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. Sarah


    Ask Obama how merely voting "present" shows leadership.


    January 12, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Justiniano

    Ask them how can they expect us believe that they would change Washington. The American people should know by now that the government is divided in three parts. The President cannot make any changes without the blessings of Congress. I luagh at Obama for saying he will start making changes from day one. In his dreams...................

    January 12, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  3. Mitch from Sycamore

    What would you do to heal all the damage that has been done to America from Bill Clinton's betrayal by pushing for NAFTA after so many people voted for him to prevent its passage?

    January 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  4. HR

    Thank you for soliciting questions from the public.

    At this point, I would like Hillary and Obama and to state at the debate why we should vote for one over the other, in clear detail, not generalizations. (Obama has been better at this than Hillary at the debates for me, but still doesn't quite get the best marks in the class.) I have done my own research, understand both of their messages, and have read through their policies. They are both very strong candidates. I want to hear them REALLY explain the fundamental difference between them. I realize they have been doing this, but I want to hear it in more detail and more strongly. How about asking Obama if his call for transparency of the federal government is what makes him both radically different from Hillary and why this is the best difference? This seems to be the most important difference to me, but I haven't heard anyone specifically invoke it yet. I think we can get Hillary and Obama to have a civil debate about their differences, don't you? I'm tired of the media leaning towards gossipy reporting...tears, inspiration, etc. Sorry to leave out Edwards...it's down to two candidates for me personally.

    Thanks again,

    Holly Ross

    January 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. Ed

    Dear Wolf:

    This question is for Senator Obama:

    In our president we are looking for a leader. Like all the other candidates for president, you too have a health care plan. America is looking for a plan that covers everyone in some way and manages the costs as well. That said, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both men and women in the US with a whoopping 87% estimated caused by cigarette smoking. You yourself recently quit smoking as you were running for president. Leadership begins at home. With two young daughters, what do you say to those who believe that your own health for your family's sake and not the presidency should have been the first and foremost reason for quitting, and how can you effectivey advocate your health plan when you were making choices until recently that insurance companies and medical professionals argue increase the medical costs for all Americans in the system?

    January 12, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. sandhya babu

    to barack obama

    on voting present

    it implies that you were sitting on the fence so as not to take a stand that might come to bite you. shows lack of courage and appears to be a sneaky move on your part so as not to give people any ammo to pin you down on any unpopular position you might have taken. appears to have worked well for you till it has been brought to light [ many people are in their honeymoon phase with the senator and dont want to be bothered with this charge ] . pls explain and try to convince us that voting present is not unusual and all senators do this.

    January 12, 2008 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  7. Mary

    I would like to know if any of the canidates would pardon the border agents Ramos and Campeon, and look into how they were unfairly sent to prison.

    January 12, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. Gary C

    I would ask any candidate "how" they will do anything. We never hear of how. How will they reach across party lines and work with Congress to get things done. Exactly how would any candidate "end the war". Specifics. Ask any candidate who says they will work for the good of the people how they would put actions to words.

    January 12, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  9. David Sigmon

    Please ask the candidates:

    "What is your strategy for getting your policy proposals passed through the House and Senate, and why are you more capable of doing this than the other presidential candidates?"

    Background: The democratic candidates have very similar policy proposals on a variety of issues. It does not matter how great one's ideas are, if they are not passed into law. We need a president who is a leader. I want to know do the candidates intend to pass bills through back-room deals, lobbyist pressure, promises of pork-barrel spending in representatives' districts, watering down their policy proposals that they ran on, overpowering their opposition, or by reaching across the aisle and really listening to the concerns of the bill's opponents and trying to resolve those issues.

    I believe Obama and Hillary have fundamentally different approaches which need to be highlighted during the debate. A central claim of the Obama campaign is that Obama is a uniter, whereas Hillary is too divisive.

    Perhaps another way to get at this issue is to ask the question, "How do you deal with your political opponents?"

    January 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. Matthew Austin, Albany, NY

    Politically, I consider myself a libertarian, but first and for most, I am an American. I am not entirely happy with the Republican possibilities. If I were to vote for a Democrat I would need the following question answered without the vagueries of high-minded populist rhetoric and empty platitudes. (i.e. "I'm gonna make jobs for the working class American." well duh!)

    "Given that the value of the dollar is falling, and given that our GDP consists of mostly spending and not real sustainable production, what plans, policies or organizations would you use to stimulate the economy and promote growth?"

    Please, answer this truthfully and precisely, your country needs you.

    January 12, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  11. Terry

    Ask Obama how he plans to implement "change"? He is excellent at getting people fired up. Lets say he is the next president, the only change that has occured is that he is in the white house. He still has to work with congress. How does he plan to work with the very people he has attacked during the campaign? Many of his statements sound good and move people to become passionate. However, upon futher examination..those statements are very naive and a lack of good substance. Where is the content?

    Whether you like Hillary or not... she does have a track record of deliverying as well as bumps and bruises along the way (when things don't work out...that is experience and lessons learned). Her answers at the last debate about terriorism and getting Osama bin laden seemed the most well thought out. She understood the impact of neighboring countries that no other candidate mentioned. all the other candidates provided an emotional response..something like.."i'll go get him" without understanding the impact to India which has strained relationships with Pakistan.

