January 11th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
9 years ago

Blitzer: What would you ask the Democrats in South Carolina?

 Weigh in on the South Carolina Democratic debate.

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. Monte

    Security of Americans worldwide has been affected by accusations that the USA turns a blind eye toward Israel's human rights record. How would you, as President, increase the pressure on Israel to respect the human rights of all within their nation?

    January 12, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Kirt Metts

    .I understand some of the canidates would like to "REDISTRIBUTE THE WEALTH " in the country. This sounds like socialism to me. My question is, Would these canidates like to start with there own wealth?

    January 12, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Julie Leindecker

    Candidate Questions

    What is your stand on NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO and other so-called “Free Trade Deals?” Americans have obviously been annihilated by a trade deficit of over $765 billion, over $232 billion with China alone, in 2006. What will you do to eliminate this deficit and create a surplus? Would you consider repealing any trade deals and through what criteria would you base that decision?

    These “free trade deals” have also been the foundation for large corporations to outsource millions of American jobs overseas. How will you combat big business and bring the jobs back to the United States?

    All of the candidates seem to shy away from any mention of a guest worker program. Do you believe that there are “jobs Americans will not do” even if all employment laws were enforced (i.e. wages, workers compensation, etc). Do you believe that America needs a guest worker program to economically survive? If so, how many “guest workers” per year and will that amount increase or decrease over time? Also, how will you fund and monitor the program when no federal agency to this point has been able to stop immigrants from overstaying their visas or simply disappearing into American society.

    How will you advocate participation from all uninsured citizens for your healthcare program? Your healthcare plans are very comprehensive and looks very good on paper, but there are always going to be people who refuse to participate. This may especially be true for illegal immigrants who are afraid of deportation; will our taxes still pay for their healthcare?

    If military leaders in Iraq suggest that current troop levels should be maintained for security reasons or to give the Iraqi government time to resolve their differences, would you consider their suggestions or continue with your plan?

    What direct impact or relief, if any, can working Americans expect in the first 30-90 days of your Presidency?

    If Iraqi leaders show significant progress towards unification of Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish groups, would you maintain current troop levels at the request of Iraqi leaders?

    January 12, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  4. Boris

    Ask them about the quality of healthcare within their healthcare plans. I think a lot of people get very excited about more affordable or even completely government paid healthcare, but there is evidence from other countries that sometimes you get what you pay for as far as quality. Ask them how their plan ensures that the quality of American healthcare is maintained or even increased within their plans. I'm a 19 year old and although I love their ideas I think quality is sometimes more important than quantity.

    January 12, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. John

    Will you please ask the candidates how the expect to turn the economy around and where they intend to increase taxes? There is no way that our government will survive this economic crunch without an increase in taxation somewhere, and I think that the candidates should have an idea at this point in what their economic plan is? The democratic candidates have largely stayed away from discussing the economy and taxation, and I would personally like to know where they stand.

    January 12, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Walter Hamilton

    In the Saturday debate before the New Hampshire primary Edwards, Obama, and Clinton were asked what issue were they so concerned with that they got legislation passed while in office. Edwards pointed to a health care bill he got through the senate with Senator Kennedy. He didn't work to get it through to become law. My question would be why should we consider him a fighter or an agent for change if he cannot name one piece of legislation that produced change.
    Wouldn't he be an agent of the status quo?
    Senator Obama is a junior senator with only three years in office. He might have some excuse for a lean record so I would ask Senator Clinton if she had ushered through any legislation in her first three years in the senate. I would also ask if she had managed to get bills passed by the states before she became a senator. I would ask Senator Obama the same question.

    January 12, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Sarah

    Ask John Edwards if he feels that in the shadow of possibly the first women president or the first African-American president if it is possible for any white male to win regardless of his strengths and wisdom.

    Who could really stand up for the people, not just the upper- and lower-class, and also who can stand up to the likes of Putin and other extreme leaders in our world today?

    January 12, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Janice

    Question for Presidential Debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer. I know the Republicans candidates in order to save Social Security are proposing Private Accounts, Raising the Retirement Age and Lowering Benefits. I would like to know what proposals the Democrat Candidates are going to put forward to handle this mass problem with Social Security?

    January 12, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Willie Poole

    How our tax money is spent is a real concern of most people today. It seems that we can find funding for almost anything pertaining to defense, even during non war times. What can you do specifically to assure me that my taxes are spent on domestic issues like healthcare, education, social security, infrastructure, etc., and not spent every where else in the world first?

    January 12, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Cheyenne - Myrtle Beach, SC



    With the debate taking place on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I find it quite appropriate to ask each candidate why they have not stood up and demanded that ALL candidates be allowed to participate in ALL debates. Civil rights are being violated by not allowing EVERY candidate the ability to participate. How can we honor a man who fought hard and lost his life to END discrimination, by continuing to support discrimination? If the candidates can't stand up for their fellow candidates, how are they going to stand up for the people?


    Myrtle Beach, SC

    January 12, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Mid-Mo

    Judging by the quality of the writing being submitted on this internationally viewed forum, it is clear to me that the "dumbing down" of America is now complete. With that in mind, I would like to know how the candidates, including the media-invisible Senator Kucinich, would strengthen basic education in this country?

    January 12, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Ryan

    I would ask each candidate why race is such an important issue? Are they honestly trying to appeal to all Americans, or merely trying to win the favor of those who will get them elected. Maybe if they campaign on what they believe in and stick to the message the voters will elect them based on their value as candidates, and not because they appeal to their racial group.

    January 12, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Bill

    I would ask Senator Edwards why should the Democrats vote for him. Senator Edwards could not carry his own state in the 2004 election and if he had John Kerry would be President today.

