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. Dave Thorson

    In the early 1960s JFK established a goal and a plan to reach the moon. As president you would have the opportunity to establish extraordinary goals and plans for the nation. Please identify three of your top priorities for this sort of accomplishment.

    January 12, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. Joyce Gearin

    There are issues unresponded to that reach accross the board of Republicans,
    Democrats, and Independents. The President will have to lead them all, uniting
    us with broad leadership skills.
    My question would be to all the candidates. We've heard a lot of generalizations,
    let's hear instead::"What is your specific plan to lead this country including issues
    of great concern to all classes". The issues are no secret, and are at the front of
    both Democratis and Republicans polled, include the following:
    A. The economy..Our economy has evolved to a War economy. Soldiers have no jobs to return home to to return to peacetime prosperity. Mounting levels of debt endanger multiple social programs for our own citizens, including social security, and healthcare,

    How will you reverse the housing recession, and economic downturn? .

    B. Second, how will you secure our borders, or reduce illegal immigration, and/ or terrorist influx without legal entry, without impuning the civil rights of citizens?.


    January 12, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Marcelo


    He can't win can he? The black community says he doesn't acknowledge them enough (says Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton) and now the white community feels he's pushing the black agenda too much. But what he is really doing is not making this race about race. The media and activist groups are doing that. Have you ever read an article or heard Obama saying race is an issue. No, he simply states what America's problems are 1) education 2) poverty etc... And when he addresses this issues, he can't ignore the overwhelming need of minorities in this country.

    And when he talks about change, well, what do you think defined the biggest change in modern society in the last century? The Civil Rights Movement. Which was led an inspriational leader, like Obama. Unfortunately, racism hadn't changed significantly enough to see Dr. King make a presidential bid. Therefore, per Hilary's comments, yes, it took a good-hearted white president to make Dr. King's dreams come true.

    The democratic party shouldn't be just about what politicians can do for the middle class. They need to be about how the US Government can help all it's citizens and provide everyone the best opportunities to acheive their goals in life.

    By the way, I'm an Asian-American and have no personal bias on the race issue.

    January 12, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. Henry Hoglund

    I would ask whether they would pledge to make America energy independent in 10 years.

    January 12, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. Jack&Barbara Wiener

    Canada as well as other countries are advancing on stem cell research.
    There was an article in the LA Times on 01/11 about new technique that will not harm the embryo.
    Which candidate will actively proceed on this very important issue and How?

    January 12, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  6. Jay

    Illegal Imigrents, Amnesty??????????????????????????????

    January 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  7. Guy from Kentucky

    I'm a baby boomer and will be turning 62 yrs. old In 3yrs. My question is concerning Social Security and Medicare. What would you do to correct the funding problems we are facing with Social Security and Medicare? Also do you plan on cutting benefits and raising the retirement age for people who are close to drawing benefits or who will be drawing benefits at a later date?

    January 12, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. William Pruett

    I would ask something like, is South Carolina like Custers last stand for you?
    How is the money holding out?
    Are you broke yet?
    When are you going to drop out of the race?
    Is this surge in South Carolina to little to late for you ?
    Do you actually, really want to be president?
    or any number of a hundred other stupid questions that serve no purpose in actually showing where a candadate stands on an important issue, that you have asked every single time you have shoved a microphone in Fred Thompsons face.

    Then 30 million people in this country would have no reason to believe that you are biased to any one candadate or party.

    Why don't you try asking some questions that are actually about issues important to the American voter?
    I have heard all my life about BIG Brother, but it was always in reference to the government. I have come to the hard realization that BIG brother is actually the news media, giving one sided, half truth, doctored versions of the news in an effort to sway public opinion. I don't know about anyone else, but I am not that shallow, and I find it very offensive, and actually embarrising. You have actually managed to stoop to a lower level than about 70% of the good old boys in our government that have been in Washington about 30 years to long. Its about change stupid. Why not try presenting the truth on the news and let us decide?

    January 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. Linda

    A question for the candidates-
    What will you do to help the small business owner that is trying to maintain his business? The gas station business especially is mostly run by new immigrants. They have incentives from the US government (the small business administration) that provides them with lower or no taxes every year for 7 years. This enables them to purchase and sell gas at a lower price than the American who pays taxes and does not get any tax breaks. At the end of the 7 years the new immigrant sells the property to another new immigrant (usually a family member) that can again get the same benefits...plus incentives (free) money from our government to improve the business. Why can't the American that is born and raised in the United States, whose families have fought and died in our wars, who have paid taxes through the generations....why can't we get the same benefits to provide a level playing field? Does this seem fair?

    January 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. Dave Thorson

    The US lags way behind many other nations in their emphasis on science. Science is not only the route to solving many national and planet-wide problems, it can also help solve economic problems as well. Do you agree and how would you bring science to the forefront in our nation's educational future?

    January 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Servat

    This is a question for Senator Hillary Clinton:

    At every time I see Senator Clinton in trouble, it is former president Bill Clinton who gets on stage to speak out for her. The question is: "Where is the difference between Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton?".

    This is another question for Senator Hillary Clinton:

    Your campaign has pointed out many times how much it is important for someone running for president to be politically experienced. Then: "Would you say John Kerry, who is endorsing Senator Obama, is more or less experienced than you are?"

