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. donna

    I would like to know specifically, what they plan to do about the decrease in the value of the dollar and the extent of Chinese investment in this country.

    Also, please try and get them to actually answer a question instead of changin the subject or talking around the question.

    January 12, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Nathan

    In early September, I wrote to Senator Clinton and asked this question. She responded with:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with me
    via e-mail. I hope you will understand that, because of the volume of
    e-mails I receive from residents of New York State, I cannot at this time
    respond to messages received from residents of other states. I encourage
    you to contact your U.S. senators if you have an issue or concern that
    needs immediate attention.

    She was in the middle of a campaign for the Presidency of the United States at the time, and just because I wasn't from New York anymore (I spent 18 years there, which is more time than she has), she wouldn't answer me. First I'd like an answer to my question...

    What is her view on a quick pullout of troops from Iraq? Simple question, right? Being in the military for the last 8 1/2 years, I'd like to know how the candidates think on this issue. Should we leave a job unfinished (Al Queda/insurgents still abound throughout Iraq), or should we cut and run because we don't like it anymore? Ask all of the candidates this question.

    My next question is for Senator Clinton herself...

    Why, when you're in the middle of a campaign for President, wouldn't you answer a question from a constituent that relates directly to him/her (as well as hundreds of thousands of others like him/her) and will, at some point, help define their term in office, just because they changed their state of residency? Pesronally, it sounds like she doesn't care about people in any of the other states. Is this the attitude that the President should have? I would like to know.

    January 12, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Mark Holoubek

    I would ask the candidates accepting money from PACS, and corporations of any type while why they are doing so, when it has been clearly proven by several candidates that there cause is just and supported by the PEOPLE large amounts of money can be raised to support a presidential campaign. Also as there first act in office would they push through legislation that would eliminate accepting corporate and PAC money and truly return the control of the country to the PEOPLE.

    January 12, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Oscar Soares

    Do the candidates support strenghtening the border? If so how exactly?
    Do they support amnesty for illegal immigrants and sanctuary cities?

    January 12, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  5. Reuben Barker


    Please kindly ask all candidates the following question:

    "Since healthcare is an important campaign issue to all Americans, how would you justify and/or explain the fact that our elected officials enjoy the very best health care, but can't seem to offer at least the same or better to every American? Do you think this sends the correct message to taxpayers? Do believe this is fair, and in the "true" American tradition? And if elected, would you support the abolishment of taxpayer funded medical coverage for our elected officials, until every American has been provided equal or better coverage?"

    Thank you.

    P.S. Can't get enough of your show..."The Situation Room", please keep up the great work!!!


    January 12, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Larry Jackson

    I would like to ask each candidate to explain the most important legislative bill they introduced while serving in government that was later passed into law to help our country and its people.

    January 12, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  7. Darren

    Thanks for doing this Wolf. I would like to know, given the public knowledge that corporate america has a stranglehold on america and has infected our democractic government. Please ask Senator Clinton how she can still take money and support from these people. Thanks again.

    January 12, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    My first question: I want to know how each democrat will pay for their health care programs, social security/ medicare, education programs, new promised social/welfare programs, pay down the National Debt, and keeping the military as strong as it is with the new increases in the number brigades without raising taxes on the middle class as they did during the Clinton Administration?
    My second question is how will you win in Iraq and Afganistan without doing a Viet Nam Pull-Out and are you willing to invade Pakistan to get Al-Queda leaders including bin-Ladan?

    January 12, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. franco Zerlenga

    I lke to ask the candidates : after seven years Bin laden and Zawhari are still well and living in Pakistan protected de facto by the policy of Musharaff not allowing the americans go after Bin laden. What wil be your policy to overcame the resistance of Musharaff who does not want to give up bin laden becouse he is afraid to lose the american money once bin laden is eliminated. and the second question is what will be your polici toward Karzai, who is afraid to give up Imam Omar for the same reasons of Musharaff.

    January 12, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. nadeem

    For Hillary:

    In Iowa your husband recommended to student voters to stay away from the polls. In Nevada the Teachers Union that has endorsed you is taking the culinary union to court to prevent them from voting in the primary.

    In america where we encourage every person to vote can you explain this undemocratic behavior on the part of your supporters.

    For Obama:

    You claim your new politics of hope with end the political divide, can you explain exactly how this will be accomplished.

    January 12, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Greg Parker

    To All The Candidates:

    The Republicans talk endlessly about tax cuts and fail to mention cutting gov't spending. Here is a chance to prove that yours is the party of "change". What gov't spending should be cut? And by how much?

    January 12, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  12. Cosmo

    I have a few questions that I would ask:
    1) If you were president, what criteria will you use to fill your cabinet? I am assuming that you will want experienced people in those positions as well as fresh faces. Would you consider using fellow democratic presidential candidates for any of those positions?

    2) Very little has been said about education. What do you think are the top three issues facing education today? Will you gather input from teachers in the field from different educational methods to address our issues?

    3)The other day I saw a chart in Mother Jones magazine that shows the U.S. lags very far behind in fuel economy with cars and trucks. While our nation is shooting for an average of 35mpg and other nations are on track for 45-50 mpg in the next few years. What will you do to increase fuel mileage on all vehicles, increase public transportation, such as light rail, and reduce our oil dependency?

