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. Barbara

    1. How do you propose to reverse the trend of corporations shifting jobs oversease and increase insourcing companies here as we are doing to a certain extent in S.C.?
    2. For US companies operating off-shore, are you going to enact legislation which will make companies accountable to the same Labor Laws and product safety standards as if they were operating within the US? AND Rewrite our trade agreements so that nations where manufacturing takes place raise their standards of safety and environmental protection to a level equivalent to the US?
    3. Immigration is a mine-field which politicians are trying to avoid stepping into during election season. How do you as President intend to: (a) secure our borders? (b) change the quotas to correct the imbalance so that those who want to legally immigrant from other nations other than from Latin American can get work visas and apply for citizenship? (c) Make English an OFFICIAL language – for school, for business, for govt services with safeguards built in for public health and safety as opposed to a NATIONAL language which allows for predominantly a bi-lingual Hispanic/English community and forces employers and services and small businesses to hire and maintain a sizeable Spanish speaking force?

    January 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. Lauren

    Also, I can answer some of the questions asked already.

    Barack Obama has been to Iraq.

    Barack Obama has "held a government job for more than 2 years"–he was in the Illinois State Senate for 7 years, during which time he was re-elected twice, and he has been a US Senator for 3 years

    January 11, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Jonah, Massachusetts

    Simply put, what are the presidential candidates' viewpoints on gay-marriage? Do gay couples deserve the same legal benefits as straight couples? What are your feelings and how have you come to feel this way about the subject?

    January 11, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  4. DrSilly

    I understand that Obama voted "present" on some issues instead of "yes" or "no." I don't know what that means and would like to hear his explanation as to which votes these were and why he chose to vote what seems to be an abstention rather than a decision. This is an issue for me because, when you are the President of the United States, you cannot abstain.

    January 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  5. GG

    From an ethical/religious standpoint, why don’t you challenge the republican party and religious right on their highly un-Christian views on the death penalty, war, tax cuts for rich, etc?

    January 11, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. C B

    You all talk about bring change; particularly Sen. Obama. While Obama (and/or Clinton) you both say that you'd let the companies have a seat at the table, what will you do if they are not willing to compromise, and are just manipulating the legislation. How will you deal with these companies then.

    January 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Stephen

    Ask them how they can claim to be Christians and believe in the Bible if they don't think homosexuality is a sin. Christians believe that the Bible is the infallible Word of God and if these politicians are saying anything to go against that, I would question their honesty and whether they really are Christians or trying to use it for votes.

    January 11, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. John C. Simpson lll Ph.D.

    I would ask the candidates how they view the apparent "disconnect" between enforcing existing laws and the "amnesty" issues re: illegal aliens. No matter how they contribute to the economy, they are here illegally.

    If we want to ignore existing laws and build the economy, just overlook the sale of currently "illegal" drugs and tax the sale legally.

    January 11, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. Charles

    I would like to ask the leading candidates what their positions are on military spending not related to Iraq. Would you, much as George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton did in the early nineties, cut funding for both the military and intelligence services, or would you maintain current levels (assuming the Iraq war spending was not a factor)?

    January 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  10. Ben

    If General Patraeus came to you and said we need 6 more months and the Iraqi's will be able to police themselves, would you stick to your campaign promises and leave Iraq in shambles, or wait the extra 6 months? Would your campaign promises be worth more then what is best for the country? Would it be worth it to be there for 5 years and then refuse an additional 6 months?

    January 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  11. Michael S. McCullough

    Mr. Blitzer,
    The question I would ask would be about change and about those who have remained in Washington. If Mrs. Clinton believes that she has been a proponent for change while serving in public office, does she believe that there needs to be a new breath of life given to our political appointees? Obviously the people of America believe that the current political ideologies have failed us miserably, so wouldn't that mandate a change to the "equation" in order to find the right solution?

    Thank you for your time
    Michael S. McCullough

    January 11, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. Warren Maltzman

    Much has been made of the issues of experience, and, of course, being an agent of change. Looking at the resumes of Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, all three are in the broadest sense, lawyers who have worked to help women, children, minorities, and those who have been victims of corporate greed. Without challenging the sincerity or duration of that service, I would ask the candidates to outline their particular experience and how it will allow them to effectively govern- rather than campaign- and affect change- rather than talk about it.

    January 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  13. Julia, Kentucky

    I would like to ask each of them what they would plan to do for our country's veterans. How do they percieve the current treatment of our vets. I had emailed each candidate a question concerning the vets and the only thing I have ever received back from them are emails asking for contributions, nothing even hinting at trying to answer my questions. Of course, I don't expect a personal response, but a generalized answer from one of their employees would be nice.

    January 11, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  14. Barbara - Army Veteran

    Senator Clinton is the most experienced candidate and is an instrument of change. She is also the most qualified other than perhaps Senator McCain, to be Commander-In-Chief. What many Americans seem to forget is that this country is STILL A NATION AT WAR!!! We will be for many years. With growing tensions in the Middle East, we can't afford even one more year of philosophical approaches. This was Bush's method and IT DIDN'T WORK!

