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. Lee

    I see here that a lot of people want to know about Hillary's 35 years of experience...I too want to know if she is including being Bill's wife while he was President and Governor. She claims to have so much more experience than everyone else so we would like to exactly what that is. And why did she jump on the change wagon.

    For Barack, I want to know what he thinks about the self hate that us Blacks show...it's like we want to support him, but we want him to be even more perfect than all of the other candidates and if he has any comments on the fact that blacks that want to support him have to have everyone else's approval first.

    January 11, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. Alison

    Also an added thought, Barack Obama would get great experience and trust from the american public hold a VP position or gaining experience through a higher held office. These duties would prove that he would be up to par and ready for the challenge of making change actually happen. Hillary has seen and been a part of change first hand. I have talked to many people and Clintons years were the best years Economically, and peace wise with other countries. This hold true for both people who supported him and people who did not, most people could not argue that he did a decent job. Hillary doesnt also have that on her side, Bill Clinton made good decisons for the country and continues to be a humanitarian. How is it that recently has been Bush's first visit to Isreal, one of the most turmoiled and imfamous bloodshed capitals of the world, and what about the genoside in Darfur, are we too good for them too?

    HILLARY'S EMOTIONS/ CRYING-–Ask all canidates on the spot to comment on it, because what someone would say about that has alot to do with how they are as a person, my exact feeling is....

    " Emotion is something every human should have, and if lacks, we should be concerned. She is a human not a machine or robot. That moment was blown way out of proportion. The leader of this great country should have compassion and emotion, because without it how can we trust them, Mr. Bush seems to have no emotion about what he lets go on everyday, maybe that is why there are so many lives at his expense. You would think he would show some emotion or remorse for the unneccisary deaths he continues to cause, who wouldnt get emotuional about the current state of this country, gosh its near falling apart! The Economy, young soldiers, Children, Elderly people--What have we become?" – Alison CT

    Since when is emotion a bad thing, to beable to sense something, to beable to feel the passion or feel the pain of our fellow citizens???

    January 11, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. Brady

    I would like you to ask the candidates about campaign finance reform, a long dormant issue. What do the candidates plan to push for in reform, if at all. Ultimately only the very wealthy run for the presidency, how would they level the playing field?

    January 11, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Bob

    Do you consider Robin Hood (the guy who stole from the rich and gave to the poor) a hero or a villain? How have your past policies and votes backed that up?

    January 11, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |

    I would ask any of the candidates whether they have read Madeleine Albright's book, "MEMO TO THE PRESIDENT ELECT"--and what do they think about her advice in general?

    (Excellent read, people!! ........no matter WHO you're for!!).

    January 11, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. Anna

    Do you favor additioinal campaign finance reform, including public or federal financing or any other measure that would level the playing field in presidential elections?

    January 11, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Ron, FL

    Sen. Clinton,

    I am finding the state of our nation in much the same shape as it was when President Bill Clinton took over in 1992, actually worse. How do you intend to turn the economy around and restore our overburdened middle class. Also, please describe the differences between your healthcare plan and Sen. Obama's and why you feel your plan is better.

    Thank You....

    January 11, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  8. Frank

    To all, what do you plan to do about the war in IRAQ?

    January 11, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  9. Danny

    I would like to se the following question:

    Which candidates support Instant Runoff Voting (IRV?)

    January 11, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  10. Gayle

    After reading all the comments submitted to you, I have three issues.

    1. Obama's campaign slogan of "change" scares me to death. This is the same slogan Geo. W. used. In hindsight, we know he used it because he had no idea what was going on and no clue to specific issues or how to handle them. He surrounded himself with greedy, self-serving associates and we got "change alright". After eight good years of the Clinton presidency, the changes were less than positive. What a mess we are in. Whatever questions you decide to ask of Obama, please make them tough and specific.

    2. Hillary's experience of 35 years is of question. Being married 40 years to the same good man, let me tell you that I know just about as much about his work as he does. And as far as the "tears" are concerned: why is it noble for a man to tear up but it is weak for a female to tear up? I hope if she is elected president, that she does rely on her husband for help. What is more fundamental than wives and husbands working difficult times out together. He is loved around the world, has a wealth of experience and highly intelligent. Why should she not use this vast asset?

