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. Proud to be an American

    Wolf, this is a pet peeve of mine. Here's the background.
    My family came to the US when I was seven years old. Legally. We had a sponsor and a visa. My parents applied for citizenship as soon as the law allowed, which was 5 years. The whole process from applying for an application to being sworn in takes about 1to 1 1/2 years. Depending on the back log. I, on the other hand had to wait to apply until I was 18. You see, just because my parents were citizens and I married a US citizen didn't mean I automatically was granted the same. I didn't apply for citizenship until I was in my mid twenties and my kids were toddlers. The only reason for waiting those 5 years was school, marriage, pregnancy and being busy with 2 small children. But I finally applied and studied until I could recite the answers to the questions in my sleep. I studied during my breaks at work, after the kids were in bed, and whenever I had a free moment. But my point is this...My parents & I learned to speak, write and read English, we learned more about US history than we will probably ever have to know in our lifetime and we were tested in order to receive our citizenship. It was meaningful to us and a celebration. I had to work for it. Now, some want to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants without going through that same process. That is a disgrace!
    My questions to the candidates:

    1. Do you believe in granting citizenship to illegal immigrants, that have broken the law by entering this country illegally, without having to go through the same process as legal immigrants that apply for citizenship?

    2. Would illegal immigrants also be included in the National Healthcare program? (When and if put in place)

    Thank you

    January 11, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Jeff From Chicago

    Why should I care about politics or the political process since nothing substantial ever gets accomplished by whoever gets elected anyway?

    Why are parts of New Orleans still a third world country?

    Why when I walk down any urban city street are there homeless people begging for food in one of the richest countries in the world?

    Why does it cost me $60 dollars to fill up my gas tank every week? Why am I paying for a war about oil when oil is the very thing we all seem to agree is the problem in the first place? Huh?

    Why can't my doctor, the same doctor who's known me for 10 years, write an order for a MRI without me having to make 10 phone calls and wait 4 months to make sure it'll be approved?

    In what text or book does it say that it's America's duty to police the world?

    Why does every candidate give me someone to blame instead of giving me a solution?

    As an American taxpaying citizen, I want results....not more empty promises of change.

    January 11, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  3. Will Fries

    I, like most americans, am curious to the details Senator Clinton's role in her husband's administration.
    As well as how the all the candidates plan to work with thr republicans in congress to get their iniatives passed.

    January 11, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  4. MarkieBee, Sacramento, Calif.

    My question is this Wolf: WHY THE HELL DO YOU GET ANOTHER CHANCE TO MESS UP ANOTHER IMPORTANT DEBATE? After your absolutely embarrassing performance in Las Vegas I'm surprised you weren't suspended. How about this Wolf, if there's no time limit for responses then let the candidates FINISH THEIR SENTENCES! QUIT INTERRUPTING EVERYONE BUT CLINTON!!!

    January 11, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  5. JCIL

    As president, what will you do to promote immigrants learning the English language and producing their loyalty to being an American?

    "Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or to leave the country, English should be the only language taught or used in the public schools." – Theodore Roosevelt

    “We can have no "50-50" allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    January 11, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. JD

    Two energy questions:

    1. Since Congress seems willing to legislate a new fuel economy standard for the future without taking into account laws of physics or public safety, would you, if elected president, use zero-emmissions vehicles for all your domestic government and personal travel? After all, if it's good enough for the public, shouldn't you be setting the example? (I wonder how far an all-electric armored limo will go on one charge – 50 miles?)

    2. In the haste to cap carbon emmissions, do you believe the US has already consumed more than its "fair share" of natural resources? How does your energy policy improve US productivity and standard of living rather than make us all pay more to do less?

    January 11, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. nazirmo

    What would you do as a President in catching Osama and his number 2 man that
    Bush hasn't been able to coming to end of his second and final term ?
    How would you shape your foreign policy ?
    Precisely what would you do to reverse the nation's trillion dollar debt while simultaneously not increasing taxes ?
    And what is the one issue dear to you that you would fulfill in your Presidency ?
    Be precise.

    January 11, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. Wilhemina


    January 11, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  9. Amercian Voter

    Wolf- it is time we ask a few questions of Barack Obama PLEASE !

    1. As Rep. Barney Frank correctly opined recently- the fights of the 90s that Barack Obama derisively has dismissed produced a vibrant economy of 22 Million new jobs, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the elimination of the deficit. Which part of those accomplishments of the last Democratic President do you dis-agree with ?

    2. If change is your mantra and you are dismissive of your party's achievements- why don't you change your registration and run as a Republican ?

    3. Why should the american voter hire a person with a 1/2 page resume of just a few years to be our CEO and the leader of the free world ? Would a company do that based on a candidate's lofty rhetoric in a job interview with no prior achievements to show on the job ? They might hire for potential in an entry level position- NOT for the CEO role !!

    4. As you speak of uniting all of us- we just heard the same from George W.Bush 8 years ago and the results are very different. Why would you be any more successful than W ? Does uniting mean that you would simply capitulate since you have not laid out any core principles.

    January 11, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. Wilhemina


    January 11, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Phillip

    Ask Hillary, Obama, Edwards all together
    How do you plan on having the Federal Government pay for Universal Healthcare? after all the government is broke.
    Second ask each candidate what they were doing on 9/11
    Then ask them what they want to do to get Osama Bin Laden, and what will they do to get him.
    After all we are in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Not only that but please remember that after 9/11 military recruitment jumped! All those volunteers joined to find justice for the victims of 9/11, as well as to hunt down those responsible for the attacks. Yet no one is looking for or hunting Osama Bin Laden which is the whole reason we went to Afghanistan, and part of the excuse for going into Iraq.
    Last question, ask them to DEFINE CHANGE under their administration.
    Please Mr. Blitzer, ask them at least one of my questions!!!

