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. suzie from atlanta, GA

    I am sure you have your questions all set.

    I only have one real area of curiosity:

    I would like to hear how each of them will put the Middle Class/technology sector back to work.

    I have no interest in what they think of each other's plans, I ONLY want to hear them talk about THEIR OWN plan.

    Maybe you could have Abby Tatton there with her magic screen, to grade them on their answers for truth and knowing their own plans.

    HOWEVER, I do have some requests for YOU:

    1.PLEASE provide enough time for each of them to ANSWER. PLEASE, follow up on specifics, or discrepancies, or what ever they say, because THAT is what WE need from you. BE direct, be specific, and be clear. Insist they stick to the answer.

    2. PLEASE do not waste time on "gotcha" questions. Try to keep it on the issues, the REAL issues. Don't ask about BILL CLINTON. HE is not running. Just leave him out of it.. Just STOP creating issues that have no bearing on the debate. What he says on a campaign stop means nothing. It is just FOX NEWS stuff. Is this CNN or FOX?

    PLEASE watch the clock and stick to it. YOU can cut their mike, you can ring a cow bell, toot an air horn, what ever you have to do, PLEASE, PLEASE do not turn this into Entertainment Tonight and trivialize this event. Other wise, I and millions of others will turn it off.

    3. PLEASE go to their WEB SITES, RESEARCH their plans and TELL them to explain how they will IMPLEMENT those plans. Don't "ask", Don't "allow" them to go OFF the question, or turn it back on another candidate, FORCE them to answer or cut them off. That's what they do on MSNBC, and it works. Allow them them to discuss THEIR plan, BUT not to compare it to another's. WE can do that. That's OUR job.

    Again, we do not need you to tell us what they said, we do not need you to start arguments. We do not need you to slant or twist the truth. Just do your research, ask good questions on specific aspects of each candidate's party, and TAKE CONTROL OF THE DEBATE.

    4. PLEASE do not allow snide, disparaging comments about each other. No cross talk.

    If they stick to the issues they will have time to explain why they deserve our consideration, otherwise, they get cut off.

    Trust me, faced with the thought of loosing the mike, and looking stupid, they will behave. I am so tired of the fighting, because it does nothing to help us make a decision.

    Neither does the "sensational" over playing of trivial things. If you have nothing to say, then say nothing, but PLEASE stop this nerve wracking coverage of nothing. I do NOT care what BILL said about Obama, it is meaningless. I do not care what Axelrod said about Clinton. I do not care what Elizabeth Edwards said about either one of them. STOP

    WE are not idiots, we can think for ourselves, and HATE this time eating negative junk with the he said-she said. It's like watching children and it's demeaning. And Wolf: it is NOT Sexy, it does not have legs, and it is certainly not good TV. So please Wolf, do not allow it, and for G-d's sake don't start it or egg it on.

    And should you need courage to do this, watch The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic, tonight at 8PM and 9PM, and learn how to BE THE LEADER OF YOUR PACK!!!

    January 11, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  2. Racism ogre

    Ask Barack thrse questions: 1) Based on your relative inexperience on the mind of many Americans, can your invocation of HOPE and CHANGE only mean your GAMBLING the political future of America? 2) In your 2 years in the US Senate, is it correct ot say that there is no evidence that you have you ever succeeded in unifying the Democrats and Republicans on major issues? 3) How do you respond to Karl Rove's intelligence report that you have been a dodger of discussions and debates in the Illinois legislature and US Senate? 4) "Hope" and "Change "slogans mean nothing in the battlefield, where experience and tactics count and much less in America's political future which demands well-reasoned and well-grounded decisions borne of experience and the insight and foresight it brings?

    January 11, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. paul mooney

    I would like to ask all of them a couple of questions:
    First, in 1973 we had the Arab oil embargo and we all waited in line for gasoline. They are all talking now about reducing oil dependence and finding alternative forms of energy. Why wasn't anything done in the past 34 years?

    Second: what are they going to do about the budget? Specifically, how are they going to balance it? It seems to be a subject that hasn't been addressed by anyone as was pointed out in a story in the WSJ the other day.

    Third: How are they going to work to change people's perspective about violence?Gun and gang violence are everywhere. what are we going to do about it? Can they have a real position on gun ownership without losing face with the NRA?

