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. Christine

    To Kim:

    If Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were both white men, I would vote for Barack Obama. Hillary continually changes her stance, lies about her experience, and then resorts to crying in order to make herself not look cold and calculating. These issues alone would not make a good president, female, male white or black.

    Plus I don't want her spouse continually whispering in her ear. Enough with the dynasties!!

    Ask the candidates whether they feel it is a good idea to have two families running the country for 24 plus years.

    January 12, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  2. Mrs. America

    Do you think Osama bin Laden will be caught or killed right before the general election?

    January 12, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Charles

    Wolf, ask Oboma to explain in detail without just saying " we need change" what does he plan to do with the economy and Corp. America. What makes him think he has the experience to be our president with these pressing. Times i think we need someone with alittle more experience than being a first term sentor.

    January 12, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Norm C

    For all candidates:
    How do you feel about media excluding Dennis Kucinich from debates.
    Please address specifically GE owned NBC doing a turn around and now excluding Kucinich from debate in Nevada. Address if you will the role of military contractors in elections.

    Please address also the role of insurance companies in campaigns and your solution to health care crisis.

    Finally, what do you think of CNN not covering the NBC exclusion of Kucinich in Nevada.

    (Wolf–somewhat rhetorical questions. Pose any or all of them if you dare. Thanks for considering these.) norm

    January 12, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Virginia in Austin, TX

    To All Candidates: You are essentially being interviewed by this country for the role as the President of the United States. Instead of campaining on your points of view on the important issues, if we had to consider your qualifications based on your resume of previous experience (as we would if this were an actual job interview and not a campain), how strong of a candidate are you? For example, in a job interveiw, I'd ask about your eperience dealing with foregin leaders; Your years of political experience? Your experience in leadership roles? I'd want you to give me several examples of how you have brought about change in your past roles, and how those changes have made an impact and their success over time.

    Second, To All Candidates: Choose one of your opponents to be your Vice President and why.

    January 12, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  6. Zoe Roff

    I would like to know what these candidates would say to someone who believes that Democarats' compassion manifests itself in nothing more than expensive government programs providing hand-outs. How will you change your approach to compassion by "teaching a man to fish" as opposed to "giving a man a fish"?

    January 12, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Andrew Patchell

    I would like to know what are some of the key differences in what the candidates want to do in the White House. They all want change, but I want to know how one candidate's "change" is different from another's.

    January 12, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Gary

    For all democrats:1) What facts are there that make you so confident that if we promise to leave Iraq, that this will make the Iraqis start working to fix their own problems and the factions in Iraq will begin to start negotiating amongst themselves?. 2) If during the gradual troup withdrawal, fighting begins to get worse will you continue to withdraw the troops?

    January 12, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |

    You both campaign on being candidates who are not following the old rule of Washington, yet both of made the decision to follow the DNC and deny Michigan a full ballot of candidates. Following the DNC over the voting voice of the people of Michigan seems to be following the old rule of Washington rather than the renewed direction of "by the people, for the people." Why would you choose to leave Michigan voters without their voice and without the right to choose you specifically, and I am not talking about being able to vote uncommited (that seems to be an insult)? Why didn't Michigan matter to you, Obama and Edwards?

    January 12, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Domingo Pacheco

    I have a few points for Mrs. Clinton. (1) I am interested in a point that has been glossed over recently. For quite a while she has refused to say she regrets the vote she cast which sent us to Iraq. While the evidence was seemingly sufficient, others had judgement to either vote no or stand up and say no. But what, IN PARTICULAR, led her to vote yes. Not that the whole word thought Iraq had WMD, something specific. For Mr. Obama, the same, but from the opposite vantage point; what SPECIFICALLY led him to say no. (2) Ask her if she agrees with Bill that Obama's campaign is a fairy tail, with a simple yes or no. If she says no, move on. If she says yes, in any way, grill her on why. A fairy tail is something that shouldn't happen by odds. A fairy tail implies a dreamy person. So are the odds stacked against Obama, in her mind, and does he just dream? And then give him a chance to respond.

    January 12, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Judy

    I would like to know their plan(s) for protecting the Homeland. During most the debates thus far it has basically been an absent topic. Without a safe homeland, we really cannot enjoy education, health, economic security or anything else.
    Thank you Wolf.


    January 12, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Poli

    For all candidates:

    If elected President, do you swear to uphold the sovereignty of the United States of American? How much power, if any, are you willing to turn over to the UN?

    Will you uphold your duty to uphold the Constitution and defend the US against all enemies, foreign or domestic?

    Have you even read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

    January 12, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. TO OBAMA

    Why is your slogan of being the candidate of "history" any different or better than the "historical" candidacy of Senator Clinton? What is historical meaning of yours and what is the historical meaning of hers, specifically?

    January 12, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Laurie Dell

    Ronald Wilson Regan, William Jefferson Clinton, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, George Herbert Walker Bush. Each of our Presidents were also known by their middle names. I would like to ask each of the democratic candidates to tell us briefly, what their middle name is and who they are named after.

    January 12, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. CR

    There is a financial crisis in this country just waiting to boil over. The mortgage issue is a big one, but even bigger, explosive and more hidden is credit card debt. All of my friends are college educated, own homes and have good jobs.... but most of them carry credit card debt in the $30-50,000 range. Credit card companies make it too easy for people who are already in over their heads financially to obtain additional cards which only adds to their problems. Some of these people are saying that they aren't going to pay their debt and are trying to figure out ways to get out of paying back what they owe. It all comes down to personal responsibility, an attribute that seems to be leaving the American personality with each new generation.