    Edwards has the ability to get folks fired up too but its hard to tell if he is acting. As a former injury trial lawyer, acting and performing a drama is the way you win. He is a great peformer. Does a great performer make a great leader? I don't know which candidate I'll vote for but it was a huge turn off for Edwards and Obama to double team on Hillary. Check the facts...Hillary made statements based upon facts that have been verified. why are stating the facts viewed as an attack? The American people want honesty and integrity. Being truthful should not be viewed as an attack. Hillary suggested that each candidate's record be reviewed...why is that an attack? Bill Richardson asked...what is wrong with experience? I've got the same question. sometimes "change" does take experience, particulary if you you have failed before then you have a lot of learning and can benefit from the prior unsuccessful experiences. you have a much higher probablity of being successful if you have previously failed at something before. why does Obama and his supporters think "change" and "experience" are mutually exclusive? in my mind, who ever is elected will bring about change as nobody wants a repeat of what we currently have. "change is a given" for the next president...what kind of change and how will that be brought about? I think experience does matter in the answer to those questions.

    January 12, 2008 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  12. Sandra Lemmons

    Health care for the uninsured ~ is is plausable and if so~ how will they attain it? Funding? How to sidestep the insurance lobbyists?

    Social Security~ 4 years ago this was an issue~ now the candiates seem to be mum on the subject. . Where do they stand on privitiziation~ Do they contend the SS system will go broke? Where do they stand on senior care and do they have a plan .

    I need a plausible domestic policy for me to decide on a candidate.

    January 12, 2008 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. Jeff

    I would like to know if the Bush administration will be investigated and punished for the many crimes against the American people over the past seven years. Without holding them accountable, the floodgate is open for future administrations to abuse the constitution in the same way.
    Few people seem to want the goverment tied up investigating Republican crimes, but no one seemed to mind when the Republicans wasted eight years and countless tax dollars going after Bill Clinton over simple personal issues that were none of our business anyway.

    January 12, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. latina in texas

    Please ask Senator Clinton to explain her analogy of "Chips and Guacamole" when referring to the housing crisis and if it had anything to do with the context of her audience which was mainly Latino.

    January 12, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Robert from the Middle Class

    Of all the many challenges facing the United States (US economy, war in Iraq, the inevitable confrontation with Iran, the slow disolve of middle class from majority to extinct status, and the deteriation of the world perception of US just to name a few), WHAT is the priority in your campaign, and WHAT is your plan to bring the US out of this spiraling decline?

    Do you believe that a third party would help the US get back on the right track by putting in place a more effective check and balance? If not, then why not?

    January 12, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Mike Murphy

    Ask John Edwards – Why do you think John Kerry endorsed Barack Obama instead of you? Were you surprised and/or disappointed by that endorsement?

    Ask all candidates – Everyone seems to agree that we need to lower the trade deficit. How would you plan to do that. Exactly what policy is going to make a difference, unless we erect trade barriers?

    Ask all candidates – What do think of Mike Huckabee's espousal of the "Fair Tax"?

    Ask all candidates – Do you think growing corn to produce ethanol to lesson our dependance on fossil fuel is a good or bad idea? Why?

    January 12, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  17. susan


    Paid campaign workers for the candidates infiltrate blogs without identification. What safeguards do you have in place for filtering their "planted" questions here from other questions?

    January 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. Kevin

    Ask them if they think the power to create and coin money should be taken from the Federal Reserve (a private bank), and returned to the United States government, and thus the American people? And how would they go about doing this?

    January 12, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. AnnAloha, PA Independent Thinker

    Question to all candidates:
    If you were an African American or Woman candidate running for the Democratic Presidential Nomination, what would be in your opinion the biggest challenge that you would face and why?

    January 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. gina

    Bill Moyers had a wonderful interview with Shelby Steele of Stanford University last night and it was very insightful and fair. He stated that we don't know Obama's "deep abiding convictions." We know who Hillary is whether we agree with her or not. Inspiring or not who is Obama– is he just emulating JFK and Martin Luther KIng or is he the real deal? And, how do we know? His political resume and history is a short one.

    January 12, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. L.Washington State


    I like how people that aren't even in congress think they know so much and pass judgement quote "Hillary Clinton has repeatedly and publically told supporters that Barack Obama was opposed to the Patriot Act in 2001 and voted in favor of it in 2006. That is incorrect;" Well I am sure they have all done there homework. I would like to ask that we size up the candidates and get the answers everyone is looking for. Would Obama and Clinton be willing to bring in their resumes for purposes of qualifications and can they provide verifiable references? I would also just like to say that Clinton is addressing all of our countrys issues and also telling of her plans to create jobs, resolve healthcare, end the war, become energy efficient, ect...Is anybody really listening to what is being said or are they more focused on the fact that a woman and an african-american is running for president? I just have to say good luck to Senator Clinton and I know in my heart that with an All American experienced, qualified President our Country can be strong, respectable and prosperious once again.

    January 12, 2008 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. Robert from the Middle Class

    All throughout history all the great empires, kingdoms, and governments have eventually fallen (i.e. the great Roman Empire). Is the United States, once regarded as one of the world leaders that many other countries strove to become, slowly before our eyes becoming one of these falling from greatness?

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

    What does each candidate plan to do, if anything, to prevent offshoring of American jobs? This situation is affecting more and more Americans.

    For Clinton– Please explain the real story about your alleged connections to people from India and how that may have fostered offshoring of jobs to India?

    Generally, please no diamonds or pearls questions. And please allow each candidate the same amount of time to answer a question.

    January 12, 2008 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  24. Dale E

    How is it that those that oppose the Democratic Party have so easily associated “tax and spend” with the Democratic Party yet the Democratic Party has not labeled the Republican Party as “cut taxes and make your children pay the bill”. We do need to unite our country, however the Republican name calling machined doesn’t seem to care. Should the Democrats defend themselves?

    The national debt is out of control and the Republicans seem to thing tax cuts for the rich is the answer.


    January 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  25. KM

    Ask each candidate to name one person they would ideally like to see in their administration and in what role for example: Richardson – UN Ambassador, Gore – Department of Interior.

    January 12, 2008 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
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