    AS the moderator, there has been such a focus on Iraq and war, but very little on social issues such as education, the environment, and social issues. It is time to put those issues into the spotlight and make them number one.
    Thank you.

    January 12, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Jim Petre

    I would like you to ask Sen. Clinton how her claiming that Sen. Obama is "all talk and no action," insinuating that he has changed positions on the war when he has not, and accusing him of providing "false hope" is any different from the false and misleading attacks Pres. Bush leveled against Sen. Kerry in 2004?
    And a follow-up: Is nominating someone who uses a campaign strategy of attack rhetoric straight out of the Bush/Cheney/Rove playbook really what is best for our nation right now? Is that what Sen. Clinton's "experience" brings us? Is that the "change" we need?

    January 12, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. donna

    Given the low interest rate, why is that people with consolidated student loans at higher prices are not allowed to get their interest rates reduced?

    For Hillary: Many people in this country will not vote for you because it would bring four more years of Republicans dredging up dirt about your husband. Explain how you will prevent this from happening and why the possibility of this occurring is not a reason for you to drop out of the race?

    Do you plan to abolish NCLB and do you think that gifted students are served by our current educational system?

    What do you think of the idea of public service post high school as a way to teach skills to young people and provide them money for college? If you think this is a good idea, how would you implement such a plan?

    Given that the President of Pakistan today told the US to stay out of Pakistan, what would you do if Bin Laden was at a known location in Pakistan if the President of Pakistan would not give permission for an attack?

    January 12, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Steve of NE

    Would any candidate repeal NAFTA and their reasoning behind the answer.

    January 12, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. Mark Holoubek

    Ask all of the candidates how they would prioritize the following top issues confronting the united states and what strategies they would put in place to solve the root cause of problem since they are inextricably interrelated.

    1 The economy
    2 Iraq war and national security
    3 global warming
    4 illegal aliens

    January 12, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. David Hegdahl

    All candidates agree that the border must be secure. Yet, at this point they are not.

    Would the new President be willing to call together all the governors from states that border any foreign country, including Eastern and Western states that boarder the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, within the first 90 days in office and ask each governor what it would take to secure their borders completely. Then return within 3 months with a plan to do so with the federal governments help.

    The goal being to completely regulate all US borders and entry points within 9 months from taking office.

    January 12, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Mrs. America

    Beloved pets have more rights than people when it comes to relief from terminal pain and suffering. Where do you stand on doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia?

    January 12, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. David Cooper

    Support for Israel??

    January 12, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Anita Ekren

    I am 49 have voted a straight democratic ticket since I was 18. Do I have to vote for a republican in order to get someone in the presidency that will stop illegal immigration?

    January 12, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. To Hillary Clinton

    For Hillary

    On one of Katie Couric's news interviews, one of the questions she asked all the candidates was which country is the biggest concern to you at this time. You were the only one to say that Pakistan was of the greatest concern to you at the time. Given your foresight into the subsequent events in Pakistan, I would like to know how you plan to resolve the US's involvement in Pakistan and the search for Osama Bin Laden?

    January 12, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Nancy

    1) After reading through the myriad of questions, it becomes obvious to me that how the candidates deal with the education of Americans should be a top priority. Please ask for elucidation on that matter.
    2) From where would you pull the people who will be your advisors?
    3) A personal issue to me: will there be a US if we don't act immediately to address the huge environmental issues – Of all the issues this is the one that can put an end to our country, physically. Of what use is Homeland Security if there is no "homeland".. And what are we , mother Russia.. where did this "homeland" stuff come from?
    What will the requirements be for the person you put in charge of the EPA ... what will their priority be, when will we wake up and realize that there is absolutely no need for cars that are the size of boats and trucks that can stop a plane.... we must change our attitude of entitlement to one of stewardship – everyone must sacrifice. The opportunity that Bush had to ask for sacrifice from us was squandered. If the opportunity arises, what would you ask Americans to sacrifice?

    January 12, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  23. Adam, Sacramento

    Many candidates use glittering generalities when talking about things I want o hear each candidates economic definition of what they mean when they say, "middle Class", Working Class", Rich.

    Are you middle class if you make 100K a year? Is working class economic or blue collar etc...

    Hard to know what they are really saying absent such definitions and likewise what they are promissing to the people.

    I suspect there are broad differences and the question should be asked of hillary first as she has intimated 98K a year is middle cass for a single wage earner previously in attacking other candidates social security repair plans.

    January 12, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. McCormick


    Wolf, since you and CNN are perceived to be so enamored of the Clinton candidacy, and consistently starve Senator Edwards of newsbytes, what guarantees the questions will not be leaked to Clinton beforehand?

    All the world will be observing very closely to uncover this whole charade as a set-up to make Clinton look sharp.

    By the way, we have already posted a couple of 'positive' comments about Hillary, which have been accepted. If this does not make it through, our suspicions are confirmed already.

    January 12, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. maryland

    Yet another question about immigration. All the talk I have heard is about illegal immigration and how everyone is going to change the policies and solve the problem...but I have not heard anything, from the democrats nor the republicans about the policy that exists for Cuban illegals... wet foot dry foot. Many Cubans risk their lives or dying, knowing that if they reach the USA they are free to enter. This has endangered and has killed many of those who attempt the trip. Why is it that this policy has not been mentioned or suggested for change.

    January 12, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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