the instigated violence by political leaders in that country? Can you comment on this?

    January 15, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Bobby H


    Ask each candidate this:

    How will you minimize or eliminate the impact of special interest groups and lobbist on government?

    January 15, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. J Graigory

    There are a lot of questions I can think of that truly matter, but most people would say they are not meaty enough for a presidential debate. But in all seriousness, I would like to ask about the metric system. The United States of America is almost the last country in the world to not adopt the metric system. I recall in the 70's there was a push for the USA to switch to metric, but then it was quietly dropped.

    In the interest of international commerce, why doesn't the United States adopt the metric system? It is also valuable for safety. Once a plane coming from Canada to the U.S. ran out of fuel; the fueler used liters (metric) while the pilots thought they were using gallons (even though Canada, like nearly every country in the world now, is metric).


    January 15, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Jo Ann


    I realize you will have to be careful about what you ask Obama since this is the Black caucus, but I would like to know why he sat out so many votes in the Senate and if he thinks that was a responsible thing to do.

    Also, maybe this time someone could make him explain his lobbyist connection without letting him change the subject, which is what Charlie Gibson allowed him to do when he tried to avoid answering a question.

    All of the candidates should be questioned about illegal immigration without letting them wander into the territory of lecturing about how legal immigration helped build this country. I would like to know what their plan is to stop it and how that plan would be implemented. If it has to do with an ID card and getting at the back of the line, I'd like to know how they will force these people to get an ID card since they admit they can't even find them for deportation. Since the Republican's all seem to disagree on what the definition of amnesty is I would like to know what he candidate's definition of amnesty is.

    I would like to know from all of the Democratic candidates how they plan on bringing this country together when they have done everything they can do to highlight the differences that will tear it apart.

    January 15, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Eva

    Who among you would not just speak in favor of, but actually set up a website for the purposes of having a direct line of communication with american individuals?Why isn't there a website for the american people to speak directly to the white house? Presidential contenders claim to care about the american people, our families, our jobs, and individual concerns. The response to this request for debate questions is a small example of how many citizens desire the opportunity to speak to our leaders, really be heard by them.

    January 15, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Chuck Houck

    Question for Hillary Clinton: You have stated in the past that you consider
    yourself a "progressive" in the vein of the progressives of the early 20th century. Seeing that two of the most significant things the progressives brought America; the income tax and prohibition were less than desirable and a complete disaster, respectively. What specifically, do you point to as positives from this political movement?

    January 15, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Peter


    Please ask Mrs. Clinton what is 'false' about hoping for more from our government.

    Thank you.

    January 15, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. WKH

    I have two questions for all the candidates.

    Question 1: What will you do to stop the huge disparity gap with the incarceration rate between minorities and whites in our country?

    Question 2: What will you do to improve the average hourly income for an African Americans in our country?

    January 15, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. Kevin Cullather

    The American public has grown tired of corruption by its leaders. We have experienced corrpution and lying by public officials of both parties at all levels of government, from the White House to the statehouse to local office holders. And, quite frankly, we're sick of it. It has undermined our trust in government and the politicians who wish to be our leaders. As president, what would you do to restore the citizens' trust in our government and to create an ethical standard by which you, your family members, and members of your administration would be measured and required to live up to?

    January 15, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. BC

    Candidates: Do you feel the Federal deficit has a direct impact on the health of the US economy? What will you do to immediately improve the US economy?

    January 15, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Mike

    Wolf. Great job as always. I'm an independent voter and I place high value on economic issues. The key question I have relates to tax policy. First, the FACTS: in 2002 (the year before the "Bush tax cuts"), total federal tax receipts were $2.0 Trillion. In 2004 (the year after the cuts), total federal tax receipts hit an *all time record* of over $2.2T and have continued to escalate to $2.8T in 2006 – a FORTY PERCENT increase in federal tax revenue since the cuts took effect. I'd like you to present this fact to the candidates.

    In light of this fact, my question is, "Why would you want to reverse a policy that has resulted in 40% HIGHER tax revenue since it was enacted, and nearly 30% higher tax revenue than the previous all-time high even before the dot-com bubble burst??"

    As an independent voter who supports many of the Democrats policies on other issues, and whose vote in the fall is legitimately up for grabs, the positions of all three candidates on this issue seems totally ignorant to me. Many voters like me need an answer to this point, and it has never been clearly addressed in the previous debates.

