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. Shideh Bina

    Much has been said by each of you about your unique ability to bring about change. And while we all agree change is sorely needed from our next President at the same time there is a huge aspect of being an effective President that has to do with the Presidents capacity and competency to manage and lead the infrastructure and operations of our Nation–in many ways future success depends on our ability to cause change where and how it is most needed and at the same time strengthen the aspects of our nation that will thrive from stability.

    Please give specific evidence to establish that you have both the competency and capacity to lead and cause stability in our country–that you can be a effective Chief for running the vast and complex systems of a nation like ours.

    January 12, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  2. RAK

    Does everyone notice that the new outlets are waiting until Obama is up against the republicans before they will ask him difficult questions. He's banking on his blackness to keep the news media at bay. He'll claim they are attacking him because he's black. But it is entirely fine to attack Hillary. A woman. They have no manners. Obama is playing the race card. And his mother is white. He's counting on white guilt to keep from having to answer specifics and answering to anyone. This is a BIG deal running for President. He wants a big prize here and needs to take the big questions NOW.

    January 12, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Lorraine

    Ask Clinton why she isn't making her own statements about Obama but using Bill to attack Obama on being a fair tale and her remark about MLK with the Civil Rights Movement?

    Also, ask her about her remark in the cafe in New Hampsire, "I just don't want us to go back." Was her statement base on Obama or someone else?

    Ask her to explain my two points.

    January 12, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. jane

    Please ask Obama about his health care plan. He stated that parents have to buy health care for children because the children can not choose for themselves while the parents do not have to buy it for themselves. How are these same children better served if mom or dad (who opted out for themselves) get sick and lose everything because of expenses?

    I keep hearing from the Obama camp that we are going to change Washington together. Exactly what exactly do I have to do?

    Thank you

    January 12, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. sethrubenstein

    As a Jew, as a descendant of Holocaust survivors I want to know to what lengths will these Democrats go to ensure the slaughter of a peoples, the impoverishing, the suppression by dictatorial regimes does not happen. To what lengths will they go? What will they do to stop Darfur, do they really believe it is far better to live under a tyrant like Saddam Hussein than to live in a shaky Democracy? Ultimately how committed are they to preserving, spreading, and proliferating God's greatest gift to man; Free Will, freedom, liberty, the words that politicians love to throw around as being "good" but quite frankly know nothing about the importance of these ideas, and surely do nothing to defend them, these absolutely essential ideas to the great American experiment.

    January 12, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. E. S. Martin

    1) What would you say to a person who supports or endorses Obama as default because he/she will NOT support nor endorse a woman due to his/her traditionalist values rooted in their religious (mis-) understandings (primarily, within Christianity). [Are you familiar with strong godly women leaders particularly within the Biblical and Christian traditions? (Deborah, Hulda, Priscilla. . .; Joan of Arc, Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena. . .)]

    2) What would you say to a person who supports or endorses Obama because he is black? Are you familiar with the leading white and Latino/a activists who fought for civil rights.

    January 12, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  7. Tom K

    Once again taxes are being raised. In 2008, the amount of income a person has to pay Social Security tax on has raised. The straight talk on this is that although the tax rate (%) remains the same, the ceiling is higher. Americans are paying more taxes. I want straight talk... if they are elected will they promise not to raise taxes. No game playing, no slick talk, or robbing from Peter to pay Paul. A simple Americans will keep the same of more of there paychecks if they are elected President.

    Press them Wolf. They need to answer the questions. Generally, if these folks were on a college debate team, they would get high scores for presentation, but flunk on developing the arguement and answering the question.

    Amercian's want answers and ones we can hold them accountable for. Short of this it is all smoke and mirrors.

    Thank you.

    January 12, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Donna Bailey

    Good morning! I am a middle school teacher in the state of Florida. I have to admit that in the past I have not taken a huge interest in primary elections. However, our country is in such a critical state that I am determined to make the best decision possible to elect a candidate who will truly make a difference. I am a registered democrat, primarily because I want to be able to vote in the primary. My main concern is the somewhat biased opinions of the male commentators on both CNN and MSNBC.
    Can Hillary do anything right in you eyes? It is very obvious that some of you are still very sexist. During the debate Monday, will you please reaffirm my respect for you and stick to what America really wants to know? Ask questions related to policy and stop trying to sway the public rgarding your own personal values and beliefs. Please do the right thing!

    Donna Bailey
    Middle School Teacher

    January 12, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  9. Marcelo

    Wolf –

    I agree with Anne's comment above. Please ask Hillary Clinton to explain her comment from this past few weeks:

    "Dr King's dream began to be realised when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done."

    And what she thinks of comments made by two of her supporters:

    Francine Torge said this while introducing Mrs. Clinton: “Some people compare one of the other candidates to John F. Kennedy. But he was assassinated. And Lyndon Baines Johnson was the one who actually” passed the civil rights legislation.

    Andrew Cuomo (about Obama): "You have to sit down with 10 people in a living room. You can't shuck and jive at a news conference; you can't just put off reporters, because you have real people looking at you, saying 'answer the question."

    Thank you.

    January 12, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  10. bruce w peterson

    obama: with all of the young men in prison for drug crimes would you offer a clean record for all the non-violent prisoners who volunteer for the military. if we looked at many of these prisoners past lives we would not be surprised to see them in trouble. the military would allow these young people to serve their country and hopefully provide a second chance for many who need it. i believe this would be a great thing for our country as a whole.

    January 12, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. John

    Mr. Obama;

    Will you publish a resume of your political achievements AND NOT YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY?

