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. Will

    As a politician, was there anything you learned from Katrina; anything from the political, economic, or physical conditions that led to the human tragedy. Besides government at all levels must be able to provide necessary and basic services to the people immediately following a disaster.

    January 12, 2008 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  2. Will

    What country would you like to visit first as the American President? Why?

    January 12, 2008 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  3. Fred

    Hello Mr. Blitzer,

    We heard from the Republican side during the 2004 election and will probably hear during this election a lot of talk about moral values. However, some of the factual events that happened before and after the Iraq invasion seem to contradict the claims about these "high" moral or ethical values. Here are some facts that explain what was meant in the previous sentence:
    Claims Made:
    (1) Between 2002 till the invasion, there were repeated claims, almost on a daily basis, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that they should disarm or we (the Americans) will disarm them. Did we forget the cliché "Saddam should disarm".
    (2) After the failure to find WMD in Iraq, the whole focus changed into describing what is mainly happening now in Iraq as a fight against Al Qaida terrorist group. This claim may implicitly imply that this was one of the reasons to start the war.
    Facts that rebuff these claims:
    (i) Weapons of mass destruction were not found.
    (ii) There was no proof that Iraq under Saddam was helping the Qaida. There is some evidence or reports that a terror group, called Ansar El Islam, which was associated with Qaida, existed in Northern Iraq, but the area was under the control of the Kurds and not Saddam. Some Western powers at the time were protecting the Kurds from Saddam.
    (iii) After the invasion, there was an influx of the so called "foreign fighters" into Iraq. Who was responsible about this influx? Did the occupation share a responsibility, taking into account their control of the country?

    Here is my questions: Why do not the Democratic candidates seize this opportunity and take the high moral ground in rebuffing the claims made to start and continue this war? With the exception of Mr. Kucinich, none of the main candidates seems to notice this point.

    January 12, 2008 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  4. sharon

    Please ask Hillary why she feels she needs to resort to negative campaigning to defeat Obama. Why did she say before the Iowa caucus that now it was going to be fun? Does she think the mailer that she sent out in NH that lied about Obama's pro-choice record helped to influence women to vote for her? Why does she not think her own record is strong enough to run on without resorting to lies and mistruths about her opponent? And please give Obama a chance to explain his 'present' votes and that Planned Parenthood is 100% behind him. It's important that he has a chance to correct the dirt that Hillary throws around.

    January 12, 2008 04:46 am at 4:46 am |
  5. Aaron H.

    To Mr. Obama: My Aunt in Wichita, KS recently emailed me a fwd that i've now seen more than once informing the public that you belong to Trinity United Church, a "black only" church that has a "non-negotiable commitment to Africa." The email says that you were once a Muslim, it calls you a racist who is totally vested in Black-Africa, and states that you are "possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith." The email says it's "scary" that you are even a serious candidate.

    i've read both your books, and listened to the audio-books twice each, i'm a huge supporter. i've never been so inspired or hopeful, i'm a grown man and you are my first hero, and the lies, implications, and ignorance in those emails are frustrating at best.

    i don't know if i was more disturbed by the email, or by the fact that it was my own Aunt who sent it to me as if she thought it would revolutionize my perspective and i would convert to a less black, muslim, racist(against whites) candidate.

    just thought i'd share,


    January 12, 2008 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  6. Will

    What would be your timetable to try and continue to reduce our debts to other nations and by how much?

    January 12, 2008 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  7. Michael Lederer

    Wolf, I would ask all three, Obama, Hillary and Edwards, the following:

    "One voter believes that at the end of this process, two of you on the same ticket could offer the Democrats the strongest chance of reclaiming the White House. I know you each hold strongly to the belief that you will be the eventual nominee. But for the sake of party unity, are you prepared now to say that if one of the other two should become the nominee you will support him or her? And if that happens, and if you are asked to do so, would you at least consider running on the ticket as the vice-presidential candidate?"

    January 12, 2008 04:54 am at 4:54 am |
  8. Will

    Do you believe in God and will you use him and his wisdom to assist in times of difficult decisions?

    January 12, 2008 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  9. Torrey

    Thanks Wolf! Happy B-Day Martin Luther King, Jr!

    Sen Clinton, The First G. Bush was apart of the white house for 12 years, your husband was in office for another 8 years, and now "the son" has been President these past 8 years. If you add that Up, thats 28 years. The American People do not need 32, possibly 36 years of no change. You Say you have made Changes for 30 some odd years to this Country, IF THAT WAS FACT, We would not be in that state we are currently IN!

