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. james mcmahon

    Dear Wolf:
    I live in NYC and take the subways frequently as do millions daily. There is absolutely no screening upon entering the subway. It seems to me that it would be amazingly easy for a criminal to bring explosives, dirty bombs and/or chemicals into the trains under the city. The effect would be catastrophic, much more devastating than the horror of 9/11. I worry daily for myself and my family and fellow citizens.
    There is constant talk about securing our borders, ever increasing airport screening, but what about securing our waterways and ground transportation and underground transportation? Do we need another massive catastrophe before we begin to come up with some ideas?. I would appreciate it if you would ask the candidates if they had any concrete suggestions to protect the millions of citizens who use such transportation daily, day and night.
    James McMahon

    January 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  2. Nathan

    As an educator I am very concerned about the state of our educational system. The No Child Left Behind Act is making more difficult for teachers to do their jobs effectively. Not only has this act given school impossible goals to make every single student proficient in every area, but places all responsibility on the teachers and schools if we fail. This act was created with our students in mind, but only scratches the surface of a more dire situation. This situation has to do with families. Children today have too much burden placed upon them and schools have been given more responsibility to raise children. This responsibility used to be placed upon parents and now it is in our hands. Not that long ago only one parent needed to work to support a family. Today, there are too many people just getting by or struggling to get by on miniscule pay. This burden trickles down to students that then affects the entire class room environment. I would like you to ask the potential candidates what they will do to help revise NCLB? How they will help schools with funding in all areas of education not just Math and Science? What they will do to help struggling families? How they plan on helping people to become more technologically literate and how we will pay for this service? Especially, when most of our funds are being directed in the wrong direction.

    January 13, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Michael Root

    To any of the candidates:

    As a former United States Marine, I am now attending college full-time. Unfortunately, due to the stresses placed upon our military, many veterans in their last four years of inactive duty face the very real possibility of involuntary reactivation. Keeping in mind the devastating consequences of such recalls, do you feel these are necessary ?

    January 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  4. elonguy

    Do you think their will be any repricussions for an immediate withdrawl from Iraq?

    January 13, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Andrew Warthen, Arlington, VA

    My question to all the candidates but particularly Sen. Obama:

    If, after entering the White House, it became apparent that withdrawing from Iraq within a year would mean the collapse of Iraqi government and a talaban-like dictatorship would fill the void, would you still favor pulling troops out?

    January 13, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  6. Judi Wright

    Question for the candidates in particularly for Obama and Hillary. Are you required to know the Constitution and laws and do you know that America is a "Land Of Laws" , it doesnt appear that you do , you are pandering to the Illegal Immigrants to the excess of appearing to be traitorous to the American people, do you not know that We The People do not want amnesty for the Illegals and that Reagan administration made the amnesty in the 80's The Amnesty of all the Amnesties (translation= NO MORE AMNESTY FOR ILLEGALS) and do you not remember that you work for We The People and have no right promising this kind of thing that the people are against, you are instigating bad feelings trying to force this Illegal Immigration amnesty on We The People , our country is in enough problems without people like you promising them the American dream that you are taking away from We The People. As a lifetime Democrat I am going Independent, it is more of Bushism on both parties.

    January 13, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. Kristin

    Please ask the candidates whether they would support expanded debt cancellation for the world's impoverished countries so that the money now used on debt repayment can instead be used to pay for education, health care and clean water.

    January 13, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. Anthony

    Mrs. Clinton,

    On Sunday former BET CEO Bob Johnson made some pretty mean comments about Obama. Some of his comments left a great deal of room for interpretation. Why didn't you immediately denounce his comments?

    January 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. s layne

    I would like Mrs Clinton to detail her 35 years of experience. Is she including her years as the spouse of the governor/president? If so, what programs/policies (other than the health care program) was she responsible for. Was she a decision maker in the White House for decisions such as NAPTA, failure to becomes involved in the genocide taking place in Africa, (for which Bill Clinton apologized after he was out of the White House), etc. On the other hand, I applaud her work for children. I believe that she has, in fact, been a fighter for children for many years.

    I simply want a break down of her experience and what decisions she was a part of that she is proud of and what decisions does she regret were made when she was in the White House.

    I would also ask that negative campaigning cease to be a part of this election. All of the candidates should stick to educating us about what they plan to do instead of pointing fingers at each other. We are smart enough to listen and see the differences in their plans; and to choose the one we think would be best for our country.

    January 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. moeen

    1. Is that the BIGGEST fairy tale Bill Clinton EVER heard? And that is out of how many fairy tales in his life time?

    2. How is one person voting YES is same as another person voting NO on the same issue? Sorry Hillary that is over the hill for me.

    January 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  11. Adam SC

    Ask Obama who he would want for a running mate if he HAD to choose one today, and make him answer it. If you can, slip in Biden's name. It is the strongest ticket the Democrats can put out there.

    January 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Jackie G

    I would ask Mr. Obama if he agrees that President Clinton's use of the phrase "fairy tale" while campaigning for Mrs. Clinton referred specifically to Mr. Obama's claims about his stance on the Iraq war? I would more importantly ask Mr. Obama if he has any answer to the actual substance of Bill Clinton's criticism that Mr. Obama is running on a false story of consistency with respect to the Iraq war.