    (data is available from the US dept. of commerce here: http://www.bea.gov/bea/dn/nipaweb/TableView.asp#Mid).

    Thanks a lot.

    January 15, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  13. Bob Young

    As a woman, a man of color and a white male; how would each of you change or leave in place the curent affirmative action and other equal opportunity laws?

    January 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. Jason

    I would ask Senator Clinton how she can keep stressing her "35 years of experience" when 35 years ago (1973) she was still in law school! Is she trying to pass off life-experience as government experience? In fact, Obama's 11 years in elective office (US Senate and Illinois State Senate) exceed Clinton's seven. Does being married to the president make you qualified to be president?

    January 15, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. Nicole Muench Seidel

    Please ask about Autism because one in 150 children has it.
    Here's my question:
    Since children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (e.g. Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder [PDD], Asperger's Syndrome) are not one treatment fits all, will you support funding for the treatment course of the parent's choosing (e.g. Son-Rise Program, Floor Time, ABA, Equine Therapy, etc. and/or Bio-Medical Interventions) that the parent(s) determines is the most effective for their individual child?

    January 15, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Sudesh Kudchadkar

    We all know why you think you are the best candidate and why your opponent is not...what i want to know is what you think is the best thing your opponents will offer this country if he or she becomes the President of the US.

    January 15, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Michael

    I want a clear answer to a simple and very likely situation: If you are faced with the binary choice of either: (1) letting Iran obtain nuclear weapons; OR (2) ordering a military strike, which option would you choose?

    I'm tired of hearing all the posturing and rhetoric on Iran without the candidates taking a position on this simple question. I don't want to hear, "I will work through diplomacy to prevent it." Of course that's everyone's first choice and is just avoiding the question. The American people have a right to know which of these two options each candidate would choose, since it's very likely that this situation WILL present itself during the next administration.

    Thanks as always.

    January 15, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Mary Roberts, Portland, Oregon

    After the primary, if you win, would you respect the Democratic National Convention's choice of your vice-presidential running mate or would you instead want to select your own, without a vote of the delegates?
    If you would prefer to pass over those who have been prominent in the presidential primaries, how would you provide for voter input or party delegation ratification of your choice or candidates?

    January 15, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Emily

    I know there are many domestic issues that need to be faced here on the home front, but I am worried that there is little discussion in regards to education, scientific research and technological progress in the US. Where do the canidates stand on supporting such organizations as NASA ? Remote sensing, satellite communications, and space exploration have benefited all of us, yet we are in danger of losing the needed support from the government. The news is filled with disaster and heartache, why should we not focus on supporting a source of national pride?

    January 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. valerie Reno Nevada

    This question should be directed to Senator Obama,

    Senator I have heard your speeches over the past several weeks and would like to know What is it you are actually proposing to do for the United States of America. With all the "air" time you have and I don't claim to have heard all your speeches I have only heard what is wrong with our current policies and that we need to change but I have never heard you say "what" you intend to do. I find you to be a pretty good motivational speaker and nothing more. No question and answer forum unless it is a scheduled debate leaving me to believe you are not capable of speaking off the cuff.

    January 15, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. San Diego

    Clinton, Obama, Edwards:

    You have now been President of the United States for 100 days? What have you accomplished?

    January 15, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. James

    I would like to ask this question.

    To all the candidates
    Since gaining independence in 1956, Sudan has been in war ever since including three military coups attributed to discontentment by military towards civilian's administration, given the conflexity of Sudan conflicts, as president what would you do to make sure that the provisions in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed in January 9, 2005 are fully implicated and if need be fully enforced before another military coup?

    January 15, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Concerned Citizen

    To any candidate: Will the United States return to the majority rule concept during your administration or will pandering to special interest groups remain status quo?

    January 15, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  24. Ilene, Livonia MI

    What about NAFTA?????????????????????????

    January 15, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. David (Los Angeles, CA)

    My question:

    There is another war in America, the “War on Drugs”, and the costs are significant. Many billions are spent each year in any attempt to control the supply of illegal drugs as well as to prosecute and incarcerate offenders. Are we currently winning THIS war and what policy changes in relation to the war on drugs would you make as President?

    January 15, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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