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. Joanne

    Would you put an end to billions of dollars that go to earmarks?

    January 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. David


    Gwen Ifill has one of the best questions in 2004 when she asked John Edward and Dick Chenney to talk about HIV in the U.S. and not in Africa and specifically what they plan to do about HIV being the number 1 killer of African-American women ages 24 to 35.

    Neither candidate could reply ... in fact, both went on the talk about Africa and Chenney even admitting not knowing that HIV is ravaging Black people in the U.S.

    I would therefore urge you to ask the EXACT SAME QUESTION in 2008 and see if this crop of candidate has any more profound answer.

    January 11, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Kim Kilchenstein


    Though we hear much more about racism in this political dialogue,
    I would suggest that the unbelievable quantity of vitriolic comments directed toward Hillary Rodham Clinton make clear that our county is still steeped in rampant sexism and/or downright misogyny- from the educated or uneducated, male or female, wealthy or poor... The hatred (mis)directed toward Ms.Clinton is astounding and horrifying to me.
    I admire Hillary Clinton's incredible ability to deflect such violence.

    My question is for Hillary:
    What strengths do you have, as a woman, that uniquely qualify you for the job of President? And, how might this benefit our country in a way that we have not yet seen before in our history?

    Secondly, a question for the viewing audience to ponder:
    If Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were both white men...
    Who would you vote for?

    January 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Ed Henehan

    To all canidates: What about getting rid of the Electorial College so the votes you are campaneing for are the ones that will actually count . Then many of us will start voting again.

    January 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Johnny Tinker

    I would like to ask Obama Why he refuses to say the Pledge of allegance.
    I would also like to know if he is or is not a Muslim,....TY

    January 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. Brian

    Obama always talks about "Change" but I don't think he has shown anything specific about that "Change" he is going to make and how. At least it seems that Hillary will have some specifics. So want to ask Obama, "What differentiates you from Hillary other than race, gender, age, or ability to speak? Like what specific plans do you have that is actually different you from Hillary?" SPECIFIC EXAMPLES not just one issue that he always talks about (healthcare) but at least on many issues like immigration, solving trading deficit, inflation/unemployment, deficit spending, etc...

    January 11, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Curtis Knierim

    I would Like to ask Senator Obama why he has forgotten about Immagration through-out this campaign, what he will do to protect our borders ensure that the illigal alians are brought to justice as any law breaking person in this country is subject to.
    Thank you

    January 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  8. another citizen

    Hi Wolf,
    Love your show.
    Question 1: if Hillary was not running for President who would she/Bill have endorsed and why.
    Question 2: How would she feel, if in the future history shows that she was in the way of an African American to be the first President. (This could also go to Barack – first female president)

    January 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Carl Harris

    On behalf of Carl Harris in Saint Petersburg Florida, What are the Three reacsons you belive the economy is heading in the danger zone?

    January 11, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  10. Vince Los Angeles, CA


    Wolf, I PRAY you ask this question becuase EVERYONE seems to avoid asking it....and I ask with ALL DUE RESPECT AND SINCERITY:

    Hillary Clinton: You have now changed your campaign mantra from "experience" to "experience to make changes". Considering the extremely difficult scandal-filled time the country went through during Bill Clinton's presidency and the fact that most Republicans do not like you, just HOW do you propose to use that experience in working with others to break the gridlock that has paralyzed congress for the past 8+ years?

    Wolf, I pray you ask her this question. It is the MAIN reason I am not happy about her candidacy. I believe she is polarizing and will jepordize the Democratic party's chances of winning the White House. It seems the press is loath to present this very valid question to her.

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


    Why do you suggest Barack Obama's experience is lacking when you both have very non-traditional experiences?

    January 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Michael

    If Barack Obama were white...he would have lost out to Edwards both in Iowa and in New Hampshire. If Hillary Clinton were a male...she would have dominated both Iowa and New Hampshire.

    As it stands....Barack wants to ride the MLK wave in his speeches just as other politicians (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc) have done for years.

    If I wanted to be uplifted...I will go to church. If I want a competent President... I'm definately not voting for Barack Obama.

    January 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. A J Carlin

    Many candidates are weakly addessing the cost of social security, but to my knowledge little is being said about improved benifits for retirees. Do the candidates support the concept of taxing SS benifits? How much revenue is derived from SS income tax?

    Should tax breaks be given to recipients of 401k disbursements to encourage more personal savings?

    With regard to illegal immigration, is it a good idea to keep increasing the use of dual languages in publications and signs? Doesn't that practice encouage illegals because they do not have to learn the language of the land?

    January 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  14. josh

    To Senator Clinton,

    At first, the axial message of your campaign was “experience,” 35 years of it according to you. Recently your talking points have drifted towards the concept of “change.” How is it that your election would be the best possible catalyst for change if, A) your presidency would constitute a Clinton dynasty, and B) You've gladly accepted funds from pharmaceutical, defense, and insurance companies, the same special interest groups that have prevented progressive change in the past?