    3. I am amazed at how many emails were sent with such poor grammer and spelling. Education must be a much greater issue than I ever thought. Ask questions about how American's can get basic education, Maybe the errors were made because email is a far less formal style of communication or just plain typos. Whatever happened to proof reading?

    Wolf, I have voted in every election since I was 18 years old and I am now 60. Our generation is taking care of our adult children and our aging parents. I take my voting very seriously. You are the professional. Do your job! (Sure hope there are no misspelled words or grammer problems with this email or I will get blasted.)


    January 11, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  11. John Demmler

    With the recent news that the United States government may lose its AAA bond rating , what would each candidate do, specifically, to address the long term issues with Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, the national debt and deficit, rising war/military expenses.

    January 11, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  12. Phiriyaphong

    I would like to ask all candidates.

    Would your foreign policy, which claims to serve the best interest of the American public, and global security, come with a cost of innocent lives, like Rwandan lives?

    The 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which claimed over million lives of unarmed Rwandans, can happened in such a widespread and unprecedented level partly due to the lack of American's leadership to STOP the problem BEFORE it occurred. Would your administration once again, as in the previous democratic President, allow such issue to happen even though pose no threat to U.S. national interest?

    January 11, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  13. Michael

    To Senator Obama,

    The issue of religion is seemingly being ignored in the primary season but will be center once a nominee is known and ready to face the Republican candidate. As most have now believed, Senator Obama has a muslim background, his father was called Hussein, his grand mother according to a Kenyan documentary I saw recently on CNN is called Sarah (also a muslim name) – today, Americans know the Senator as Barack (muslim name as well). The senator has often times defended himself that he is Christian and not muslim. In African tradition, children all the time inherit both their father's tribe and religion. Therefore by not changing the name; Barack to let's say Bernard or John, the Senator remains to be seen as a muslim just as his father was. History in the US is very clear, a muslim will have less chances leading the country and I am afraid Senator Obama if nominated may have a hard time challenging the Republican campaign machine ready to castigate his religion and of course the other negatives at play. Therefore, is Senator Obama willing to tell the nation that he is not muslim and his christian name is .......? He needs to erase the name Barack because it's more muslim than Christian. I wish all the candidates safe landing in SC.

    January 11, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  14. Lawrence Minneapolis

    Question for Hillary:

    1. If you get nomination for the Democratic Parties President, will you chose one of your co-presidential nominee as a vice president?

    2. If you get voted president, will your cabinet compose of Democratice, Republican and Independent? Will you include Al Gore as well?

    3. How will impose major tarrif to China's Import if they dont change there currency monopoly? Will you support Made in USA products by giving less tax?

    January 11, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  15. S.Carolina

    Hillary, explain thouroughly you plans on imigration? Eplain your comment stating that "no man or woman is illegal"? Explain your 35 years of experience. Eplain what changes you already made during those 35 years and what changes you plan to bring to the white house (exclude the fact that you are woman).

    January 11, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. hugh Maguire

    Illegal immigration, what would the candidates do about illegal aliens working in the U.S.?

    January 11, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Steve, Texas

    Mia, Stafford, VA: "Wolf, thank you for soliciting our thoughts. I have lots of questions, but only one request, please let this debate stick to POLICY, not "diamonds and pearls," "who likes who," "religion," and "gays.""

    Right on! Make that "details" of Policy!

    January 11, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  18. Tom Davie


    8 years in the whitehouse as first lady darn well DO count. Picture yourself being there every day and hearing all this crap. 8 years. Your spouse dealing with it day in and day out.

    Obama was in the Illinois legislature, but was also teaching law, writing a book and whatnot. Not to take that experience away, but in all fairness it was at a state level and it wasnt full time.

    He is a junior first term senator. Even the majority senate leader says he took on a few bills , akin to a starter kit , but with so many senior senators there for decades, he didnt get to initiate nor lobby for any major initiatives.

    Obama hasnt even taken on the roll as a senior senator making any major decisions, yet you want to elect the guy PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE COUNRTY?

