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. d

    I would like to ask each candidate, Democrat and Republican, to reveal their association with the Trilateral Commission and how that association will affect how they will run this country. I want to know because the Trilateral Commission has hijacked our executive branch since 1974 and it is time for them to get out of our government before America loses its sovereignty all together.

    I would also like to know from each candidate, Democrat and Republican, WHERE's THE FENCE. Why are the borders and ports NOT being controlled. I believe ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION and TERROISM to be one of the major topics in this election, as it has greatly affected our country in every way. I have ALSO NOT heard this really being brought up with the Democratic candidates. I do not want to hear about AMNESTY. I want to hear that this is a country of Laws. I also want to know why our sovereignty is being taken away from us, and our laws not followed.

    January 11, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. Brian

    Given the recent provocative behavior by Iranian speedboats threatening our honorable sailors in the Strait of Hormuz, if they were to launch an attack on our sailors, how would you respond to the Iranians? What military action would you take against Iran?

    January 11, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. Gabrielle

    I have two questions for Barack and Hillary:

    1) Having read Energy Victory, and recognizing the need for our country to stop relying on foreign oil, I want to know, will either of these candidate's energy policies include either a mandate for flex fuel or for flex fuel cars and if not, what steps will they take to encourage these markets?

    2) Currently 30% of money spent on healthcare goes directly to insurance companies. From what I can see, neither of their health care policies addresses this directly or suggests that this should change. Recognizing that they both get money from insurance companies, what assurances can either of them offer that the "new" health care options are really any different in this particular regard.


    January 11, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. Miguel


    To Hilary Clinton:

    One of the most interesting aspects of this election is selecting a candidate who has a solid plan on foreign policy affairs and the ability to revive the United States in the eyes of the international community. Many countries around the world, particularly in the Middle East have strong beliefs that women should not assume leadership roles. I would like to understand how Senator Clinton plans to overcome this adversity as President and ensure the United States is not further ostracized from the rest of the world.

    To All Democratic Candidates:

    It seems amazing to me that Brazil operates automobiles using sugar cane and the most industrialized nation in the world relies on the dependency of foreign oil.
    Please describe your policy efforts in detail to improve Energy efforts around the world and how you would alleviate the corporate oil & gas companies from dictating the US decisions for energy?

    January 11, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |

    Since Democrats are all about helping out the average mid-class American,
    I would like to know if/when House Bill 147-S619 "The Social Security Fairness
    Act" will ever be passed, since politicians running for office have yet to address this issue. Passage of this bill would allow those who receive a public employee pension (and paid into it) to also collect their full entitlement of Social Security.

    Because of former Democratic Congressman, Dan Rostenkowski, municipal employees are denied full social security benefits upon retirement due to a bill
    he proposed and passed in Congress decades ago. Municipal employees nationwide are losing 60% of benefits that are due to them.

    In April of 2006 there were 306 co-sponsors in the House and 23 co-sponsors in the Senate. With such extensive support.......what's the problem?

    After all, politicians and postal workers are able to collect full Social Sec . benefits. I'm a law-abiding, tax-paying retired Chicago police officer just asking to receive what is rightfully mine.

    January 11, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. Tony Johnson

    I would ask each of the canditates what they've done to make life easier for black americans, not talk actual deeds.

    January 11, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  7. Sam Toles

    To Barack Obama:
    Recently you appeared with anti-gay activists on the campaign trail here in South Carolina. The gay community protested the scheduled appearances, but you went ahead with them anyway.

    If one of your opponents was on stage with acknowledged white superemists, it would have been a significant issue and the country would have repudiated such an appearance.

    Were you wrong to campaign with these people, or do you feel it's more acceptable because they are anti-gay (as opposed to racists, anti-semites, etc)?

    January 11, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  8. William Raedy

    Dear Wolf:

    Clinton's new message is that she has the experience to create change. She cites her time as first lady as the basis for her experience and claims that it was a "we" partnership in the white house.

    Please ask Hillary Clinton how voters like myself are supposed to know how much she contributed in that administration while the files in the Clinton library remain classified.

    Her main case for being president is her experience, and I think voters have a right to know how much experience she really has. Without that information we have no way to evaluate her contribution to that administration.

    January 11, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  9. Derek

    Ask John Edwards why he has a disdain for the Clinton family.

    January 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Keisha

    Does Senator Clinton fear that her emotional response to a question asked of her in New Hampshire will be characterized as a "typical female" response by her Republican challenger if she becomes the Democratic nominee?

    Also, did the race become "personal" for her before or after it was "personal" for John Edwards?

    January 11, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 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 and retaining health care workers 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

    p.s. this is a corrected version of my comment

    January 11, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. Jimmy

    Senator Clinton for President of the United States.
    She is the one,

    January 11, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. John P.

    I'd like to ask each of the candidates what they would do to address the turmoil coming out of Africa. The Middleast is an obvious hotbed of terrorist activity, yet with Darfur and the recent violent elections in Kenya, an unstable Africa is a threat to its citizens as well as neighboring countries. Will you help form a coalition with other countries in order to fight against rebel uprisings? Will you pledge resources to help fight the obvious AIDS epidemic?

    January 11, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  14. Peter

    Some of the candidates are saying change and change over again while at the same time give great speeches remiscent of 'political activism'.I will like to know from them how they are going tackle the economy,health,education ,etc inorder to better understand the word 'change' which to me is ambiguous.

    January 11, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Terry, College Station, TX

    Thanks Wolf for this opportunity. A question for all candidates: Obama, Clinton, Edwards.

    If you were elected the democratic nominee, who would you choose as your vice-president for the general election match-up?

    January 11, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. John

    As Black male in America, I am frustrated by the way this presidential race is about to intersect on the issues of race and gender. I think we have two great Democratic candidates in both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. I do not think he is better because he is Black nor do I think she is better because she is a women.