    We need someone who can turn on a dime so that the next time we are threatened, we have our forces on alert and our air umbrella up in 15 minutes; so we can within 30 mins act on actionable intelligence to take out our enemies; so we can once again like Teddy Roosevelt believed, not only carry the big stick but speak softly but firmly to our allies and our enemies. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    Hillary an agent of change and flexibility and gut, decisiveness and business instinct. You can't get to these levels unless the seasoning and experience is honed through the ups and downs and trials and tribulations of challenging times in a variety of positions. Seasoning and experience by someone is needed to understand not only how to make change but also understands the ramifications down the line of such changes. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    Senator Obama casts himself as the one who can break the corporate lobbying groups and their control over Congress. But on Vote 213 H.R. 6 on 7/29/05, he went opposite the Democratic position and voted YES to offer tax breaks and incentives to oil and gas companies wrapped around an attempt to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

    Senator Obama portrays himself as a champion of the underclass who is not getting their voices heard in the judicial arena. But on 02/10/05 he voted YES on Vote 9 S5 in favor of curtailing the ability of plaintiffs to file class-action lawsuits against corporations by moving cases filed in multiple states from the States under the auspices of the Federal Court system.

    To simply vote for or against a bill from a position of principal or conscience is inherently dangerous. We have had 7 plus years of a Republican Administration and Republican controlled Congress who has done nothing but that!

    Senator Clinton who has the same passion and concern is more methodical, more analytical, and more intense and has stated she is someone who steps back from the emotion. Doesn't it make sense that a competent legislator starts with an ideal but works to make sure that the language yields the desired result?

    Here's a news flash! Hillary and others in our generation have a lot more hills to climbs before we are over them. And if you haven't gone through the cycles of highs and lows, you can neither relate to nor understand the needs of those who have. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    But what is needed to identify and change what ails this country and the world and make new pathways for opportunity and advancement is someone who can break through the ULTIMATE GLASS EXECUTIVE CEILING. Electing Barack Obama at this time in history won’t be able to accomplish that. That someone is HILLARY!!!

    January 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  15. Steve O, from Flint, MI

    If you support civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, why not outright marriage? How can you support something that is essentially the concept of "Separate But Equal" for people who are gay and lesbian?

    I don't mean marriage as recognized by a religious institution, but by the states. After all, if you use the argument of "marriage is a religious institution," then why let straight, non-religious couples marry?


    Do you support warrantless wiretapping? How will you ensure all Americans the right to privacy in the battle against terrorism?

    January 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Over five times as many people with mental illness are in jails and prisons than in hospitals. What will you do to prevent people with mental illness from ending up in our criminal justice system?

    January 11, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  17. Tammy in St Louis

    I am tired of people judging the status of the economy on the stock market.
    The economy is in deep trouble regardless of the DOW.

    People that live paycheck to paycheck do not have stocks, not all jobs offer a 401k and the ones that do offer it, often people choose the expensive healthcare over the 401k deduction.

    Tax cuts the republicans always talk about are great but what is being cut?
    Social Security? Medicare? Education?

    The wealthy people just don't get it. I wish they could outsource some of our problems along with our jobs.

    Oh and by the way. I am tired of people calling themselves African American, Latino American, Mexican American, Irish American.....until we all consider ourselves to be just plain old Americans, there will always be racial tension.
    It does nothing but segregate us more...

    January 11, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. Kwesi Wilson

    Please ask Hillary what her real message is. She seems to have taken several postures depending on the tide. Why is her experience better than Obama's when she'd only had 6yrs of elected office compared to 10+ years for Obama? Can she empathize with the lives and experiences of the working class?

    January 11, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  19. Alicia, Maryland

    The question I would most like to hear posed is what the candidates positions are on the issue of DC's voting rights. If they are in favor of them, I would want to know what they are going to do to advocate for them and make sure that the 500,000+ disenfranchised citizens of our country have their proper representation. I think this is an issue which is usually ignored and can use all the exposure it can get.

    January 11, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  20. yg

    Europe has almost become one country. People in EU use same currency and they can work and live in a country they choose. What about US and Canada? Is it true that there is agenda? and what do you think about this issue ?

    January 11, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. CStuckey

    Too often children are used as a political tool to move forward an agenda of censorship, when any blame should be assigned to the caregiver. I understand there is a fine line to walk here, but who is willing to protect our rights and prevent needless censorship of our content?

    January 11, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. Law Chung

    I would ask Barack Obama what he thinks of everyone around him, Dems and Reps, biting his rhetoric (change) and campaign focuses (judgement > experience)?

    Is it because everyone know Barack Obama is the only person on either side who can bring the country together and win in a landslide election?

    Also, who really is out there pushing for a Michael Bloomberg presidency? It goes to show that billions of dollars does not buy grassroots support, only media coverage.

    January 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  23. Drew

    Mr.Obama do you Want this country to be Like the next John F. Kennedy Era because if you were elected thats what will happen. What Will you do to prevent this from happening.

    January 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. Derek from Apex, North Carolina

    Ask them how they would stop American dollar from losing its value any further and bring it back up above the Canadian dollar, PLEASE!!!

    January 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  25. Martha, Kelly, and Dee Dee

    You've all acknowleged that Healthcare is in crisis...
    We, 3 ER nurses with 84 years combined critical care experience, agree...
    The World Health Organization agrees, recently ranking the U.S. Healthcare system 37th in the world (between Costa Rica and Slovenia)...
    Guyatt, et al. also agree. Their 2007 study (cited in Emergency Medicine News, volume XXIX, no. 12, Dec. 2007) found Canada's single-payer Healthcare system cheaper and in many ways equal to or superior to our system...
    Michael Moore would certainly agree...

    Our question: Does your concept of change include wresting control of patient care from lawmakers, pharmaceutical companies, and high profit insurance corporations? Under your plans, won't you just be throwing 47 million more Americans into a system allready overwhelmed, failing, and horrendously expensive?

    January 11, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
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