    January 11, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. Eric

    This election cycle has witnessed a notable upsurge in the level of voter participation. I believe this is a very good thing for our country. Are you in favor of making any changes to our current system of voting to increase voter participation over the long term?

    January 11, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Ida Lula

    How will you be able to turn the country around and deal with the deficits, erosion of constitutional rights, and infighting in the houses of the legislature that have become the status quo of this current lame duck administration?

    January 11, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. Russ

    Ask any candidate, "If you become the party's nominee for president, which one of the Republican candidates would you least like to go up against in the general election and why?

    January 11, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. Sara Volk

    How would you change a system that allows CEOs of companies they have run into the ground a "severance package" of 110 million dollars while people are being evicted from their homes?

    January 11, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  16. Kourtney

    Which would you rather have?

    A. Clean air and $20/gallon gasoline
    B. Air pollution and $1/gallon gasoline

    In other words, how much of a price, if any, should the US economy pay just in order to be "green" ?

    Can the US really make a difference when there are massive underground coal fires in China and India that can't be put out? Why should the average American have to fork out more money in the name of carbon emissions caps when these fires are estimated to be putting out the equivalent of the entire US yearly auto emissions? What's the point if other countries are either exempt or don't care?

    January 11, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Steve

    I would like to ask Hillary Clinton why she considers herself the "experienced" candidate, when she has only served 8 years of elected public office, compared to Barack Obama, who has served 11 years of elected public office.

    January 11, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Cristina

    Small Business owners do not have the mega advertising budgets of target, wal-mart and k-mart, etc. Big companies reach people in their cars on bill boards and on t.v.

    Small Businesses benefit from walking traffic. Case in point would be the walking culture in Paris, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Charlotte, Savannah, S.C., Chicago - think of the amount of greatness, intellectual creativity and economy that comes from these areas.

    My question to the candidates is what thought have they given to the poor state of mass-transit in the United States and that the United States has not addressed this on a national level?

    Downtowns all over America are suffering because of parking issues. the #1 killer of teenagers in the United States is the fatal car accident. Our gasoline is chugged primarily by the automobile.

    And our cities' architecture are deplorable. We don't have walking cities and that is making people spend thousands of hours in their cars a year. On top of that, you think about college kids buying $30,000 cars and then taking out loans and the percentage of those students that default on them...

    i'm not sure what's going on here and if a presidential candidate is willing to talk about this.

    Wolfe, I'd like you to ask the candidates their plan for public transportation development in this country.

    January 11, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  19. Dolshay

    Have you ever served on the board of any US or foreign company and do you believe that having corporate experience is necessary to govern the United States?

    January 11, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. Kerry Prichett

    This is a question for Senator Clinton.

    I am reading Carl Bernstein's book "A Woman in Charge," According to accounts by previous administration officials – it was Bill Clinton that was the pragmatist in the Whitehouse. He was the one that insisted on working with the deficit hawks on his economic team to first focus on bringing the budget back into balance – apparently against your desire to immediately pursue making investments in healthcare and education that was promised to the voters. Members of his economic team had concerns that if they had taken your advice the economy would have been completely derailed.
    My question is....given that whoever wins the Whitehouse is again going to inherit even greater deficits and economic challenges – what are the lessons you learned from that experience and what is your plan to put our country back onto a path of fiscal responsibility and healthy economic growth?
    Thank you,
    Kerry Prichett

    January 11, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  21. Anthony

    I think it is fair, all be it not a nice, to ask Hillary Clinton this question: Mrs. Clinton, how can you say you are for the regular people of the United States when you were on the board of Walmart for nearly 10 years. This is a company that has been plagued with human rights issues. How do you explain this?

    January 11, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  22. Jim W

    I would ask the Democratic candidates, if change in Washingtoin is such a major theme in their election bid, would each cabndidate make the promise not to use the presidential Line Item Veto if they were to win next year's election. Talk of change is cheap, while letting the voters know up front what specific areas they would bring such change (compared to our current fascist regime) is the real substance. If they do not then all of this is simply more of the same, tired old campaign rhetoric

    January 11, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. kate

    I am a Social worker who processes applications for Medical assistance, Food Stamps and Cash.
    I am over worked and am employed by a state whose employees are always 49nth or 50th in the Nation.
    I see desparate people of all races everyday who are on fixed incomes or no incomes and cannot pay their bills and have no safety net except for what I can offer them.
    These programs are under funded and being stetched even further to the breaking point by the illegals who come here and have children here.
    How can we fund these programs to keep them available?
    When will the rich start paying their fair share?

    January 11, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Sandy

    I would really like to know how the candidates are going to insure that my daughter will be able to afford health insurance once she becomes an adult....my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 7....type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and very different from type 2 diabetes......it a very serious, chronic but managable disease that requires the regular administration of insulin, frequent blood glucose checks, a reasonable diet and exercise.....it will make her uninsurable....as self employed persons with individual health insurance policies my husband and I can not even move to another state...the rules are different for individual policies....so what about portability as well.....the health care system in this country is a disgrace....profit should be taken out of the equation when a person's life is at stake....

    January 11, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. Jo

    What are they doing to make sure this is a fair election? Will they ask for recounts? There are already accusations that cheating has occurred.

    Where are they going to get the money to fund ALL OF THE PROJECTS in their platforms?

    Would they be willing to take a Monetary Policy Class conducted by Ron Paul? He appears to be the only one who has a clue about why our economy is in such a flux.

    Will they STOP spending so much money overseas, and start putting that money to work in America?

    I have so many more, but that's enough for now. There is so much that both parties are NOT talking about, and they're showing they're out of touch with the people. I find that amazing being this country has so many problems.

    January 11, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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