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. Bernie Moore-Knowles

    My question would be for Hillary Clinton. How is she justifying thirty-five years of political experience? Please be specific. I do not want to hear about the years that she lived in the governor's mansion in Arkansas nor the years that she lived in the White House. I want to hear what her accomplishments are in lieu of those years of paid service of that of her husband's.

    January 11, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. Russell Shea


    This is a funny but insightful question I thought of the other day. Ms. Clinton and Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards. There's a Family Guy quote, "Look Lois, two symbols of the Republican Party, an elephant and a fat white guy who's threatened by change. How are you going to get those same guys to vote for you?"

    January 11, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Garald Palazzi

    I would like all candidates to spell out what their policy towards illegal immagrants would be. Our open borders and flawed immigration policy now pose a great threat to our security, finances, schools and hospitals.

    January 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  4. Joe Michaels

    First off I would like an explanation as to why Senator Obama has been seen on CNN NOT saluting the American flag and standing sideways away from the flag.
    In addition, there are continuous e-mails circulating on the internet stating Senator Obamas background re; two fathers, one of which sent Barack to a Muslim fundamentalist school that was connected to terrorist schooling of previous known terrorists. In addition, Senator Obama never speaks of his Muslim background, the several countries he was raised in and his turn to a Christian schooling that seems was motivated to cover up his Muslim background.
    PLEASE address these issues and PLEASE tell the world they are a falsehood. If the aforementioned is true, the world needs to know.
    Thank you.

    January 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. Dave

    President Bush campaigned as a "uniter not a divider". Ask candidates why they think he failed in this and how they would get parties to work together to get things done.

    Also, candidates talk as though it is so easy to CHANGE things. If this is true, then why have those who have been serving in the senate NOT been able to use their supposed talents to convince their peers to move on so many of the hot topic issues? Why should we believe that they will have any more success as President than they had as a senator?

    January 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Mrs. Harris

    Question on Clintons’ Aggressive Plan to Jumpstart U.S. Economy
    Will this only help people who are loosing their homes?

    January 11, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  7. Paul S.

    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 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Sam Toles

    The issues we Democrats care about are all essentially meaningless if a Democrat doesn't win the White House in November. Which of you is the most ELECTABLE Democrat and why?

    January 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. Adrienne, Hobe Sound, Florida

    As in a marriage, the partner one picks tells a lot about an individual.

    What characteristic do you think is important in a running mate, and would you consider an average joe like say . . . Wolf Blitzer?

    January 11, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  10. caywen

    I would ask: When are Biden and Dodd coming back to restore respectability to these debates?

    January 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. TMZ

    A recent study from the Center for Global Development in Washington, said that 1 in 5 African-born doctors work in developed countries. Relatedly, the Democratic candidates all support a Presidential Pledge for Leadership on Global AIDS from a coalition of organizations called 08StopAIDS. In your Presidential pledge on Global AIDS, it calls for $50 billion over 5 years to be spent by the US, which includes a sum of $8B towards training doctors and nurses and to strengthening health systems in Africa. This investment in the health care systems of Sub-Saharan Africa would benefit the entire primary health care system and facilitate universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention. As President, what programs would you institute in the US in order for us to train more nurses and doctors, and how would you facilitate things for our skilled health professionals, who may want to work in a developing country where there is a serious shortage of health care workers?

    Lucio Verani
    NY, NY

    January 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. Robin E

    First, I would ask Hillary. How can I be sure that Bill won't try to usurp her Presidency if she wins. He is doing a awful lot of talking on her behalf-much of it negative. I am worried that he will try to have a third term though her. Whenever a knotty situation is presented to her will Bill tell her. "Move over dear and let me do it, I've experienced this situation before."

    I had nothing against Mr Clinton when he was President but now he doesn't seem like the same man and that's sad.

    Second, I would ask the Democratic candidates about their religious faith. There a lot of comments by email from my friends who are questioning if Hillary believes in God and there is a debate about whether Obama is Baptist or Muslim.

    January 11, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. Jeremy

    I would like to know about the sexism comment Sen. Clinton made To the ignorant man with the "iron my shirt" comment. How does she feel knowing that one of the most powerful women in the world can sway an election by crying? And what about reverse sexism, wouldn't exactly the oppisite happen if Sen. Obama was seen tearing up over the stress of this process?

    January 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. Anthony

    I would like to ask Hillary a simple question: the next democrat who becomes the next President is gonna have to be able to get Independents and Republicans to vote for them. Since Hillary does not do well with Independents (or young voters) and Republicans hate her, how is she going to win the Presidency?

    January 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Linda Simms

    Does Mr. Obama really believe in the Pledge of Allegiance to our flag and our country for which it stands. I am one of many concerned americans that when he was sworn in as a senator he would not place his hand on the HOLY BIBLE nor does he place his hand over his heart during the pledge of allegiance. He turns his back to the flag. Does he really believe in Jesus Christ and what our nation stands for. I am also concerned regarding his Muslim belief and the safety of our country if he should become President of my UNITED STATES.

    January 11, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  16. Ray

    As a citizen of the other Carolina. I would like the Candidates to explain how they plan to counter the effects of NAFTA on the Manufacturing operations in the Carolinas and elsewhere. I know Senator Obama has talked about not granting tax incentives or rewards to companies who outsource jobs. Are the rest of the Democratic Candidates willing to take that stand?