    January 13, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  13. shivarpana

    I am a physician in prectice for the past 35 years. For the past several years, physician autonomy has been severely undermined. Non-medical agents at the insurance companies decide what medication can be prescribed and what procedure and when it can be done. Time spent on paper work and phone calls are staggeringly high. I am not even sure, if the presidential candidates are even aware of how difficult and frustating it is to practice medicine these days. What do any of the candidates plan to improve this frustrating situation for health acre professionals.

    January 13, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  14. Kaveh

    There is a lot talks over how Obama is only talk. I would like to know how Obama is planning to make changes in practice, how he will bring democrats and republican together (as he claims he will), and how in practice he will fix the economy.

    January 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  15. Anthony

    Mrs. Clinton,

    Oprah Winfrey stated, while campaigning for Obama, " Don't let anyone try to convince you that wisdom inside the walls of Washington is more important than wisdom won from decades of public service fighting for people." What is wrong with that philosophy?

    January 13, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. moeen

    1. Mrs. Clinton can you please tell us where does the 35 years of Experience come from, particularly helpful to run a presidency. If just working at any job counts as experience then pretty much any candidate has anywhere between 25 to 50 years experience. After all, your work in Education at Arkansas, the state came out ranking 49th. Please don't use that experience as a basis of your candidacy.

    January 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. Phil Grigg

    The problem with "the economy stupuid" is NOT minimum wage, wellfare, or health care. The problem with "the economy stupid" is; Corporations that take money out of the pockets of their employees in the form of real wages and benifits and lines the pockets of it's corporate executives and CEOs with outrageous salaries and monetary bonuses, and worries more about it's profit margin for it's investors that the employees that helped it achive those profits. Also, corporations are shipping jobs overseas to get cheeper labor.

    Question: As president, what can the Government do to curb corporate greed for it's executives and CEOs, and stop the export of American jobs?

    Here is a suggestion; fix tax loopholes for the rich executives so they pay their fair share. How about a profit windfall tax for large corporations? (the oil, medical, and insurance industries come to mind) How about tax credits for corporations that take some of those corporate executive salries/bonuses and give more of it back to it's working employees in the form of bonuses. Instead of minimum wage, how about make those bonuses for the working class tax free?

    January 13, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Joe Maher

    You should ask their candidates what type of officials, or who specifically, they would appoint to their cabinet. Furthermore, how would they use their councel(including both the counsel of their appointed cabinet and that of the American people through traditional avenues of other elected officials, media, and public organizations) to guide their decision making process? Specifically, would they see themselves as the ultimate authorities or adhere to public interest?

    Obviously, or President cannot be so egotistical that he or she cannot listen to reason. However, I think it is important to know what source of counsel the candidates would or would not let guide the important decisions they are sure to encounter.

    Thanks for asking, Wolf.

    January 13, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Skeptical in CO

    If Hillary Clinton is the democratic nominee, and is elected, we will then have Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton.

    For at least 24 years the presidency will have been in the hands of just two families.

    Is this a democracy or an aristocracy?

    January 13, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. Joe Maher


    Many of the Democratic candidates have laid out complex plans including adding funding to many social programs in need, which I can respect. I know that eliminating the war in Iraq will free up federal funds, but also don't think it's financially prudent to count on those funds being readily available. Therefore, I'd like to know what type of tax adjustments, if any, the candidates believe might be necessary here. Tax raises are never popular, but the American people have a right to know what foreseeable costs are in their future.

    I know this issues also came up in an earlier debate, but many of the candidates took the opportunity to discuss other goals to raise federal funds. I was hoping for a clear cut answer on the issue of potential taxes.

    January 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Lorraine

    My question would be directed to Mr. Obama. As a Republican who recently made the liberating change to Independent, like most Americans, I've been watching the candidates closely. Mr. Obama's message is change. So we all are clear, I would like for him to give us 3 examples of the way things are now, and how he'll change it so as a country, we all can benefit (in other words, give a side by side example). I'm also concerned to know how he plans on removing lobbyists out of Washington? Does he plan to revamp the constitution as well?

    Thanks so much Wolf for the opportunity. I love your show as you always do a fabulous job every day.

    January 13, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Thomas Richerson

    I would like to know what the candidates would do to fix the trade deficit that is now going on with china, and protect us from the flood of defective products from china.

    January 13, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Joe Maher

    I have a question for Senator Clinton regarding her health care reform plan,

    Most of my friends and I are young, healthy people who don't currently need medical care. From what I understand from your plan, we would be required to purchase health insurance, adding to our already skyrocketing monthly expenses. I appreciate Mrs. Clinton's aide to those struggling to meet their expenses, but how does it help them for people like me to pay more money to the insurance companies that already profit from the broken system?

    Please try to touch on this, Wolf. It is the main reason many people I know are scared of Senator Clinton's health plan, and if it isn't true I think she deserves the chance to correct the misconception.

    January 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. sam moritz

    Why did we go into iraq in the first place. Bush senior didn't take out saddam in 91. One of the reason for him to keep an eye on Iran. If Iran is the big bad guy. Why did we go after them. I have ask everyone I know and no answer.

    Thank you

    January 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. Vinny-Conroe,TX

    Ask any or all of the candidates this:

    What will be more important to your administration, securing our borders and ports properly, or rewarding all illegal immigrants with citizenship (after something lame like paying a fine, doing 50 jumping jacks etc.) and specifically HOW they plan on accomplishing their choice?

    January 13, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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