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. SA

    I would ask all of them what they Specifically intend to do about the current illegal alien situation in the United States as well as how they plan to handle the influx of new illegals entering the U.S.

    Let's play hardball and quit with all the candy coated questions.

    January 11, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  2. Hawk,Texas

    how will you stop the oil giants for gouging on gas prices. and also the obscene intrest rates of credit card companys. and most important fix the veterans health care system.

    January 11, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  3. Dwayne, Pa

    I would like to ask all of the candidates, if you receive the nomination, what would be your criteria for selecting a running mate for the Vice President?

    January 11, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. Kylie

    I am going to pose really questions because everyone is just being snarky.

    Everyday on my way to work, I pass several homeless people, what will you do to move people from homelessness to homes (and include in your answer a solution for those living with mental illness.)

    As part of an economic stimulus package, will you include an essential workers program that emphasizes education. The price of higher education is increasing, and with the lack of professionals in certain industries are going to India, China etc.

    What does it mean to you that America ranks 14 in Science education and the average student could not find a country Sri Lanka.

    What will you do to ensure I as an American will be able to retire when I turn 60.

    January 11, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  5. Terry M, Portland Maine

    Tax cuts for business and for corporations have not worked, we are by most estimates headed for a recession. Business needs customers spending money. Tax cuts for the middle class need to be put in place. The middle class will spend the money on durable goods. The middle class will drive business to produce.

    The Bush tax cuts went to the wrong people.

    The republicans are fond of saying how everyone should be able to start a business and live the American Dream. Well 200 miilion people do have a "family" business and should be taxed accordinly like a business. A business is taxed on Income ( the difference between revenue and expenses ) Individuals are taxed on their revenue. The middle class should have more deductable expenses to run the family business. Commuting expenses to get to work, interest expense on all credit; food, clothing and housing expense ( rent or mortgage payment) and all taxes paid should be deductible; total medical costs and insurance. and yes the top 2 percent shiould pay more in taxes and the cap on social security should be lifted. Everyone should pay into social security. the ceos that get millions in pay, in bonuses and in stock options.

    Health Insurance should be not for profit, Wellpoint executives and share holders should not be making millions while their policy holders are denied coverage. Accountants and acuaririals tables shoud not determine what gets covered and who you can see.

    January 11, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Isaac

    I would ask all the candidates about what they would do to save the people of Darfur, Sudan. The 1994 Rwandan genocide happened in front of former president clinton's eyes; 800,000 people lost their lives. Before that an estimated 1.5-2ml people lost their lives in Southern sudan with no intervention from anyone. What would any of the candidates do to make sure "never again" is not only used as a way to make empty promises without action when there is a need for one. For Senator Clinton, I heard that she tried to persuade the former president to send troops to Rwanda during the genocide, well now that may be your turn if elected, would you send troops to darfur to save lives there?

    January 11, 2008 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  7. Ed

    How about asking some tough ?s for once on Illegal immigration. Ask every Dem these ?s.

    1.Most people see the Dem party as the party of amnesty so does every Illegal have a job? (the answer is no go to any day labor center any day of the week and there are millions of Illegals just standing around).

    2. Since they dont all have jobs why do you want to give them all amnesty (your so called pathway to citizenship? Is it so they can depress the wages of the middle class and the working poor American citizen workers?

    3. If like you claim we are heading toward a recession then why do you want to grant every Illegal amnesty and make American citizen workers compete with them for the jobs that are available?

    4. Why wont any of you stand up for American Citizen workers. You dont even propose that companies prove they cant find American citizen workers 1st do you?

    5. How about 1st getting all the technology in place,border patrol,interior inforcement and tracking system for visas. Then make every company e-varify their workers, then set up a government website by the immigration dept where ALL employers must post their jobs for 5 business days. Then if they dont fill them with American Citizen workers they can apply for temp workers.

    January 11, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  8. Myles

    Due to the extensive decline in soldiers volunteered, would you ever consider reinstating conscription during your term(s) of your presidency?

    January 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  9. John CG

    To Hilary Clinton: What is it that you have done specifically that cleary shows you get work done or most americans? You say this constantly but you don't have any substantive examples. Why should anyone think you could possibly be more productive, influencial, and uniting than Barak Obama? Do you think 55 years of living life with the ultra rich and powerful could possibly connect you with the multi-millions of middle-class americans?

    January 11, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  10. Deborah Johnson

    QUESTION FOR OBAMA: IN THE 2ND 2008 DEMOCRATIC DEBATE YOU WERE ASKED, Senator Obama, you get the first question of the night. It has been nearly six years since 9/11. Since that time, we have not suffered any terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Just yesterday, the FBI arrested three men for a terror plot at JFK Airport. Could it be that the Bush administration's effort to thwart terror at home has been a success?


    But the fact of the matter is is that we live in a more dangerous world, not a less dangerous world, partly as a consequence of this president's actions, primarily because of this war in Iraq, a war that I think should have never been authorized or waged.



    January 11, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  11. Smcnam

    Please ask everyone – I saw a woman on TV who said a woman should not be president because when issues come up it is her husband who can who can handle them because woman just can not. My real surprise was that this was a woman at least 20 years younger then me. I am 59. How can this be in 2008? Why are woman still having to prove we are capable?

    January 11, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  12. George Bell

    To all the candidates. As most of our corn is being made into ethanol our food prices are going out of site, Gas is still over three dollars a gallon please tell me how this is helping me as a consumer.