    I would ask Senator Obama why does he believe just stating change he will win what has he done in his short US Senate career to get any Republicans in Congress to support his polices. Regardless of change after the next election there still will be Republicans in Congress. Remember in 1992 President Bill Clinton could not get any Republicans votes for his first budget.

    I would ask Senator Clinton if she signs a law passed by Congress would President Bill Clinton be in the public stating he disagreed with the decesion



    January 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. issa

    Wolfe, could you please ask Hillary and Obama how are they going to fix the illegal immigration problem in this country? Majority of Americans are not in favor of amnesty and so my question is are they going to listen to us who are fed up with the illegals flooding our country. Amnesty is not an option!

    January 12, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Andy

    I would ask each candidate: "As fellow Democrats, without referencing yourself, describe the best qualities and attributes your opponents would bring to the presidency"

    January 12, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. JR

    Please ask John Edwards the following Mr. Wolf Blitzer...

    How does he feel about the media emphasizing that the primary is only a two person race and not three, even though he was second in the Iowa caucus? How difficult is it for him to be heard, since the media portrays it as a 2-person race?

    January 12, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Concerned Canuck

    Define Rich. Define Change. Define Experience. Define Leadership. I find a lot of terms have been floating around and haven't been explained nearly enough. All want to tax the rich, who are the rich? All want to bring about change, but of what nature? What experience exactly does Hillary talk about? Is experience a good thing? (Few people have "more experience" than Rummy and Cheney, but we all know how that turned out). How will you lead America in terms of education, health care, infrastructure improvement, national security, the economy, immigration. It is time to hear some answers of substance, it is time to start defining all these buzzwords floating around. And what are Hillary's "35 years of making change"?

    January 12, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  18. Jason


    I am a voter that has become a incredibly dissappointed with politics. I'm tired of our elected officials who are using their position to better their lives and careers and do so through dishonesty, deceit, corruption, bribery, thievery, lying and selling out the people they were to represent. I believe that many of the biggest problems this country is facing will never be fixed because of the self-serving actions of today's politicians. I want to know what assurances people like me have that you will, in office, act on our behalf and not on what is best for your career and/or pocketbook.

    Jason, 31 years old
    Columbus, Ohio

    January 12, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. John F. Lupiani

    I think whichever of the remaining Democratic hopefuls eventually wins the nomination; the country will have a superior opponent to whoever runs as the Republican candidate.

    I am a Clinton supporter. But everyone should realize, as I have, that whomever your candidate is the chances right now that your candidate will succeed are at least 2 to 1 against your choice. Most democrats will ultimately be supporting someone other than their first choice in the general election.

    It would be appropriate to give each candidate the opportunity to give a clear example of how they have brought about change or how they were involved in effecting change that has had positive results on their constituents.

    There is too much negative comment being thrown around here. Stop looking for the worst in your democratic opponents; leave that to the republicans.

    As an opportunity for Hillary to show how she has fought for change, I would ask her to outline how she has worked with both democrats and republicans in New York State to restore and enhance Veteran’s benefits. I would also give her an opportunity to describe the fundamental change she would make in how veteran’s benefits would be funded in the future. I encourage this question partly because veterans as a group were generally some of the most vocal of those opposed to Hillary Clinton when she first ran for Senate and they are now a group that has come to appreciate her hard work on their behalf.

    January 12, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  20. Disgusted With American Voters

    Please remove my question and/or remark regarding Obama peldging allegiance to the flag. I have found that was false information, and apologize for supporting false accusations!

    However, I still DO NOT think he is a good choice for the American President! His views are too much to the extreme liberal side, which is destructive to our American society!

    January 12, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. Norbert J. Yanek

    Question for Mrs. Clinton

    Given the deaths, injuries, collateral damages, and expenditures in Iraq, do you feel the war is and was worth it? Do you apologize for supporting it?

    January 12, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Zoe Artemis

    Why doesn't the press questions Mrs. Clinton's claim of 35 years experience. Eight years as First Lady doesn't qualify as experience.....there's nothing major she contributed as First Lady, and her Health Care Plan was shot down. As for her term as NY Senator, there are no memorable accomplishments there either.....so on the question of experience, she doesn't have it. We need a leader who inspires....and that's why Barack has my vote. You can ask the candidates all kinds of questions about the issues and they'll tell us what they think we want to hear, so that's no barometer. A candidate who can inspire us, who can regain our standing in the world is what we need.

    And what about the question of a continued dynasty? Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton......it's undemocratic and unAmerican.

    January 12, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Nasir Hussain

    As a provider and consumer, I am concerned about our healthcare system. We spend nearly $7000 per year per person, far more then any other nation. Yet in a recent report, US was dead last on the list of 19 developed nations in the healthcare outcomes. What is more distrubing is the attitude of our politicians, particulary the republicans. In a recent debate in NH, they kept calling our healthcare system the best in the world with no mention to actual data. On indivdaul level, we indeed have best skills and technology and those who can afford do come to US for their care. However as a 'healthcare system' we are most expensive in the world with abysmal outcomes.

    It will be nice for you to invite responses from the presential candidates to explain the irony.

    January 12, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Justin

    Ask the candidates if they will hold those in office accountable for crimes committed as well as gross negligence, and wont, like this current president, forgive or pardon massively unacceptable actions. *ie: Libby*. Also will they strip those who have defrauded the populace, through personal spending of gov. cash, of their pensions and force them to repay the gov. that money misappropriated. *ie: the wiretap officer who spent 25,000 on herself and other similar instances of spending tax payer money that was not theirs to spend*

    Hold those in office accountable for once.

    January 12, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Roger in Wilson NC

    I would ask the candidates: How much authority are you going to allow the vice-president to have?

    January 12, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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