    What will you do as president to stop credit card companies from giving credit to people who can't pay as they go. What will you do about people who refuse to pay their bills, yet keep on spending? Many of us do pay our financial obligations or make the hard changes necessary to live within our means. Is our rabid consumer orientation a negative or positive attribute as a nation?

    And if individual citizens should adopt a pay-as-you-go mentality, shouldn't the government operate under the same principle. (Balanced budgets, etc.)

    In keeping with the consumer theme, so many products now a days aren't made to last, resulting in things being thrown away and filling landfills. What can be done increase the life of consumer products? Get people to re-use things (for example I wash out zip-lock bags and re-use them until they get holes in them and then I recycle the plastic).

    Would you as president charge a sur-charge for plastic bags like the Chinese have just done as a way to get people to use re-usable bags (canvas, etc.)?

    January 12, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. John Templeton

    Ask them what they would do to increase the number of African-Americans with Ph.D degrees in computer science, a high-demand field, from 175 in the past 35 years and from an average of 3,000 to 4,000 bachelors degrees yearly by requiring colleges which receive federal research grants to educate more black students in science, engineeing and math.

    January 12, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Valerie

    My question would be directed to John Edwards:

    For just over a year you have been holding town meetings all over the U.S. and I have attended a few of them and as with any presidential candidate promises are made to the American People only to be forgotten once elected creating a society that is cynical about the issues we hear discussed.

    Without talking about "change" or "experience" can you tell the American People why you are the best choice for President and what issues you feel are the top priorities once you are elected?

    January 12, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Laurie Dell

    For the democratic candidates: Should you receive the democratic nomination for President, who would say, as of today, would be your top choice for your Vice Presidential Running mate.

    January 12, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  19. Laurie Dell

    For all candidates: Since learning the lessons of hurricane Katrina, would you turn back time and make FEMA the top and first responding agency for a national disaster or keep the current policy of Homeland security being the primary responder?

    January 12, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. paige

    I would like to know what they would do about illegal immigration. For some reason they keep getting a pass on this question. I usually vote republican but
    I am open for another candidate. I lean towards being an independant. Also
    I would like to know how they are going to keep jobs in America instead of so
    many going to India etc. Also the ceo's get richer and the middle class are getting
    poorer because they keep taking away all their benefits if they don't lose their
    job. Between that the gas prices the food prices we keep getting the shaft.
    Yes it's the economy stupid.

    January 12, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. still have hope

    Please ask the Democrats, will they please turn off EVery Child left behind and ensure that they want to bring back the opportunity for children to get a real education, not an education built upon filing in dots on tests that do not measure the true education a child should get.
    Also, Senator Clinton was the only one to say that within 6 months if elected, the troops would be sent home, I want to know what would the timetable .. a value in a number of the time it will take all the rest of them to say when they will bring our troops home!

    and one more thing.. would they put more ambition in getting Bin Linden due justice than what the Bush regime has failed to do.

    January 12, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Christopher

    I would ask Hillary Clinton:

    If you do become president, you will be entering office with the most power since FDR took office. Not to mention, there will be a good chance that the democrats in congress might have a 60 percent majority. That being said, how will you as president refrain from the abuse of power, when this country is so bitterly divided between republican and democrat. How will you as president work with republicans in office when in your stump speeches keep refering to them as 'The Republican Attack Machine'?

    "Absolute power corrupts, absolutely"

    January 12, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Kenneth Coles

    Considering that both Hillary and Barack are historic canidates, my question would be simple. As the first legitamate African American and as the first legitamate female seeking the oval office, wouldn't it bring world shattering change on both the international front and at home if the two of them joined forces for the general election. Also, I would ask if they would go on record and say they would not rule it out. This is important because if the two them join forces it not only will combat the international theory that America is not diverse politically but it will also show the true meaning of the American Dream and the greatness of our democracy.

    As an African American my vote depends on who barack or hillary picks as their running mate. If the two of them do not join forces i would be inclined to write in my vote

    Thanks Wolf

    January 12, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  24. TO OBAMA

    You give inspirational speeches, and I credit you for that. As an English teacher who is trained to remove the impertinent information from the substantive information in order to actually grade the content, I find that, although inspirational, you earn a poor grade for content. In other words, if I use a red pen to cross out the “fluff” (sorry for the term), I am left with very little content to grade which proves your thesis.

    Let’s go back to school and state your thesis and the three very specific points that prove your case. Detail and clarity is the key to a good grade in my class.

    Each candidate can answer, but the question is specifically for Senator Obama.
    Thank you.

    January 12, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. Jack From Chicago

    1. Question to Sen Obama:
    Some of your supporters, including MSNBC hardball Chris Matthews suggested that race might have been one of the issues you lost in NH, do you think the race will play an important role in SC primary election where African American account for about 50% of the votes?

    2. Question for Sen Edwards:
    I, like many other people, had inspired by Sen Obama's speech, and believe he can be a great president. However there are big concerns that Sen Obama will be teared apart by the other side and lose the general election if he would be the Dem's nomanee, such as the following issues are for sure will be brought up ...

    . His stands to fix the social security – tax richer people
    . Supports giving the driver license to undocumented immigrants
    . His land deal tied to fundraiser Antoin "Tony" Rezko, whom was indicted in October on influence-peddling charges – Mis-Judegement as Sen Obama puts
    . And the race card that other side is for sure going to play

    What's your comments on this as you have been recognized by many that one of the most likely candiate to beat the Republican? As you see, the result could be very brutal here if e lose in Nov. , the country may be devided again, and for sure will be more war in Iraq and perhaps Iran as well, the economic will be continuing on disarray ...

    January 12, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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