    This is a question for Senator Barack Obama:

    It's been more than a decade since the last time the Congress, the Senate and the White House were led by democrats. In order to do that again: "Do you see any Republican voting for a Clinton?"

    January 12, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Justin S

    Why won't you admit that government programs do not solve the so called "problems" of America? When will you realize that freedom is more important than false stability?

    January 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. Judy C

    Why not ask Hillary when she decided that "fake crying" would somehow regain her lead among women in the polls. I would also ask that you drop the bias you obviously have for Mrs. Clinton and treat all of the candidates fairly. Stick to the number one issue of the moment: THE ECONOMY. How are we going to stimulate economic growth? Jobs? The American people deserve DETAILS of these plans, not carefully calculated vague answers.

    January 12, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Lawrence Barrett

    To Sen. Obama:


    1. In specific terms (1 – 2 – 3...), DEFINE CHANGE.

    2. In specific terms (1 – 2 – 3...), How does one create change in Washington?

    3. WILL IT WORK?

    January 12, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. Cindy in Ohio

    To all candidates:

    Middle-class crunch. What types of specific benefits will your proposals bring to middle class americans in the form of 1.) tax relief, 2.) health care, 3.) child care expenses, 4.) gas prices. I am particulary interested in how your energy plans will affect the price of oil in the immediate future. Gas prices are destroying the middle class.

    January 12, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. David

    Will you get Egypt to pay its million dollars in parking fines to NYC? I'm sick of the USA taking care of welfare states at the expense of our own nation. Health care, education, job training, illegal drugs enforcement are all taking a back seat while MY MIDDLE CLASS TAX DOLLARS are supporting these welfare states who, for the most part, don't have equal rights for all and make women second class citizens. Enough is enough!!

    January 12, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Rebecca Rhodes

    I would ask the democratic candidates the following:
    a) why do they think that the American public will accept a tax increase to fund plans in health care
    b) what, specifically, their approach will be to building and strengthening strong bilateral relations with the People's Republic of China, which is vastly out-competing us on many scores and towards which, to date , US lawmakers have traditionally adopted hawkish rhetoric grounded in our deepest fears of the slanty-eyed or misplaced patriochal sermonizing about the need to let the currency float free. In a world where China WILL NOT HAVE TO LISTEN TO DC (and that world has arrived) how will we structure a mutually beneficial relationship?

    January 12, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |

    Senator Obama, you use many phrases to in your speeches to catch the attention of the American people, one of these phrases is that we can make "history" electing you. What is the history to which you are reffering?

    January 12, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. George Thayer

    So many issues and so many promises; What will you be remembered as president of the United States 10 years after your term is over?

    January 12, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  20. Bryan

    Please ask Obama:

    You told Hotel/Restaurant union workers in Las Vegas yesterday that you would help them pay their mortgages, WHY? These people got themselves into it, we can't expect our government to bail us out of our purchases. I myself was in this situation but did not wait around for the government to bail me out. I sold my house and started renting. What would you do for the responsible people like me that already sold our houses? (The answer should be nothing, and nothing for those that are in trouble, the economy needs to work this out the normal, but painful way.)

    January 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  21. Jay

    I want to ask all the candidates–Do you think that atheists should be considered citizens, or patriots? What role should the personal faith of a President play in his/her decision-making? Would you allow us to question your religious beliefs, in the case that we see danger in them?

    January 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  22. Bill

    Ask both Republicans and Democrats:

    1. What do you look for, when thinking about a Vice President or cabinet positions? Are you looking for yes men/women, or are you looking for people who can give you honest assessments? Are you a micro manager or do you like the hands off approach?

    2. Do you believe in nation building?

    3. Why do you believe, if you do, a giant fence on our southern border is a realistically good idea? Do you think that helping Mexico develop a more sustainable economy in that region might help?

    Thank you Mr. Blitzer.

    January 12, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Andy

    Hi Wolf:

    Thanks for asking!

    I would ask each of the candidates what was the last "middle class" job that they held? Each of them talks about fighting for the middle class, but when were they financially in the middle class (based on IRS and income tax statements)?

    Also, I would ask the three leading candidates that are in favor of a universal form of healthcare how they would manage the unemployment impacts of health insurance companies downsize their staff as a result of their plans? How do they balance the move to national healthcare with the unemployment that would result.

    Finally, I would ask Senator Edwards how his health insurance proposal would have saved or prevented her unfortunate passing of Natalie Sarkesian.

    January 12, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. D.S. Delfin

    To Edwqrds: What platform are yo running on: CHANGE OR EXPERIENCE?
    To Obama: What Specific and Believable CHANGE are you going to do if and when you are elcted pPresident?
    To Hillary: What in your 35 years of Experience prepared you or made you Ready for the job of a President of USA.

    January 12, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. R. Jones, MA

    Ask how they each think they could fare in a possible final race against veteran Senator John McCain, specifically on the issue of international conflict. Given we are at war, given additional unrest in Pakistan and other middle eastern countries, it is not unlikely we will call on the next President to take actions as Commander in Chief. How do each of them believe they fare against elder stateman McCain in this regard. Does change really trump experience?

    January 12, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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