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. susan

    Please ask what they plan to do to help prevent loss of American jobs through offshoring. This is a situation affecting more and more Americans.

    To Clinton: What is the true story about your alleged connections with people from India that may have helped lead to offshoring of American jobs to that country?

    General comment: No diamond or pearls type questions, and please do not give some candidates more time to answer than others.

    January 12, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  2. Brandon Boswell

    Wolf, I consider myself a conservative, and have been greatly disappointed in our nation's wasteful spending. President Bill Clinton stated that he wanted to "...end welfare as we know it." Do the candidates believe that more welfare reform is needed in America? And if so, as president, how does each candidate plan to reform welfare here in America? I appreciate you and CNN allowing for the people of this country to take part in these presidential debates.

    January 12, 2008 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  3. Anthony

    Mrs. Clinton,

    How can you as a White woman, know more about being Black in America than Obama? How can you help Black people with their problems when you do not understand them?

    January 12, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  4. Eyzwidopn

    Will all of the candidates agree to a "pay as you go" policy and will they specify what they will have to cut in order to enact these big budget items:

    1) Healthcare reform

    2) Energy reform

    3) Increase in military spending (e.g., troop size)

    4) Education reform

    5) Any economic stimulus package they're proposing

    January 12, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  5. Bastien Beauchamp (NYC)

    I'm glad and find it inspiring that a black and a woman are in tight race to lead the Democratic party that has great chances to give us the new president of the United States. But I'm still waiting to see this "change" translated into action.

    A question for Hilary: Proud to be a woman that would break sexist stereotypes apart, why does she had to rely on her husband under numerous times her campaign went into trouble?

    A question for Obama: Because he's black, he calls for the "American Dream". Why does he stays silent then when his tight to the black community – the country of Kenya – is going through the major civil and violent crisis that we have seen over the last weeks?

    January 12, 2008 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  6. Joaquin

    regarding immigration reform: what would you do with the children, both young and teenagers, etc, of undocumented individuals, whom where born here in USA, and have never visited their parents countries?

    January 12, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  7. Marsha

    For all of the candidates:

    It is important with today's global challenges that the next President has a close-up and in-person view of the world and foreign policy matters. Our current President had a lack of foreign policy experience and had only traveled to Mexico prior to his inauguration; the country is now paying a high price for his limited view of other countries. In that regard, what countries have you traveled to and how many times?

    January 12, 2008 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  8. Michael


    As many people know that when we won the first waves of battle in Iraq, the Iranian government actual proposed to help the U.S. and UK to rebuild Iraq. But all of a sudden the Bush administration turned on Iran, and used the nuclear power plant as a method to justify a possible invasion of Iran. What I want to know from the candidates are any of them going to try to fix the relationship with Iran and will any of them maybe sign a joint agreement with Iran to jointly rebuild Iraq like it was supposed to happen during the Bush administration? (a.k.a like something similar to what we did in Japan after World War 2)

    January 12, 2008 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  9. kona deb

    Please ask Hillary Clinton to:


    1. Did Chelsey Clinton play an active role in H Clinton's New Hampshire campaign. If so, how

    2. Does H Clinton think that it's fair for her to use her husband's presidential status to get the Democratic party nomination. If so, how


    3. What legislation will H Clinton pass to abolish the "glass ceiling" for all women
    If so, describe its content


    3. Does H Clinton think that her years of experience as a "first lady" are comparablly responsible to her more recent elected position in the US Senate
    If so, describe responsibilities of each


    4. Is there a reason H Clinton moved to NY State, rather than returning either Arkansas (B Clinton's origin) or Illinois (H Clinton's state of origin)

    January 12, 2008 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  10. Sigesigesputnikoxo

    You Dems want a democrat at the White House??? Then vote for Hillary. Why do you think Karl Rove advices Obama on how to beat Hillary at the primary. Just read how these Republicans write veiled comments to Hillary. They portray her as the most hated person in the world. Every time Hillary gets beaten at the polls FOX newscasters beam with big smiles on their faces. The Republicans will have a hard time beating Hillary on the ballots. They know that if Obama wins the primary they will have a easy time beating this guy. They already have a plan for Obama. No experience, all talk, yes, did not vote for the war in Irag because he was not in the senate yet !!! Obama is toast for the republicans. Obama is just a short fad,.Young people vote for him because they think it is cool and hip to vote for this guy. The elite thinks that a fresh face will change how Washington works. So in the end, the Republicans will again run the white house and George Bush legacy continues. Real smart Democrats. Real smart. Please think.