    However, Senior Obama officials and other African American activist such as Michael Eric Dyson have gone to great lengths to ensure that race is brought in as a factor in the race right before South Carolina to ensure that Blacks vote for him. They have accused Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton (People who are friends to the Black community) of making racially insensitive statements that I think have nothing to do with race to try to force Blacks to use racially charged sentiments to vote for Obama.

    Some of his campaign supporters have gone so far as to charge that a person is not Black if they do not vote for Obama. I think there is a problem is when Obama campaign supporters say that a person is not Black if they do not support Obama. They have intrinisically implied that we [Black People] do an insult to our history if we vote for Hillary over Obama.

    I would like to know if this is a sentiment that Mr. Obama shares? If so, does this view go against his platform of Unity? I am also interested in knowing if both Hillary and Barack would run as each other’s vice presidential candidate in order to unite both sides of the party divided by these primaries.

    January 11, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  17. Tomas Gordon

    Please ask Barack Obama to defend his statement on the stump that there are more black males in prison than in college. A fact checker from the Washington Post challenged his campaign to correct the error, but the candidate has apparently refused to do so.

    January 11, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. John

    As a Black Male, I also have questions about Obama’s words regarding Hurricane Katrina. In a NY Times article entitled “A Biracial Candidate Walks His Own Fine Line,” Senator Barack Obama did not attribute the lumbering federal response to the race of most of the storm’s victims. Instead he said that “the incompetence was color-blind,” he said, adding that the real stumbling block was indifference to the problems of the poor.

    Further, after six black teenagers were charged with attempted murder in the beating of a white schoolmate in the “Jena Six” case in Louisiana, he said the criminal justice system needed fixing to ensure equal justice “regardless of race, wealth or circumstances.”

    His response to Katrina -was a slap in the face to all the Black citizens left in New Orleans because of the apparent racism both in federal and local government. Many Blacks believe that the response was racially biased, and we feel Obama’s non-acknowledgement is a travesty. Also, Obama’s response to Jena Six has failed to convey the racial inequities faced by African American more than any other group in America.

    I would like to know why he took this stance on both Katrina and Jena six?

    January 11, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Owolabi Alaba

    Osama Bin Laden says that if Hillary Clinton could cry, he would come out of his hiding and at once come to stand for trial in New York? Please Hillary, do this for the country and the world!!!!!!

    January 11, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Ben Somberg

    This question is primarily for Obama, but could be asked to all candidates:

    Senator Obama, many people seem inspired by your campaign but there is a persistent worry about your perceived lack of experience. One way, perhaps, to compensate for that would be through the advisors with whom you surround yourself. It is unlikely that you would wish to announce a running mate at this time, but could you please give us an idea, through some specific examples, of the types of people you would appoint to your key posts, particularly vice-president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense.

    January 11, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. R. Melanson

    Where are the voices of Kucinich, Gravel and Paul in the debates and the news coverage?

    The media seems to have already decided for us which voices we should hear. Let the other voices be heard.

    Just because the others are not being bankrolled to the tune of an "Obama" or "Clinton" doesn't mean that they don't have something significant to add to this race.

    The issue of the war in Iraq has been lost in the election... or marginalized by the media. Why is that?

    January 11, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Wants to know

    Hi Wolf,

    One question that never gets asked to presidential candidates in any election is why the heck do they want this job? I can't imagine actually wanting to be president and all the terrible responsibility that comes with the position, and the next president is going to have their work cut out for them, both nationally and internationally. So please ask the candidates "Why specifically do you WANT this job? What's in it for you to be president? Is it the power? The control? The money? What makes you want to be president of the United States?"


    January 11, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    There has been a serious lack of accountability from various goverment agencies, such as the State Dept. giving no-bid contracts and immunity to private contractors, to the Dept. of Defense having millions of dollars of weapons gone missing in Iraq, to FEMA's diasterous handling of hurricane victims, the Dept. of Homeland Security not having yet provided port and better border security or even uniform airport security, to getting the oil companies fulfilling their settlements with the EPA. Sadly, the list is endless.

    If elected President, how would they assure better accountability from each of the government agencies and please be specific.

    January 11, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. Kim Cummings

    My question to the candidates is simply this:

    If the election should come out like another 2000 & 2004 (Ohio )fisaco will you pledge to NOT throw in the towel till every vote is counted?
    And on that note -will you pledge to insure that every state has either paper ballots available or a voter receipt for every computerized vote?

    We cannot ignore the ever lingering train wreck which is our voting system and we should all be very very concerned about it.

    thank you.

    January 11, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  25. Chad King

    To Edwards and Obama:

    How do you expect the voters of Michigan to back your campaign AFTER you declined to put your name on the Michigan Primary ballot?

    To All:

    1) It seems as though that middle class America is being phased out, and citizens are becoming REALLY rich, and, more often than not, getting REALLY poor. One way to measure the status of the economy is to gauge the status of middle class America. How can this downward spiral be reversed? What measures SPECIFICALLY will you take to resuscitate the economy and strengthen the dollar?

    2) Our foreign policy leaves much to be desired, as evidenced by the current conflicts in Iraq and the general disdain many in the Middle East have for America. What SPECIFIC changes will you make to (a) improve the international perception of America, (b) reduce or eliminate blowback and other unintended consequences that may affect American interests negatively, and finally, (c) resolve the "Cold War"-like tensions with Iran diplomatically?

    3) The only candidate to give specifics on education reform was Bill Richardson. What are your specific means of reforming the educational system in America?

    4) Do you support reparations to descendants of black slaves in America (this can be in the form of money, bonds, educational grants/free tuition for 4 years)?

    January 11, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117