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. Craig Shaver

    All candidates: Do you believe vice-president Cheney's refusal to reveal the names of those consulted in making the current administration's energy policy, and subsequent court fight to keep the names of those consulted secret was correct?

    January 13, 2008 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  2. bebe

    Mrs. Clinton said she was against making English our national language, because it would end Federal funding for programs that "help" with the language barriers. Meanwhile, many schools have lost teachers and not able to replace them, hospitals are suffering or closing due to the lack of funds. Do these "Federal Programs" help the middle class? Mrs. Clinton also wants to increase the number of visas per year to allow more Western Indians to come over to the US. This helps the middle class with job opportunities, HOW?

    January 13, 2008 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Timothy Moultrie , SC

    Health care costs have risen 50-100%, depending upon the procedure, in the past ten years. This is closely correlated with the increasing level of government intervention and regulation in medicine.

    However, laser eye procedures which remain wholly uninsured in the free wheeling free market have seen costs drop as much as 66% in the last five years.

    Why then is greater government involvement in medicine even rational?

    January 13, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Dale F.

    As a broker of insurance, I believe we are reaching a point where health insurance cannot continue in its current market driven, for profit state. Employers are making hard choices and having to do the one thing they can do and that is raise deductibles, trying hsa's( a benefit to only people with means), employing hra's, or doing away with their plans. It is wrong for healthcare to be treated and viewed as a capitalistic product when we do not choose, maybe indirectly, to use healthcare. If I pay $100 to go see Michael Jordan then he should be able to profit in any way he can, but I do not choose to go the hospital or to the emergency room. It is not a true supply/demand economic equation.

    Please ask the candidates of either dems or republicans what they would do with our healthcare system. Would they employ a single payor system, have every American on the Medicare system, have Universal Coverage or do they see an answer to the ever rapidly rising cost of healthcare?

    As I begin to watch the debates this one answer will be of high priority to me.

    January 13, 2008 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. MIchael

    For all candidates, please respond candidly and without rhetoric to the following:

    1. Of your time in political office, what is your proudest achievement?

    2. How can the voters be assured of your trustworthiness?

    January 13, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  6. Susan

    The public debt is over Nine TRILLION dollars and the highest amounts are directly caused by the defense department and health and human services.

    Will you continue to spend more money on these two programs without cutting somewhere else?

    How do you plan to manage the deficit and bring about a better economy for the US?
    What about the dangerous goods continuing to pour in from China, like toxic toys and fake prescription drugs? How will you pay for more and better inspections?

    No president has been able to completely eliminate pork from bills. Will you promise to actually 100% cut pork? I believe that pork is legalized stealing from other citizens.

    Do you agree that our present government is bloated, unorganized and out of control?

    Will you consider legislation that will prohibit the practice of allowing contracts to be awarded in which any government official has a stake, as in Haliburton & Cheny?

    Government is rife with fraud, abuse and corruption. Will you promise to clean it up as best you can?

    January 13, 2008 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. Anonymous

    It is really sad that many of the debates did not focus on education. Please ask them, in specific terms, what they would do.

    January 13, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. will

    Please ask:
    Both increased secrecy and expanded executive powers have been central to our current administration's domestic and foreign policies. Evidence for the invasion of Iraq was not fully disclosed, billions of dollars in no-bid contracts are awarded, domestic warrant-less wiretapping practiced, a suspension of international rules for the treatment of prisoners, and political manipulation of our justice system, to name a few instances. What are your views relating governmental transparency to democracy?

    January 13, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  9. Roger Fulks

    Which recommendations from the Iraq study group have not been implemented and why? For example has the National Police been moved from The Dept. of the Interior to the Dept. of Defense.

    January 13, 2008 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. Brandon

    To all:

    I appreciate that religion has not taken precedence in your campaigns, unlike the Republicans. I would hate to see another President place their religious convictions before the opinion of the people of this nation.

    Question – Will you place your religious convictions ahead of the people of this nation – this multi-national, multi-religious nation?

    Thank you.

    January 13, 2008 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Judy in Raleigh NC

    I'd like to ask all the candidates who they would appoint to the key cabinet positions in their administrations (state, defense, AG) or some other closed-end variation they can't fudge. E.g.,

    – we presume you have already given careful consideration to cabinet appointments. Name two.

    – if you were required to appoint one of the other candidates to your cabinet, who would it be and why?

    January 13, 2008 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. Roger Fulks

    What do you think of the UNITY08 movement?

    January 13, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Howard Miller

    When is he going to stnad up to and dis Bill Clinton for the hypocrite that he his?

    January 13, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  14. Chris

    Wolf, I hope you ask a question regarding their policy on basic science research funding. There have been extremely few questions about science in these debates, and no questions (that I know of) about science funding. Specifically, I would like them to address why the America COMPETES Act was not fully funded and describe in detail their vision for space science/NASA funding in particular.

    January 13, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. A.J.

    Barack Obama has shot into the political spotlight over recent years and that is a great thing for this country.

    However, in business and in life, if someone has only 2 years of experience, that does not generally qualify them for an executive position.

    I would like Barack Obama to explain why he should be elected as President of the United States, which some people would argue is the most important job in the country / world, when he only has 2 years of real political experience and no foreign policy experience.

    I would also like him to answer if he thinks he would be a viable candidate for President if he was a woman with his current resume.

    January 13, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Dwayne, Pa

    Wolf, I think you should give each candidate the opportunity to ask a specific questions directly to one of the other candidates.