    January 12, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. Marcelo

    Jane –

    Obama's plan for optional healthcare for parents is simple. If a 100% universal healthcare plan was implemented but you're receiving some great benefits from your work, why would you pay for this other health care plan? What if your work says, well, the government is now covering you, we'll drop our Company healthcare package. Obama's plan leaves the choice in the hands of the adults. If they want affordable healthcare, then they can choose to enroll in the governments plan. If they are receiving affordable healthcare with better benefits from their employers, then they can choose not to pay into the healthcare system.

    I hope this helps.

    January 12, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Kathryn Hansen


    As a white American, I find it insulting to see you embrace the African half of your heritage exclusively. It seems self-serving, and looks like you reject being half white.

    How would your mother feel to see you rejecting her contributions to your genetic makeup?

    January 12, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  14. Mark

    In the last Republican debate, all of the candidates said they would have trusted the naval commanders to make the right decision regarding Iranian speed boats. I assume the Dems would have given the same answer. If so – if they trust commanders in the field in that situation – why don't they trust commanders in the field to decide what to do, and when to do it, in Iraq? Why turn a military decision into a political one?

    January 12, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. Frank

    ask them to remind voters that the republicans will stack the supreme court with ultra cinservative judges who will alter American rights and freedoms for decades!

    January 12, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Isaac

    To Hillary Clinton:

    If you are elected president in November 2008, that will stand for 24 consecutive years of just two families controlling this country's highest office, and 32 consecutive years of someone from the Clinton or Bush family being in the top two: Vice President or President. How can you justify this Clinton/Bush dynasty in a great nation that purports to have a government for the people, by the people? How can you possibly stand for "change?"

    January 12, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Alan

    What are the candidates positions on No Child Left Behind, do they consider it a success or a failure? If they think it is a success, how has it been so, if it has been a failure what would they do to fix it or offer as an alternative?

    January 12, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Guled, Minneapolis

    hello CNN thanks for letting our voices heard my question is this

    Senator Clinton in almost every deabate that happened in 2007 and in the campign trail, you have claim you are ready from day one at the White House, so tell me how you will be better prepared from Day one than Obama and Edwards would not be, and if your answer is 35 years of experience please clarify that because i am younger than that Number you claim, and thanks Senator Clinton

    January 12, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Isaac

    To Hillary Clinton:

    You tout your years of experience and imply that it would make you president than any other of the candidates. Obama has pointed that experience does not equal good judgement as some of the people with the longest resumes in Washington D.C., namely George Bush and Dick Cheney, have made horrible decisions. How does your experience in Washington D.C. make you a better choice as President than someone like Obama who has an incredible amount of experience outside the sphere of broken U.S. politics?

    January 12, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Earl Prillaman

    I hear all these candidates speak of helping the everyday US citizen. At the same time these people are paying $3.00 a gallon for gasoline. Alternative fuels such as corn based ethanol have driven up food prices as well. The US citizen is watching politicians and environmentalist gridlock decisions that hurt not only the US economy but the very people you say you support.

    Are you for or against drilling in Alaska to help the United States be more self dependent on energy. A yes or a no please.

    What is your plan to keep US Chemical Companies from leaving the US altogether due to stricter rules and regulations than anyone else in the world? Or do you want them to leave? Yes or no please.

    January 12, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  21. Independent08

    Immigration reform and border security are rarely mentioned in the Democratic debates while the Republicans have discussed it everytime. Whoever wins is going to have to deal with this issue whether they like it or not. Polls repeatedly show that Americans care about this issue. We can talk all day long about Americans' safety in a post-9/11 world but the talk is cheap until our borders are secure. To all the Democratic candidates, outline what you will do to secure our borders AND what you will do with the 12-15 million illegals in our country.

    January 12, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  22. Walt

    My question is directed to Senator Obama: Former senator Gary Hart has given considerable exploration and analysis to the issue of world terrorism. He writes, "...America's security will depend on our ability to create hope among the hopeless."
    As a candidate of "Hope" do you agree, and if so, please list the specific actions you would take as President to bring hope to the hopeless in third world and developing countries.

    January 12, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  23. temporarily abroad

    Please ask Mr. Obama

    1. Does he believe most low income people would buy non mandatory health insurance, even if they could afford it, as oposed to buying something they desire more, at least while thy are not sick?

    2. Exactly whom does he want to unify, how does he know his target group wants to be "unified" with him and what concessions/compromises is he willing to make in order to even attempt this?

    January 12, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. John

    One of Hillary Clinton's best arguments is that she has Bill Clinton to support her. However, she cannot make him a cabinet level appointee thanks to the GOP's rigging the system to counter JFK's appointment of his brother as AG.

    So, hypothetically at least, what would the other candidates do with Bill Clinton if they were the nominee? Would he have a home in their cabinet or be able to serve another role. Personally, I'd like to see him back in some official form, but without the need for all the baggage that comes with a Clinton hiring a Clinton that the "other party" would dredge up.

    January 12, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  25. John

    One of Hillary Clinton's best arguments is that she has Bill Clinton to support her. However, she cannot make him a cabinet level appointee thanks to the GOP's rigging the system to counter JFK's appointment of his brother as AG.

    So, hypothetically at least, what would the other candidates do with Bill Clinton if they were the nominee? Would he have a home in their cabinet or be able to serve another role. Personally, I'd like to see him back in some official form, but without the need for all the baggage that comes with a Clinton hiring a Clinton that the "other party" would dredge up.

    January 12, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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