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. Dr. David Peavy

    No Candidate is addressing how the cost of oil is gutting our economy in all sectors. What would you do to avert this impending economic disaster?

    January 11, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. R. Bachman

    Ask each candidate whether increased concentration of uncheckable power in the office of the president and the executive branch is desireable or instead should be reversed. If so, specifically in what areas and why.

    Implicit in the question is the idea that concentration of power is a one-directional ratchet unless disgrace and scandal cause intermittent reversals, particulary in a climate of 'perpetual war'.

    (A good source book for examples of such concentration of power can be found in the book "The Return of the Imperial Presidency")

    It would be interesting to see what promises (or evasive dancing) a question along this line would generate by the candidates. Equally interesting would be the subsequent talk-show assessment of those answers.

    "Those that would sacrifice liberty for a little bit of security deserve neither liberty nor security" Ben Franklin

    thanks and best wishes,
    Bob Bachman

    January 11, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  3. Joann Holman

    Bush has declared himself King. He ingnores the will of the people and does what he wants or rather want big business wants and has literally destroyed our middle class. Many of the candidates have different views from the will of the people (specifically on illegal immigration). What can you do or say that would make me believe you would be a representative of the people and bend to the will of the people who will hire you?

    January 11, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. Stephen

    I think Senator Obama has a great deal of style but I haven’t heard a lot of substance from him. I hear Senator Obama talk a great deal about change (any new president will bring change to the country) but nothing about what exactly he would change. I watch CNN everyday and I never hear him or the journalists discuss or ask any policy specific questions. So my big question (apparently a change from what I have been seeing lately) would be, Senator Obama, what changes do you actually plan on bringing to white house? Please provide specifics about the “Changes” that only you can bring. Right now, the campaign slogan is starting to feel a bit cliché and a little bit shallow. Show me that there is some substance behind the style. I am sure you would be great to have beer with and you are cute to look at and all, but this election isn’t for a high school prom king.

    January 11, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  5. Christian Lugo

    hey wolf, i am an avid CNN watcher and I am only 16 years of age. I actually attend Myrtle Beach High School and I hope that you read this and ask the democratic candidates. So here is my question...

    In 1994 Congress passed "Goals 2000: Educate America Act". By this act, American students would have accomplished such things as...
    -raising the number of high school graduates to 90%
    -students will show command in subjects such as history, math, english, science, foreign language, etc...
    -american students WILL be the first in the world in math and science
    -all schools will be drug, firearm, and alcohol free.

    and many more.

    My question is, what has happened to this plan? I, as stated, attend the local high school and I rarely see this act being enforced. I am not blaming the students nor the educators. Just least year there was an incident involving a firearm as well as many drug and alcohol problems. What are the candidates going to do to further enhance the intelligence and care of high schools across America?

    January 11, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  6. jesse martinez

    Wolf, please ask Senator Obama, "What is your stance on health care?" In the beginning of the Iowa Caucus, he mentioned universal healthcare, then in New Hampshire he said "affordable" healthcare. Which is it? This question can be aimed at Clinton as well since she was trying to spearhead the movement when she was the first lady.

    January 11, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  7. Mike

    The biggest concern that is an easy fix is, what do we do about our trade deficit with China and them fixing their currency to our dollar? What do you do about it? Why haven't we just informed them that if they won't comply with WTO rules and stop fixing their currency to ours, that we'll just smack all their goods with a tariff?

    I'm aware that tariffs aren't usually a good thing, but China isn't obeying the rules, so in regards to them, why should we?

    January 11, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. julian

    What will be done about legal immigration, meaning the huge backlog of USCIS applications for granting family members of US citizens permanent residency. Currenly it takes about 4-5 years for a US citizen to take his 21+ unmarried child in US and also about 4 years for US Permanent Residents to take their children (infant to 21) in US. Also if you are Mexican, Chinese or Philipino forget about it. Will the visa quotas be increased, stay the same or will there be another policy tailored to fix what could be called a problem?

    January 11, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. GG

    Over five times as many people with mental illness are in 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 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  10. Murthy

    Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in Wolf.

    1) Likability has been one of the prime factors among democratics to choose their candidate. In the last NH debate even Hillary admitted obama is very likable person.
    I am curious what Hillary has to say on why do people in general think Hillary is not likable?

    Is it because of bill clinton, her policies during her career as senator and first wife, her experience or her personality. I tried asking this question to many people who supported other candidates and I never got a straight answer, this makes me wonder is it a human trait with no real reasons that hillary is not likable or is it media who is trying to project someone new like obama as a breath of fresh air to take on Washington?

    No matter what, I really feel Hillary should be given a chance to speak up to these questions to defend her version of the likability factor.

    January 11, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  11. Don Alfonso

    Dear Wolf:

    Please ask this question – -What would doa about the Chineese econoomy and the countries military bulid up.
    Thank you

    January 11, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  12. Deb Lukacena

    I am an independent, intelligent, semi-retired 55 year-old female democrat raised on an Ohio farm – just the sort that you would expect to vote for Hillary Clinton. But the most important aspect of my life is that I spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. I retired in 1997, and the thing I remember most about Hillary's 'experience' in the White House was her apparent dislike and mistrust of the U.S. military. Why should I vote for her to be Commander-in-Chief?

    January 11, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  13. Hot Rox

    To both candidates:

    Name all 50 states, their capitals and their state birds.

    Come on, you don't really expect honest answers to any of your posts, do you?

    January 11, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. Bill

    1) The Economy – ie... Tax Cuts as stiumulus vs. Tax Increases to pay for Socialized medicine. Are the democrats going to tax and spend us more than the republicans. We have already had one breach of fiscal trust is there going to be a second?