    Thanks and I hope you ask them these questions

    January 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Dave

    Ask Hillary this question....

    "Do you consider being first lady as 'on the job' experience?"

    Ask John Edwards this....

    "You have fought for people's rights for many years now, do you feel that running against the first formidable African American and woman candidates would deprive America from making history?"

    January 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Nathan

    If they plan to provide a path to legalize most of the 12 mil illegal immigrants already in the country, how would they achieve this without the support from the congress/senate?. Such attempt already failed twice, what makes them think they will push legislations to do that if not even a R president was able to get support from his own party in this matter?

    January 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Daniel

    To Hillary: Does being a former first lady translate into an executive position or an executive experience?Can she outline the executive rolls she has played when she was in the White house.

    January 11, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Anthony M

    Hillary, besides 7 yrs in the senate, please list the public offices you have held in your 35yrs of experience.

    January 11, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. Christine

    Looking at all the sentence structure errors and spelling errors in the comments posted here, it is apparent that the education system needs to be a top priority.

    1) Specific plans for our failing education system.

    2) Specific plans for our overpriced health care system.

    3) Social Security. What is going to happen when it runs out?

    4) Specific plans for environmental change.

    Just a comment, Obama may not have the "experience" that Clinton keeps telling us she has (is she counting her husbands tenure in her years of experience?) but that doesn't mean he can't bring about the change necessary for this country. Sometimes a new, fresh candidate is the best choice. I for one am sick of the status quo and I a victim of dynastic fatigue.

    January 11, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  9. Marie, NV

    What is your plan for balancing the budget and the trade deficit?

    How will you bring the US up in the ranks of mother/infant safety in child birth (US is currently 27th... 26 countries are safer to birth a child for mothers and babies based on WHO statistics)? How will you increase safe birth options for all women?

    How motivated are you to get our troops out of Iraq and to move the US away from policing the world and instead honoring our role within the broader United Nations?

    What are the steps you will take to regain the reputation of the US in the world?

    How soon will you end No Child Left Behind and begin implementing a program to help our education system? What is that program?

    The US has the highest percentage of its citizens in jail/prison than any other country in the world. What is your plan to change that?

    January 11, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Denise

    I am an architect and I definitely want to know about Hillary's plans for leading the way to open up this country to public transportation development!

    January 11, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. MB

    I would like this question to be directed to all the candidates, beginning with Senator Clinton.

    Where were you when you heard Martin Luther King had been killed and how did you react? Specifics please.

    January 11, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  12. Ilene, Livonia MI

    The number one question that NO ONE has asked the democrats yet. Where do you stand on NAFTA and what are your plans to change it. This is the one question that I want a answer for. It will be the decision maker for me.

    January 11, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. waibi alex

    But Wolf one thing Karl Rove by extension all republicans are ITCHING FOR is for the Democratic party to left divided by the fight between Obama and Hillary because it seems Hillary is willing to pull no stops at stoping Obama, Do you think that may weaken the Democrats as to Schnieder alluded to in his analysis open a corridor for Bloomberg or still leave the party so Dirten that Republicans will look cleaner so to speak

    January 11, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Craig Collier

    All the candidates now appear to be talking about change. But it seems the initial message of change that resonated with voters in Iowa, a change in the way we conduct politics, has been replaced by a message of change on policy issues. For those of us who are mainly in agreement with most of the policy platforms of each candidate, seeing no MAJOR difference between them, what can you tell us about the way you plan to change the face of politics, and do you think you can actually accomplish this?

    January 11, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Darko - New Orleans, LA

    If the economy is in such bad shape as some are saying, how is raising taxes going to fix the problem?

    I'd much prefer we continue to cut taxes along with the pork spending.

    January 11, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Eric

    Jason, your questions are stupid.

    You are obviously targeting Obama, and loading the question against him.

    A better, more specific question, should you choose to target Obama:

    "Mr. Obama, how has serving on the senate foreign relations committee affected your views on foreign policy? What experiences have you taken from serving on this committee, and how do you think they will prepare you in dealing with world leaders?"

    January 11, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Ivan

    1.What will you do to ensure that Social Security is still there for young people who are working now and have another 30 or 40 years till retirement age?