    Do the Candidates have any detailed plans on Environmental Disasters such as Hurricanes that affect the South Eastern States every year? What are their plans on drought relief, will they put the pressures on states that use water irresponsibly and tap into the water reserves of others? I'm not sure if any of the Candidates are golfers but the amount of water wasted keeping the grass of courses in desert states like Arizona is tremendous, will they force Greener Policies?

    January 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. Reinaldo Vega


    My question would be the following:

    To Senators Clinton and Edwards,

    Suffice it to say that the health care plans of the three Democratic frontrunners are more or less the same, with the exception that your plans will mandate coverage for all U.S. citizens. This is different in philosophy between yourselves and Senator Obama, who would mandate health care for children only and leave it optional for adults. I care not about the bickering over this detail, but am instead curious about how you propose to enforce such a mandate. Even if health care were more affordable, there would surely be some families out there, living paycheck to paycheck, who would still be unable to afford it. The only means of enforcement I can think of are fines or jailtime, neither of which I would find appropriate for hard-working families struggling to stay afloat. Do you mean to tell me that such means of enforcement are justifiable in this case, or is there another way? Thank you for your time, and please do not dodge the question; I'll be listening to your answers very closely.

    Reinaldo Vega
    Berkeley, California

    January 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. McGoo

    Wolf – please present this question to Senator Obama if he was our next Commander-In-Chief:

    You discuss that you will pull the plug and withdraw all of our troops out of Iraq as soon as possible if elected...what will be your decision when Iraq worsens and violence escalates? Then what? Who is going to pay for sending our returned equipment, aid and perhaps the military back to the region? I like to hear YOUR short-term and long-term PLANs.

    January 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. Noble

    Please the presidential candidate:

    Assuming he/she (the presidential candidate) assumes office and were to list the issues of the day in an order of priority : These issues are : Economy, Iraq and Afganistan, Immigration, security etc. How would they list these issues and why?

    January 11, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  20. Vidya

    Senator Obama,

    I am one of the many millions who believe that change IS possible the way you envision it. And I REALLY want it......

    Are you too good to be true?

    January 11, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. Nick - PA

    Thanks for the opportunity to get involved!

    I have read most of the posts and experience seems to be a big topic. Like many I am perplexed by Hillary's claims.

    If Hillary was a lawyer for 5-7 years, then Arkansas' first lady for 12 years, then our first lady for 8 years and finally a senator for 8 years is that what she means by 35?

    Please ask each person this question: Please explain each job you have held as an adult, how many years you worked in that role and why that experience should matter as you attempt to become president?


    January 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  22. What

    For all you folks you are fooled by the Clinton's READ!!!!

    Based on his own history, Bill Clinton is the last person who should lecture Republicans about race. If there is any hypocrite on this issue, it is him.

    When it comes to the Confederate flag issue, Clinton has conveniently forgotten who raised it in South Carolina. It was Democrat Senator Ernest Hollings who was Governor of South Carolina in 1962. He raised the flag above the state capitol in an act of defiance to civil rights. In later years, Hollings referred to blacks as “darkies” and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition the “Blackbow Coalition.”

    Speaking of such, what about the Arkansas state flag? In 1923 a single star was added above the state’s name to recognize its membership in the Confederacy. In the five terms he served as Arkansas’ governor, Bill Clinton never changed it.

    What about Clinton’s ties to segregationists? Former Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Clinton in 1993. In the ceremony, he referred to Fulbright as “my mentor.”

    Another Arkansas segregationist, Orval Faubus, was another one of Clinton’s political mentors. Faubus was the governor who tried to stop the integration of Little Rock High School in 1957 by using the Arkansas National Guard. Integration occurred after President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, superseded Faubus and nationalized the Arkansas National Guard.

    If you don't believe this research Fulbright and Faubus for yourself. why if Clinton was so good to Black he didn't have a single black in is cabinet but yet Bush appointed more and had two blacks hold the highest position in his cabinet of any president in the history of our country. I'm not promoting Bush but you Clinton people need to research and know what you are talking about before you cast your vote...this is not media propaganda it's FACTS!!!!

    January 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  23. John Bell

    Please ask the candidates this question:
    I am a long haul truck driver, owner /operator. I am struggling to make a profit because of the cost of diesel fuel, which is now more expensive than gasoline. I am losing money rapidly. When I haul a heavy load through the mountains, I make no money. The last heavy load I took from Denver, CO to Sacramento, CA after fuel deductions and insurance I made $46.00. Who can live on this below minimum wage? What are you going to do about the cost of diesel fuel or at least some kind of compensation for owner/ operators drivers about to go under?
    This country's economy runs on the dependency of trucks who delivers all goods.

    January 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. Stanley M Rice

    What ideas do you have for an exit strategy for our troops from Iraq and when?

    January 11, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I would like each candidate to answer why they are the best candidate? If it is experience, and Mrs. Clinton talks about her 35+ years, ask her to explain it – break it down. The same for the other candidates.

    I'd also like to know the role Mrs. Clinton has in mind for her husband. Will he be a co-president, or will he step back (unwillingly) and take the back seat, which seems improbable given his larger-than-life ego.

    January 11, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
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