    2) How do they feel about term limits? The only way to break the special interests control is to have term limits. The president can only serve for 2 terms, why can Congress and the Senate serve for life? This is the problem. We need a evolving government not a static one.

    3) How do the candidates feel about immigration? What is their plan? I have not heard much on how they would handle it.

    4) We hear much about "experience" and "change" but what is their plan? What are they going to do when they are elected... what is the order of issues they are going to address.

    5)How are the candidates going to break the "partisan politics" in Washington. We are sick of it. What is there plan to return the government to the people where congress and senate work for the people vs. spending 3 weeks of every month raising money for their next campaign?

    January 11, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  15. Sean McM

    Finally, CNN forefront 2 of it's best....Suzanne M and Joe Johns..
    White male dominance on CNN is getting pretty boring....what ever happened to Campbell Brown...when will we get a break from hyper Rick Sanchez??????

    Question for candidates:

    Provide us, please, with concrete examples of your PERFORMANCE to date that supports your campaign PROMISES.

    Emphasis is on concrete examples!.

    January 11, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  16. Karen Caffee Los Angeles, CA

    Historically candidates talk about what they will do when they are elected, and historically they fall shorter than short when it comes to delivering upon those promises. 1) Having read each of the top three candidates' statements about pressing issues, I would like to know HOW do you plan to deliver on these promises? You are seeking to be elected in a democracy, not to an autonomous ruling position. 2) I would also like to know if each candidate – especially Senators Clinton, Obama and Edwards – are going to work together, no matter who is elected, to effect some of the changes that they are trumpeting? 3) If the military's top leaders say that full troop withdrawal cannot be done in a short amount of time without logistical and political consequences, how do they (candidates) plan to withdraw the troops any differently?

    January 11, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. Brandon Colton

    PLEASE READ.....

    With the lack of trust Americans have in the political parties today. Here are my two questions I believe NEED to be answered.

    1)If elected to office, would you allow yourself to be audited and questioned by a non biased group of individuals every year, so that Americans can see exactly your progress has been or not been?

    2) As an employee of the people. If Americans put together a request for you to leave office for failure to perform operations you were hired and promised to do, would you allow the people of America to fire you.

    **** If employees of a companies can be terminated for these reason why can we not fire the people we hire.

    January 11, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. Alex

    On 11/21/2006, a $12 billion worldwide attempt to generate power from nuclear fusion [The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER)] was signed into existence by ministers from the project's seven international partners–China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States. Then in December of 2007, Congress realized some budget savings by allotting nothing for U.S. participation in the international fusion reactor experiment, ITER, which is set to begin construction next year in Cadarache, France. All the candidates talk about energy independence and then they vote for this kind of budget. Do they even know what they have done? Do their actions speak louder than words?

    January 11, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. BABucher, NYC

    Ask Senator Clinton whether she feels the Michigan primary will be a valid referrendum considering that she is the only one on the ballot.

    January 11, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Bea

    Assume that in state X's primary, after votes were counted you had the most, but also assume that on the same night clear evidence arose suggesting that persons who were not eligible to vote in the election did so in numbers that, if excluded, would have resulted in your loss, what would you do?

    January 11, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Etaoin

    What are you going to save Social Security? Obama talks about how it needs saving and repeats the GOP line; the economists I listen to say that we need to stop using the fund to cover federal costs and then Social Security is fine. Despite his many qualities, Obama really worries me with this idea. What does everyone else plan to do?

    January 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. Ellie

    I would ask the canidates if they are beholden to Giant Corporations and International Banks, Lawyers, Big Oil, Media, Investment Houses, ect. Here are some of the top contributors. Godman Sachs, $369,000 To Obama,$350,000 to Hillary Clinton. Then we have Lehman Brothers, National Amusements Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co
    Sisley Austin LLP, Citigroup Inc., Exelon Corp, Citadel Investment Group, Jones Day, Time Warner, Harvard University, Morgan Stanley, Jenner & Block,Cablevision Systems, News Corps, Latham & Watkins, Bank Of America.These are some of the companies who have contributed millions to Democrats and Republicans.People need to do a little research and see how our government is bought and paid for. (www.opensecrets.org)This is one of the many places you can find this information. It is no wonder that the rich just keep getting richer, the poor get poorer, and the middle class sit and wonder what the hell happened. America really needs to wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Robyn

    As a disgruntled political junkie from Michigan, I would like to hear the candidates' stance on whether Iowa and New Hampshire, two states wholly unrepresentative in terms of ethnic/racial and economic diversity, should continue to hold such power in determining the nominees. Alternatively, doesn't it make more sense to rotate the earliest primaries among states that had very close races in the previous general election (and thus will likely be decisive in the next general)? I ask because I, as a Michigander, was stripped of all potential influence when Michigan's delegates to the Democratic convention were taken away and when Edwards, Obama, Biden, and Richardson withdrew their names from my ballot. Republican Michiganders were stripped of some influence as well–having half of their delegates taken away.

    January 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  24. Brian Lee Bonfonti

    All candidates- If you were excluded from voting for yourself, which other candidate would you vote to give the Democratic nomination to?

    January 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  25. Pat K

    To Sen Clinton,

    Does she think that she would be have ever been in a position to be elected Senator and now possibly president is she was not married to Bill Clinton, one of the most popular democrats in recent history?

    Establishing dynasties and taking advantage of name recognition are characteristics of many third world politics, and this cannot be a healthy situation for any country, much less for the most powerful democracy in the world.

    We already saw what happens when dynasties take over with the Bush family.

    January 11, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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