    2.Some people believe the economy is going into or is already in a reccession. What would you do to help stimulate economic growth and prevent further decline of the U.S. dollar?

    3.How much of an income tax increase will be needed to pay for universal healthcare? Under your plan, Will it be more expensive or less expensive for the average american worker who currently has an employer based healthcare plan?

    4.School shootings seem to be a regular occurance in american life these days. Would you support tougher gun laws? If so, What law changes would you suggest?

    January 11, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Sherry

    There is one big question that has suspiciously been missing from all primary debates, and that is the US Patriot Act and its implications for our consitutional right to privacy. I would like to know what each candidate thinks about the Act and whether they think spying on Americans is necessary to win the war on terror.

    January 11, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Estevan Olivas

    I don't want you to ask any questions Wolf. You don't deserve to ask any questions based on your biased views towards any of the second tier candidates that were in the race this year. Your comment about Gov. Richardson after the NH vote were dispicable. The statement "Maybe he should go back to New Mexico." was just plain disturbing. Throughout this whole campaign, you and others in the mainstream media have forced your opinions and thoughts upon the american people instead of doing what you are paid to do, cover each candidate fairly and without bias. CNN should remove you from even taking part in this debate!

    January 11, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  20. Tom Davie

    Questions for Obama

    -As a junior senator , what experience do you have to prove you can bring experienced status quo politicians from the republican party to a bipartisan resolution on hard and critical NATIONAL issues like war and the economy.

    – If you are an agent for change against the status quo, why accept any endorsement for the CRUSTIEST of status quo guys like John Kerry?

    – If you are against the status quo, how can you honestly expect to get them to work together as president in Washington after you did nothing but BASH them ?

    Questions for Clinton

    -Why did you vote for the war in Iraq when its irritated the rest of the Democratic party ?

    – How do you honestly expect us to believe you can bring change when in fact it was your HUSBAND who brought the change, and you were never the one elected as govenor or first lady.

    – How can you honestly claim to be the best candidate when most young people lump you in as being a dynasty with the bush family ???

    Questions for Edwards.

    -why did you suggest Hillary would be left for dead if she didnt win NH , but you yourself can carry on with realistic expectation with your distant 3rd place finish there, and you not having much hope in the latest national polls?

    -why did you allign yourself with Obama as an agent of change when you are a mainstream Democrat who ran with Kerry in 2004?

    -why are you even in the race when all it is realistically doing is spliting the vote for obama and clinton ?

    January 11, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  21. Moodi

    Ask Sen Barack Obama

    1- What is your detailed plan for economy?

    2- What is "change" which could mean more than others in your campaign?

    Ask Sen Hilary Clinton:

    1- Why you are changing your position in all issues but permit yourself to criticize the others for much less of that?

    2- What is your differences (both advantages and disadvantages) from your spouse bill Clinton that can define you more to the people?


    January 11, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Bobby M

    Mr. Obama stated that he had problems with the Patriot Act but then voted for its reauthorization, he stated that he thought Judge Roberts was qualifed to serve on the Supreme Court then voted in opposition to him, he stated that Judge Mukasey should not be AG but skipped the vote to confirm him, and he says he opposed a bill that called the Iranian National Guard a terrorist organization but skipped that vote as well. How can Obama say he is from a different brand of politics but act like every other politican out there?

    January 11, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. teelee

    To Senator Clinton,
    After your victory in New Hampshire, you said you "listened to the voters in New Hampshire and found your voice." My question is this, with "35 years of experience", who were you listening to before New Hampshire and whose voice were you speaking with prior to New Hampshire, why do you think it took you until New Hampshire 2008, given your 35 years of experience, to find YOUR VOICE, and if you win the Presidential election, will you revert back to speaking with your voice of old or continue with your new found voice? Please explain why we should not consider this "change" just another old political ploy to get votes.

    January 11, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Matt

    Specifically what is it that needs 'change' and how are you going to accomplish that 'change' in Washington?


    What do you mean by 'change'? How will the American people know you've achieved this change in Washington? What kind of change will there be for the american people?

    January 11, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. P_O

    Why have we forgotton the 2001 Anthrax attacks? What is the status of the investigation?

    January 11, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
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