    January 12, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  11. Kesete

    To Hillary.
    I would point to the fact that that Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do. The president before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became real in peoples' lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished." Hillary when asked by a Fox reporter

    Hillary are you saying that You Blacks Better Thank The White Man For Your Rights! Not for the person who dreamed and paid his life for that dream to come through. By the way who asked you to compare that was not part of the question.
    And do you think it is right to undermine some bodies hero just to make your point.

    January 12, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  12. Nuke

    For Obama, can you explain this article?
    Residents in various neighborhoods surrounding not-for-profit West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park Illinois, received a glossy postcard mailing over the weekend from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) that questions the quality of care at this not-for-profit hospital that is a member of not-for-profit Resurrection Health Care, Illinois' largest not-for-profit Catholic healthcare system.

    The mailing highlights 7 cites from a 2006 public health inspection report, examples that are supposed to give the reader pause about going to one of this systems eight hospitals.

    It concludes by saying that "of the ten hospitals with the highest price markup in Illinois, three were Resurrection owned".

    No surprise here, as here is what I wrote in March of this year.

    "Last Saturday Senator Barack Obama spoke to a rally organized by the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) of 1500 union activists in Chicago.

    "Here's part of what the Chicago Tribune wrote about his appearance.

    "As part of the event, the local union received a check from its national parent for $1 million to aid an ongoing labor-organizing effort involving Chicago-area hospital operator Resurrection Health Care. AFSCME President Gerald McEntee, who was joined on stage by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, delivered the check for what is the largest private-sector union drive in the nation."

    According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services not-for-profit West Suburban Medical Center has a cost to charge ratio of .3273 which means for every $327.30 in actual costs, they charge $1000.

    The University of Chicago Hospitals has a cost to charge ratio of .2795.

    That means for every $279.50 in actual costs they also charge $1000.

    Not-for-profit The University of Chicago Hospitals is a bigger price gouger than not-for-profit West Suburban and makes a much bigger profit than Resurrection Health Care, but it has not been targeted by this Union.

    Did we mention that Michelle Obama (Barack's wife) is a highly paid executive at The University of Chicago Hospitals, and that this past weekend that the state union AFSCME endorsed her husband for President?

    January 12, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  13. Tom

    To All:

    Do Democrats think they have to support amnesty for illegal immigrants when the majority of Americans DON'T want that? It seems they are forsaking Americans for non-citizens just to gain votes. Aren't they concerned about losing votes for supporting the illegals already here?

    January 12, 2008 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  14. Joey

    For Hillary Clinton

    While Hillary teared up she stated, "I have so many opportunities for this country, I just don't want us to fall backwards." What qualities does she have that other candidates don't other than experience?

    P.S. Please select OpEdna question, which is a great question. Thanks Wolf

    January 12, 2008 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  15. Will

    Hypothetical Situation: Please Ask this...

    This question is not factoring in the possible geo-political situation at the time. Nonetheless, you are the President of the United States and it has been a tumultuous 3 years since the election and the United States is beginning to shine again. The country has had to go through a lot of changes. Some industries have taken major hits because of this process and It was a hard fought situation but because of your clear vision, planning to bring about that vision, and ability to rally individuals to our cause the following things have occurred: educational systems has been enhanced to ensure students are inspired to learn not only advance science but in art and music. The Health Care system has been revamped to ensure the maximum amount of health care coverage to every citizen without sacrificing quality for cost. Planes, cars, trucks and homes are beginning to no longer be dependent upon gas but alternate methods for power generation and heat thus saving the American people billions of dollars that once poured into the gas and oil industry. Social Service Programs have been revised to ensure some form of retirement benefits will be available for everyone. Immigration reform has secured our borders but not isolate America from its neighbors. Additionally, the United States Economy has begun to come out of a recession and we are slowly beginning to pay off debts with a little revenue to spare. With this new income, where would you invest the tax payer’s money to ensure America Continues to grow, develop and prosper because we care not to repeat the mistakes that marked our first decade of the 21st century? Why would you invest in that area? What benefits would the American people derive from this investment? The only catch is your response can not contain the standard Education, Health Care, or Social Services answer. Just want to see if the candidates can be forward thinkers…

    January 12, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  16. Jonas

    You are seeking to be commander in chief. Why did you not serve in the military?