    January 13, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Sue Reynolds

    Ask all the candidates if they were president would they allow some media coverage of our fallen soldiers' return home, unlike the current warmongers who want to cover it all up.

    January 13, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. LC Fossil

    As a 100% disabled Veteran of the United States Army, my first concern is for guaranteed budget funding for the Veterans Administration. We are forced to rely on "pork" funding and emergency requests to provide healthcare rather than have the assurance that we will not be ignored and left out of society.
    My other concern is for Persons with Disabilites. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed by President George HW Bush, yet those who live daily with the struggles of one or several disabilities are constantly reminded that they are not equal with those who have yet to endure a disability (the so-called "able-bodied". The parking spaces designated for the disabled are constantly callously taken by those who are too lazy to park another 25 feet away from their destination. The curb cuts are blocked by the uncaring and delivery drivers who are oblivious. When the authorities are called to enforce the laws, we are told that there is not enough manpower or resources to handle all these requests, i.e., it is not a priority. As the fines vary from $100 to $500 per occurrence for these violations, enforcement would provide enough additional income to eradicate the budget shortfalls for every state and locality. Housing and healthcare are lacking in every area of the country. Privately owned businesses, which are not held to standard by the ADA, frequently do not want to remodel or provide access even if economically feasible. Public and government businesses and buildings often spend more fighting the regulations than they do on compliance. Most disabled live well below the poverty level as they are not able to secure employment. Even though we are the largest minority in the U.S., involving every race and ethnicity, at 20%; we are the most discriminated against and least regarded group by persons at every level of economic status, race, creed, gender and nationality. What plans do you have to provide enforcement of the ADA and education to the public about PWD and to provide intervention, healthcare and housing to those who are incapacitated or less than able?

    January 13, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. june campbell

    (for all candidates)
    What experience ,outside of WASHINGTON experience, woutd qualify you and be helpful to you in the presidency ?

    January 13, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  20. James- Tampa

    Senator Clinton has been talking about her Economic package and how it will help the people. How is she going to pay for this with out putting the middle and lower class people into higher taxes and deeper into debt. She has voted for billions of dollars in spending in Iraq, big oil company breaks. But nothing that has help the working class people, she talks a good game. But she has yet to do anything to resolve the recession that lower and middle class people has been in since Bill was in office. I have always been a Clinton supporter, but here lately and comments made by both Clintons have taken me off the fence. I don't see her changing anything, other than trying to make her foot hole in history, the same as President Bush is doing now. Where is the difference between her and President Bush today.

    January 13, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. Robert Emmett

    I just viewed the questions from the noon hour yesterday (January 12) as I had submitted three or four questions for the candidates in the upcoming debate in
    S.C.. My questions are not posted so I'm asking why ? Please e-mail me with
    your response.

    January 13, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  22. Ed Posey

    Today we are seeing more and more major construction companies from other countries coming to the United States to perform major construction projects.

    Our government has allowed these construction companies from other countries to come to the United States to perform major construction projects that are using their regular employees who are only paying wages normally paid to their employees in their country and are not made to abide by any federal davis bacon wages established on federal projects or the prevailing wages of the area. They also do not have to abide by any federal or state OSHA safety regulations. Nor do they have to pay any federal or state taxes, social security, medicare, unemployement insurance or workers compensation as American construction companies are required to pay. Without any type of protections for American construction companies we may see more and more American jobs lost and standing safety standards eroded away by these construction companies from other countries.

    As an American construction worker I would like to know what each candidate intends to do about keeping the playing field level for American construction companies and American construction workers against the construction companies from other countries coming the United States to perform work.

    January 13, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Tameka

    I think experience is a fair area to explore as we ponder of who should be our next president. However, those with set actions tend to ignore potential better ideas, much like an investigator who will ignore the clues that points in a direction other than to the prime suspect.

    Of either of the topics, mainly the economy and the middle class, what are their plans for improvement, from who would they solicit information, and why? A true problem solver would assess the potential consequences and set backs, what would those be, and what are their plans to battle those issues?

    January 13, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  24. John from WV

    To: Barak Obama,

    Since the recognization of Israel as a nation, the United States has always supported them. They are the greatest ally we have in the Middle East. As having a Muslim background, will you continue to support Israel if you are elected, or will you support the Muslim's attempt to destroy Israel, and turn your back on them as a nation?

    January 13, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. Eric Warner

    Thanks Wolf: who ever is elected will be faced with huge challenges in the middle east, economy, health care and the environment. Please consider the following questions:
    1- Pakistan is a flash point. Bin Laden is hiding in North Pakistan, the Taliban is on the rise, and Musharef has been on the ropes for some time. Multiple nuclear bombs are known to exist. Many Americans don't know that Pakistan was once a part of British ruled Inida, and that the Kashmir dispute runs deeply within these two countries. How does America deal with this front burner issue in this complicated part of the world. Obama has said he would invade.... Others have talked loosely about diplomacy... since this is an issue that will likely face us how are these candidates going to demonstrate their Foreign policy experience and leadership in the example?

    2- Our econmomy has rested on consumer debt of late. Our latest bubble has been the real estate boom. Many mortgages were written with little of no money down, and there is a tidal wave of defaults that contiues to move through our economy. Specifically – what should be done about this? Why should the government bail these individuals out who lived beyond their means?

    3- I am voting for Obama or Hillary. Is it right to vote for one or the other of these candidates because they are black or a woman? This is such an important election given the challenges we face- what is the candidates view of this topic? I won't tell you whether I am black or a woman...

    Thank you

    January 13, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
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