    January 11, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  15. Kyle Millsap

    Is there any hope for an open and honest dialouge about gay/lesbian/transgender (glbt) rights in the United States' future. Will you as a democratic president stand up for a key section of your voting block and convince the rest of America to stop taking our civil and human rights? Who is on our side this election?

    January 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. Sammy

    There are a lot of questions we can ask. Hospitalization, Education, Illegal Immigration, Economy.... Etc. What is the plan? is anyone really different or is it just a popularity contest? Are the candidates really believing in what they say and Can they convince us that they are true to what they are preaching.

    January 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  17. Paul

    Here's my question for Hillary:

    Do you still support a law banning flag burning. If so, hasn't the Supreme Court identified this as a free-speech issue?

    January 11, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  18. Shaun

    Please ask real questions that get real answers:

    How will you bring the American people together?
    How were you raised? Who did you look up to as a child? Why?
    What do you believe in?
    Do you have religious beliefs? What are they? How will that affect or not affect your decisions?
    What will be your main passion or mission as President?
    Will you implement more policies to keep our country secure? Borders?
    Will you make sure security measures are better enforced?
    What will you do to curb terrorism? What will you do about Al-Quiada?
    How will you do about education? Will you keep No Child Left Behind? If not, what will you do?
    How will you help the middle class and our economy?
    What will you do about global warming, energy, and gas prices as President?
    Along with our commanders, what plans and strategies do you have for Iraq now?
    How will you restore U.S. confidence and peace throughout the world?
    What are you willing to do to ensure America becomes a light to the world?
    Why are you running for President? Why is it important to you?


    January 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. Military Mom

    Contrary to popular belief, the majority of the military and their families are not poor and undereducated and we are smart enough to know that no one can snap their fingers and bring the troops home immediately. It would be a long involved process to do it safely for our loved ones who are serving. My question is not WHEN you will bring them home, but what will you do to allow them to have more time with their family between deployments and to make deployments less often. Without a draft, we are abusing our voluntary soldiers and keeping them from their spouses and children for an extended length of time and re-deploy before they have time to settle back in. Also, what will you do to give these brave men and women a liveable wage? Our concern is for a daughter we are very proud of who has been in Iraq for the past 9 months with two little girls, a husband, a dad, & mom waiting at home for a safe return. Thank you for your consideration of this question.

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

    How can Clinton say she's knows what to do on day one in office? Does she know this because of Bill's term? Does this constitute her experience? If I wanted Bill Clinton in office again I would vote for him. WHO is Spinning the FAIRY TALE?

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

    I would ask every one of the democratic candidate who they would choose to be a good leader amongst them, if they themselves fail to get the presidential nomination from their party? (as for eg. asking Obama who he thinks will do a better job in office, if he himself doesn't get the nomination. AND EVERY ONE OF THEM WHEN ANSWERING SHOULD PICK ONE..........)

    Thank you.

    January 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. xtina - chicago IL

    -Do you believe the U.S. needs to increase military spending? If so, from what source should the money come ?

    -The Democrats in Congress are proposing possibly the largest entitlement program in world history. Why does the country need this bill?

    -Do you support amending the Constitution to define marriage as one man and one woman?

    -How do we stop illegal immigrants from crossing the border into the U.S.?

    -How would you balance the economic well-being of our country with environmental regulations?

    -China is massively increasing its military spending. What will you do about it?

    -Are you prepared to go to war with Iran to prevent them from securing nuclear weapons?

    -Assuming there's waste in the federal system, which government departments would you eliminate?

    -The Democratic congress is proposing letting major parts of the President's tax cuts lapse, which would cut incoming federal money and increase taxes by billions of dollars. What are you going to do about it?

    -What's your long-range plan for fighting Islamo-fascism?

    -Liberal talk radio is not nearly as successful as conservative talk radio. Do you plan on using the power of Congress to censor conservative talk radio and conversely, do you plan on using the power of Washington to mandate that radio stations broadcast liberal -themed talk shows?

    -What have you successfully done as Senator that shows change in Washington?

    January 11, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. Carl Harris

    and how will they attemt to gain the support from people to achive this?

    January 11, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Colleen McNutt

    I need to know why Hillary Clinton introduced a bill to make flag burning against the law. I don't want to burn the flag but I consider it a great right to live in this country and openly express your opposing views. I don't believe there are a lot of countries left that are confident and comfortable enough to allow open decent. Why does she want to take away one of the most privileged rights I think a citizen can have? It is important that she is asked this question because she introduced the bill. I would like to hear how the other candidates running for president will answer this question also.

    Thank you so much,

    Colleen McNutt
    Moscow, Idaho 83843

    January 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. Tim Rand

    Why does Hillary's experience prior to the Senate count for anything?
    Ask what she produced, specifically, prior to her time in the Senate.
    What did she make happen, in Arkansas or in America, as first lady?
    Talking to Bill or other politicians doesn't count - what did SHE do?
    (other than, of course, her failed health plan)

    January 11, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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