    January 12, 2008 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  17. Stacy

    This is a question for all the candidates:
    You will be debating in a state that ranks 9th in the nation for AIDS cases. The capital of South Carolina, Columbia, has ranked as high as 4th in the nation in AIDS case rates. African-Americans make up about 30% of the population in this state, but about 70% of new HIV infections, and the rates among young people and people of color are soaring. In a time where most of the governmental focus on HIV/AIDS has been global and so much attention paid to HIV/AIDS in Africa and Asia, what would you do as President to reduce the spread of HIV at home?

    I ask this question as someone who works in the field, and as someone who has seen firsthand the ravages of this disease among my family and friends. I also ask as a concerned citizen who has barely seen any mention of this topic in stump speeches and previous debates. Barack Obama’s healthcare plan briefly references the global AIDS epidemic. Four years ago, John Edwards admitted he had little knowledge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 2004 vice-presidential debate. HIV infection is a topic that carries a lot of financial, socioeconomic, and moral weight in this country, and I believe the next President should be prepared to handle this very complex issue.

    January 12, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  18. Scott, California

    Any American who has ever applied for a job knows that you have to make your resume, work product, and references available to your potential employer. Were you to say in response to a potential employer, "sorry, you'll just have to take my word on all my accomplishments," you'd never get the job.

    One of Senator Clinton's foundational claims is her experience in the White House. Yet, she refuses to release her records. Could you please press her on this topic? And an answer of "I'll have to check with Bill" is not an answer.

    Please ask Senator Obama the same question about his Illinois Legislature days.


    January 12, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  19. Will

    Hypothetical Situation...

    The year is 2016 and you have served two terms of office and about to step down as President of the United States. What is the state of the union in 2016 and how did you get us there?

    January 12, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  20. Charlie

    To all the candidates:

    It is clearly obvious that the next president will have to deal with many issues regarding energy conservation and global warming. Many of you have outlined plans to reduce carbon emissions and begin to use biofuels like ethanol. However, this will not solve all our problems and could take a while to implement. We need to effect change immediately, and can take simple steps to do so with the technology we already have. What would you do to promote public transportation, carpooling, and lower emission/smaller cars if you were president? Besides helping the environment and our dependance on foreign oil immensely, these would reduce traffic and congestion on the crowded roadways.

    Thank you,
    Charlie D.

    January 12, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  21. Jose Garza

    What do they think about the fair tax?

    It puts everyone on a level playing feel, and it is appealing to me as an aspiring business owner and investor.

    January 12, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  22. Sigesigesputnikoxo

    I am a democrat and I will vote for McCain instead of Obama. Because McCain has the experience. USA is facing tough times and it needs tough decisions. You want to go to the specialist who has years of experience to treat your disease, you want to get the experience lawyer to handle your case, the experience mechanic to fix your car, or the experience carpenter or plumber to handle your house. Then how come you are voting for the fresh face?? Obama promises that he will change Washington. That he will unite the opposite parties. You know this will never happen. Unless mankind changes it's instinct and natural thinking. It's like asking nature to change its ways.
    If Obama wins at the primary it's McCain for me at the ballot.

    January 12, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  23. John

    Some of the candidates have promised to fix soaring gas prices. How?
    Also, why do they support ethanol subsidies when these promote higher food prices, increased pesticide and fertilizer use, and deforestation. Ethanol isn't much cleaner than gas (much energy to produce) and results in worse mileage. Why not switchgrass instead?

    January 12, 2008 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  24. Eyzwidopn

    What steps will you immediately take in your first days in office to ensure that a sufficient international peace-keeping force is stationed in Iraq in order to off-set your phased withdrawal of U.S. troops so that the safety and security of the Iraqi people is ensured, should an increase in violence occur during the phased withdrawal?

    January 12, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  25. Pamela Robinson

    Senator Obama,

    I am an African-American female Captain in the Army National Guard. I WILL NOT be supporting you. I am supporting Senator Clinton. However, my mind can still be changed.

    My question to you is this:

    Why does it seem that you excessively pandering to the whites in this country and haven't come close to addressing important issues that affect African -American and Latino communities?

    January 12, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
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