    Question to B. Obama, I am an independent, and am currently looking to yourself, and Sen, McCane as a possible vote in November, Im 23 and have never voted, In the Military (USMC) You have grabed my attention...here is my question, The Military was posted to get a 3.5% increase in pay, but this was slowed down during the Holidays, and Pres. Bush did not sign the Bill. (Something I think the press should focus on, but thats IMO, we got the approved 3.0% raise) What can you do to speed the process of monutary bills for the men and women in service?

    January 12, 2008 05:07 am at 5:07 am |
  10. Jing

    Would you ask Hillary under her new economic stimulus plan, she plans to spend billions of dollars to bail out the mortgage crisis for people who spent too much trading-up their homes, do she think it is fair to people who display intelligence and restraint in spending to pay the taxes for it? If not how she plan to pay for those spendings?

    January 12, 2008 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  11. Joyce Allen

    I would ask each candidate if they believe that racism towards minorities in the past, has an affect on their social beliefs today.

    January 12, 2008 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  12. Paul

    Question for Barack Obama

    Since a lot of folks are asking about your experience, how would you describe a hypothetical typical day at the White House if you were elected.

    January 12, 2008 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  13. dre

    I'd like you to ask the candidates for their records of legislation for healthcare reform.

    January 12, 2008 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  14. Ross Lippincott; Davenport Iowa.

    How much of what you say you want to do, do you realistically believe you'll be able to accomplish by the end of your first term?

    And wolf please keep this jerks questions out of this.
    He's using up valuable space. Al in Wpg

    January 12, 2008 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  15. Karl Junkin

    To CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer,

    Question for the Democratic Presidential Debate on Monday, January 21, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina,

    For Senator Hillary Clinton:

    Experience has been a key theme in the Clinton campaign and has constantly been critical of Senator Barack Obama's experience, claiming it to be proof that Senator Barack Obama is not capable of handling the job of President of the United States of America. However, Senator Barack Obama in 2008 has a lot in common with 1992 then-Govenor Bill Clinton. With respect to the year they run for the White House, Senator Barack Obama is one year older than then-Govenor Bill Clinton. Both have 11-12 years of political experience before their respective general elections. Both made their first nation-wide introduction to the American public at the Democratic National Convention 4 years before they would run as candidates for the nomination themselves. The Presidency of Bill Clinton is generally considered a success, having left office with a 65% approval rating, and former President Bill Clinton can be quoted referring to Senator Barack Obama as "a person of enormous talent" in an interview with Charlie Rose last month. Why does Senator Hillary Clinton believe and insist that a lack of experience will prevent Senator Barack Obama from being able to do the job well, if a lack of experience did not prevent former President Bill Clinton from being able to do the job well?

    Thank you,
    Karl Junkin

    January 12, 2008 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  16. william wachtel

    Please explain what "your comment is awaiting moderation" means?

    January 12, 2008 5:44 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Dear Wolf,

    I am the Chairman of the Drum Major Institute which was started by MLK Jr and my father in 1961 and I am writing in response to your hopefully sincere request for input in respect of the upcoming debate which you appropriately acknowledge as coinciding with the King Holiday. I say hopefully sincere because my efforts to date to communicate with your network have been to no avail notwithstanding the fact that I have written on behalf of my childhood friend MLK III. But as Dr. King taught me, the day you give up trying is the day you start dying.

    The request I made of CNN is that they allow the following questions to be asked at the debate and ideally that they invite MLK III to pose the questions. Here are the questions:

    1. My father gave his life so that poor people of which minorities are a preponderance would have their human dignity restored. In seeking to end poverty in America he truly believed that he was serving all society as he knew in his heart that the rich can't get richer if the poor are getting poorer. Forty years later, the divide between the rich and poor in America has become a chasm with more Americans living in destitute poverty than the population of 26 states combined, and that gives are government the benefit of the doubt in setting the poverty line as I sure you would agree that a family of three living in Chicago with a household income of 18,001 is still a poor. So if you are truly committed to helping realize my father's dream, why haven't you put forth a definitive plan to end poverty in America once and for all, and even if you say you have, why is it not something you talk about regularly.

    2. My father fought for the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because he regarded the "short step into the voting booth as the longest stride for society." Some four decades after the passage of the VRA, many billions of dollars will spent to elect our next president and a majority of American citizens still won't be exercising that sacred right of voting. I am sure you would agree that our voting system must be broken if we as a nation spend more money per vote and yet rank 139 out of the 172 democracies in the world when it comes to voter turnout. So what are you committed to doing to make it more convenient for all Americans to vote, especially poor folk who frequently have two jobs and hence regard a working day like Tuesday as quite inconvenient ? By the way, did you ever think about why we still vote on Tuesday?