    January 11, 2008 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. Niels Dahl-Jensen

    Dear Mr. Blitzer, I would like to hear how each of these candidates would spend all the billions of dollars we have spent and are spending on the people and occupation of Iraq if they could have spent or spend the money on the American people.

    January 11, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. Ron Lieberman

    I hope you ask Senator Obama whether he believes that criticism of his record and his positions by Senator Clinton constitute racism.

    I also hope you ask Senator Obama why his campaign co-chair, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., never apologized to Jewish voters for his father's remark in 1984 about New York being "Hymietown",especially when Rep.Jackson stated that Senator Clinton never cried over the victims of Katrina.

    January 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  15. Lumumba Wolde-Gabriel

    Happy New Year to all,

    My question is I am African Canadian follows the election from Toronto, Canada. I am following this because who ever is elected have an impact on my education, border issues and the economy as well. We are a memeber of NATO, G8 and trade partners and yet Washington seems to pay no attention when it comes to lumber issues, why is it the Americans take Canadians for granted? Thank you for this opportunity.

    Lumumba Wolde-Gabriel Ph.D (C)
    Toronto, ON. Canada

    January 11, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  16. Teelee Again

    To Senator Obama and former Senator Edwards,
    I am a longtime registered Democrat (although I have voted Republican before and believe in keeping my options open for the best candidate). The other night I watched the Republican debate in South Carolina and thought it was a great one because it provided the forum and opportunity for the candidates to express their own position on the issues as well as challenge the other candidate's record and position (a la Thompson and Huckabee or Guiliani and McCain). It allowed us voters to compare and contrast. My question is this–How do you maneuver that fine line of having such an exciting, passionate, open and honest debate on the Democratic side with Senator Clinton without receiving the backlash of "two men ganging up on the woman" and giving her the "sympathy vote" or "the all women let us unite against centuries of oppression" rallying cry vote? I am a 49 year old black woman and the only reason I mention my age, color and gender is to let you know that no more than I would vote for Senator Barack because he's black would I vote for Senator Clinton because she is a woman. But I think it was evident over the past couple of weeks that sometimes treating Senator Hillary as a formidable candidate (with all the good and bad that comes with it) rather than the "woman" candidate can result in a serious backlash to each of your candidacies.

    January 11, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. big_puppy


    Please ask Sen. Barack Obama how does his life experience prepared him for the White House and why shouldn’t he be viewed as a candidate who happens to be African American instead of an African American candidate. The same question should be asked of Sen. Hillary Clinton replacing woman in place of African American because she trying to play on the emotional side of women stating they are picking on me, but if you’re in the game you must take the hits. Also ask Hillary of the land dealings she had in her earlier years is this part of the change or would this be smear like questioning Obama on the cocaine usage he wrote in his book.

    Please ask Sen. Clinton what’s the 35 years of experience does she have except being the First Lady of President Clinton and Governor Clinton is this a fairy tale? Yes she is a Senator for roughly 8 years and Sen. Obama for 3 years? What is the big deal; they’re both in the same situation and will need to surround themselves with very talented people like Ronny did.

    January 11, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  18. John Buxcel SD

    If elected would you help the working class, because we need HELP!

    January 11, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  19. Deborah Johnson

    For all Dem's

    what is the one most significant thing you have personally done with your own money not the governments money,to help people who were in great need of help.

    January 11, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. Deborah Johnson

    Question for all democrats

    what is the one most significant thing you have personally done with your personal free time to help a person or group of people in need.

    January 11, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  21. Deborah Johnson

    For DEMS:

    our economy is really bad, we have a huge debt......how would address this as president.

    January 11, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. John Haigh, Arbor Vitae, Wi.

    Wolf- I would appreciate your asking the candidates what actions they would take to reverse the downward spiral of America's indebtedness. Specifically, our dependence on the Chinese for bankrolling our failure to balance our own federal budget.

    January 11, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  23. Lumumba Wolde-Gabriel

    I hope you will take this question for me as well.

    If you pick one topic or item from environment, to education, agriculture or health
    what would you do to help the African nation? Would you pledge today to eradicate and help the havenot?
    Finally, how would you like to be known once you assumed the office and finished your term as President of the United States of America?

    Thanks again.

    Lumumba Wolde-Gabriel Ph.D (C)
    Toronto, Canada.

    January 11, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  24. Jim

    I am writing to ask the candidates who are interested in representing the Democratic and Republican Party nominations whether they would condone local politicians that would “caution” an average citizen, at their place of business, over the personal and private involvement when taking a personal stand and/or making an argument for the welfare of elementary school children?

    Knowing that after 911, all water and waste water treatment plants now have mandated Bio-terrorism plans as part of the Presidential Directives through Homeland Security and the EPA. What would you, as candidates, say to local politicians interested in relocating/building an elementary school adjacent to the 4th largest Waste Water Treatment Plant in the State that would place children in the direct path of a Bio-terrorist target, especially when other options are available? Realizing that this is a State and local issue, it would be interesting to hear a personal perspective and express an honest conviction.

    How are we suppose to repair a broken educational system if our school district leadership is promoting the placement of an elementary school in the direct path of a potential Bioterrorism target as outlined by Homeland Security?

    January 11, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  25. Sal Lejarza

    To all candidates:

    In professional sports, teams must sometimes make a blockbuster deal with one another to improve themselves. For example, are you willing to offer Republicans support of a flat tax program in exchange for their support of a universal health care program by combining both ideas into one legislative bill?

    January 11, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
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