    The guy wont have a CLUE how to bring a bipartisanship with hardend old school republicans who DONT want to do what he wants.

    Obama has never run a city, or state or a business for that matter. Yet you FOOLS want to elect him PRESIDENT OF THE WHOLE COUNTRY ?

    You obama supporters obviously THINK nothing is required . Anyone who worked at McDonalds can be president if he is a good public speaker and has Oprah behind him.

    Anyways. Since the Economy is in the toilet, its not about the HYPE OF HOPE . Its not about the youth vote anymore.

    Its about hard cold reality, and someone who can lead or nation back to economic sanity.

    January 11, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  19. Kathie, FL


    This question is for Sen. Obama…..

    You have continued to try and connect experience with bad connotations of the "status quo". So, with very little experience in Washington yourself, would you not need to surround yourself with many more Washington insiders to advise you in getting your job done, than someone with experience would require?

    The reason I ask this question is: As a business owner, I would never hire someone who had absolutely no experience, especially if they thought they knew more about the job at hand, than an experienced person does? I would expect this person to have a very specific explanation/plan of how they intended to accomplish the job. "Change" with no plan is not a resume, it is a slogan.

    "Change" congers up a different meaning for each person who thinks about it. What are the meanings of "change" to you, and how specifically do you intend to accomplish them?

    January 11, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  20. John Demmler

    What shouldn't the US set a goal to be energy independent in 20 years? Wouldn't this do more for National Security than anything else?

    January 11, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  21. Manoj Raghuraman

    Sen. Edwards: In his healthcare plan he mandates health care coverage (so does Hillary Clinton), while this is commendable it is well known that those who do not have coverage now, do not have coverage because they cannot afford it and not because they choose not to. His plan details making healthcare affordable for this demographic. How will health care become affordable when the same market dynamics and insurance companies are in play? He has put his experience taking on these very same corporate behemoths as a central theme of his campaign. There appears to be a conflict between his campaign message and how his health care plan is implemented.

    Sen. Clinton: Recently there has been coverage in the media that Sen. Clinton plans to propose a $70 billion economic stimulus package that includes emergency housing and heating assistance as part of a much broader package. Where is she going to get that kind of money? Given that we are heading into a recession if not already in one, isn't it wiser to spend such huge amounts of money in fixing the causes of the economic failure as opposed fixing the symptoms? Is this not vote bank politics? How is her plan going to fix the ailing American economy? Printing $70 billion dollars will only further crash the dollar and increase inflation which has already reached record levels.

    Sen. Obama: Since the 1980's the income tax liability for the wealthiest 10% of the country has dropped to abysmal levels. Is he prepared to commit to increase the income tax liability of this demographic? In the 1990's the United states was a net creditor nation and now it is the largest debtor nation the world has known. How does he plan to change this?

    January 11, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  22. Anna

    Across the board in this campaign, for both Republicans and Democrats, the media has not treated all candidates fairly and many times seems to be annointing one candidate over the other. Everyone seems to recognize this fact, except the media. For future presidential elections, how do you feel about a new or revamped Fairness Doctrine and/or Equal Time Doctrine?

    January 11, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. Robert Dean Banta

    I have a suspicion that both parties would like Hillary to be the Democratic candidate, as she will, no doubt, polarize the nation into a contest of the Red and the Blues. My question is, "Would Senator Obama consider running on an Independant ticket if he is not given the nomination?"

    My follow-up question is this: "Would Senator Obama, with or without the Democratic Party's nomination, consider a Republican running mate?"


    Robert Dean Banta

    January 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  24. alea

    why does our country give other countries billons of dollars for what they need yet does not help our poor,homeless and sick here in the u.s.a?why is it that our goverment will not invest billons of dollars in america and the thousands of americans that need it?

    January 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  25. Michael

    To all,

    Since experience and change are the issues at hand – when will the other issues be debated? I surely believe that to exercise right political decisions one must or near have executive experience at the presidential level – We do not want the current government inexperience in foreign policy and change Washington slogans like we were told in 2000 to come in play again... So Let America face it, experience, I think can ruin over change – Do you agree?

    January 11, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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