    Martin and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

    Bill Wachtel

    January 12, 2008 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  17. Ted Froats


    Hello! I would like to hear each of the candidates address whether or not they are in favor of government censorship of video games...and if so, why not government censorship of movies, tv shows, books, and the internet?

    Thank you!

    January 12, 2008 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  18. David Gilbert

    The Hard Questions for Democratic Debate

    1. Will you close Guantanamo? By what date?
    2. Will you close down massive survillance programs on American citizens? By what date?
    3. Will you end torture by this government? By what date?
    4. Iraq: Get out – by what date?
    5. Afghanistan: Get out – by what date? Turn over to NATO
    6. Eliminate federal deficit. By what date?
    7. Name some ways to increase the personal savings rate to 4%.
    8. Specifically, how would you reform Social Security?
    9. Specifically, how would you reform Medicare?
    10. Specifically, how would you reform Medicaid?
    11. Are you willing to spend $1.5 trillion to fix nation's infrastructure?
    12. Shouldn't every home in America have a computer and internet access?
    13. What is your specific position on teacher pay? Poor performing teachers?
    14. Will you advocate an increase in the minimum wage to $10.00 an hour.
    15. Will you advocate publicly financed national elections? Free TV air time for candidates?
    16. Will you advocate term limits on U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressmen?
    17. Will you advocate that U.S. Senators and U.S. Congressmen must wait 4 years before becoming lobbyists?

    January 12, 2008 06:23 am at 6:23 am |
  19. Linda Brewer

    I'd like the "experience" question clarified. Ask each candidate how many years he/she has served as an elected representative of the people.

    January 12, 2008 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  20. Leslie, SC

    One of the people running right now will be the new commander in chief of the most powerful military in the world. We have two very important symbols–our pledge and our flag–that are incredibly important to the identity of our nation and the pride that we as a people so desperately need restored in the world. Please ask the candidates whether or not there is any allegiance they hold that would prevent them from standing up, placing their hand over their heart and reciting the pledge of allegiance. Then, on camera, ask the three of them to stand and do it together.

    January 12, 2008 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  21. John Voic

    for each of the candidates

    it's about healthcare stupid

    I have had to undergo a total knee replacement. I was covered by my and my wife's insurance but due to the time off from work, my coverage lapsed my wife' s should cover at that point. If you really understood the mountains of paperword, the initial denials. the complicated copays and the amount of unnecessary calls forms and other garbage you must go through, how can you not support a single payer universal health insurance for all Americans.


    January 12, 2008 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  22. Sheila McC

    Ask Mrs Clinton:

    a) What message would her election send out to the rest of the world about democracy in the United States – That it passes through families as though a monarchy.

    b) What 35 years experience???? She has given public service for 35 years but so has my IRS inspector. In reality she has only 8 years experience in government while Obama has more if you count his time in the state senate. Is she suggesting that Bill sought her advice on matters (and discussed top secret matters with her????). Why does she think her Health care policies that failed so badly under Bill will work now??

    January 12, 2008 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  23. Scott

    Ask obama if he really believes that he can make change in washington? He hasnt even completed a full term as a senator. Ask obama if hes going to come up with an original idea besides having to use qutoes from MLK all the time.

    January 12, 2008 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  24. D

    What do each of the canidates think of CHRIS MATTHEWS rude and obviously sexist attacks on Hillary Clinton??
    Do they notice how SEXISM has become rife in this campaign and is coming from the DEMOCRAT canidates as well as the REPUBLICANS and also from the male PUNDITS and MEDIA reporting on the campaign ?
    This is very sad, we are FINALLY at the point where a woman FINALLY has a chance to become PRESIDENT of the United States and certain MALES are acting like a bunch of insecure immature boys terrorizing the only girl in the race..
    Chris Mathews most recent comment about Mrs Clinton went above and beyond it all, I am sure you can find the exact comment but .....he said something to the affect that she is only who, what, and where she is because Bill cheated on her... SEXIST and a CHEAP SHOT...

    January 12, 2008 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  25. varakehdi

    The present Bush administration is all for signing a nuclear deal with India.
    Whether India can expect the same kind of support from the Democrat's if elected in 2008.

    January 12, 2008 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
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