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. Mike

    I would ask Mrs. Clinton exactly how much of a impact Mr. Clinton has or will have once she is in office. Or even before

    January 14, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  2. bob


    can you let the candidates make a closing statement as it would add a traditional element of debate back to these forums which has been lacking and with a narrowed down field is appropriate since we all want to hear what the candidates vision for the future of this country is about and based on?

    January 14, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  3. Carol

    Will you support a bill that would clarify the 14th amendment and strike down the "anchor baby" clause, and demand that only children born to citizens of this country be called citizens?

    Will you support enforcing all immigration laws and holding all employers accountable by making the e-verify or basic pilot program of identity verification mandatory and requiring all immigrant work visas to have a biometric identifier?

    Will you support denying federal monetary support to any city which allows "sanctuary status" to illegal aliens?

    Will you support making English the OFFICIAL language of this country and stop conducting all local, state or federal government business or printing forms (everything from driver's license applications, medical forms, voting ballots) in any language other than English!?

    Will you demand an end to bi-lingual education and demand all immigrants to this country have the required "working comprehension" of reading, writing and speaking English before they are allowed to enter the country to work or live?

    Will you support a federal bill that will deny driver's licenses to any illegal alien in any state in this country?

    January 14, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  4. Pete

    To all canidates, you all talk about change. I want to know how each of you will change Americans moral values that are getting so out of control.

    January 14, 2008 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  5. isaac

    i watch u guys from morning to night ,if am not working, the election is like a movie,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, i love it. well i really wish i could ask clinton a question, i think she in the old school, she been in the white house for 8years,is that not enough for her, what else policy does she want to bring forward. i bet if she wins and becomes the president, she wil be there for 8 yrs, i guess they are grooming their daughter for that position also, i bet they are not tired of the white house.

    January 14, 2008 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  6. Q.G. of Georgia


    For Clinton: Ask her to explain her backing by Robert Johnson with his controversial record as head of BET, as it relates to the empowerment of women. Is there not a blatant conflict of interest, especially when trying to reach and solicit votes from African American women? The misogynistic programming on BET seems antithetical to all women; a core pilar of Senator Clinton's campaign.

    For Obama: Give details on his work for whistle blower protection and voter rights in Illinois. Ask him to provide the origin of his economic plan and give details for promoting job growth.

    For Edwards: How will he reshape corporate governance, and promote job growth for US Citizens vs immigrants (H1B in particular)? What are his plans to end dependence on foriegn oil and promote alternative fuels?

    January 14, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  7. Anonymous

    To the field:

    What specific measures will you implement in the first 100 days to ensure the transparency of intent and action in the office the has so sorely lacked the past eight years?

    January 14, 2008 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  8. Tyler Flint

    The No Child Left Behind Act is a great piece of legislation that was passed, but it has been implemented horribly by the Department of Education for the last five to six years. If the act were fixed in a few ways and implemented throughout the country in a more efficient manner, it could work for all students one way or the other.

    But there is one big question I have concerning NCLB and minority students, because there is a big difference in the test scores of white, black, and hispanic students.

    When you (Obama, Edwards, or Clinton) are elected to office, how will NCLB be fixed so that the ethnic gap between the predominately white schools and predominately minority schools can be closed, especially regarding state test scores?

    January 14, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  9. James

    My question is for the top three candidates.

    I hear a lot of talk, from the political directions, left and right, but no one seems to honor the oath to represent AMERICANS when they take office, so my question is three part:

    1. Is it true that governmental structure is based on the majority vote?

    2. Would it be your position as president, to honor that structure as an elected representative of the American people?

    3. If not, Why do you feel your better qualified to represent Americans, when your position is contrary to the structure that has governed America since its inception?

    Thank you
    James (Los Angeles)

    January 14, 2008 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  10. C.M.

    To all candidates:

    You are all very involved individuals who have shown zeal and pride in your respective bodies of work for this country. If you could go back in time, into US history, and become involved in the process of change, knowing it would impact American citizens today, which moment in our history would you choose? What does this moment say to you about American values, and how would you choose to incorporate these values into your potential presidency? Remember to play nice, and be honest.

    -C.M., IL

    January 14, 2008 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  11. George

    I would ask Mr. Edwards why he gets so little coverage, such as the CNN poll that shows how Mccain , Huckbee , Rudy , and Romney , would do against Hillary and Obama. They excluded Edwards even though he came in second in Iowa and third in NH. Seems like he is routinely getting less coverage than he should be. Might be some corporate bias at play. I would ask Mr. Blitzer the same.

    I was wondering if these are all the questions submitted for Mr. Edwards

    January 14, 2008 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  12. Stephen Boardman

    A president is often only as effective as the range of intelligent advice he (she) receives.
    My question for Edwards, Obama and Clinton: Which individuals have you sought out thus far, and who would you consider including in your administration, to help formulate your views and positions on policy, both domestic and foreign?

    January 14, 2008 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  13. Mario Estrada

    Mister Blitzer, I do have a question, and they weigh heavy on my vote being a California independent.

    REAL CHANGE, starts with ETHICS REFORM, Washington has become the place of influential addiction, where everyone is more worried about being legal as oppossed to being ethical, and millions of Americans are hurting as a result.

    To Mr. Edwards, You mention fighting the lobbies, and I believe on some points you would do that, but on others you may not stand strong for Americans, Illegal Immigration is an example, how do you make 12 million illegal aliens, most of whom are low skilled, legal and change the dynamics and the effects it has on the quality of life for Americans, without giving lobbiests what they have been bidding for?

    Senator Clinton, you already know that we have a immigration problem, and I mean a big one, and it may take a strong leader to stand up and just say no, enough is enough, If you were president, and you had actionable intellegence that illegal immigration was a hardship on Americans, with common sense telling you that catagorizing them as legal would not change the conditions on the ground, what would you do?

    Senator Obama, we really do need fresh blood in the whitehouse, Americans have been sold for mere pennies on the dollar, but like Clinton, you supported the so called comprehensive immigration reform policy that the Senate attempted to push through, and we later learned that it would have been a failed policy. which tells me, that you two didn't really investigate the potential dangers of your votes, before you voted. That is a scarey proposition, knowing that our next democratic president may be just as reckless as the republican president in office today. with that being said, how would you make sure Americans were not pushed back in an effort to move other nations citizens here illegally forward?

    January 14, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  14. Zach

    The United States is one of the last remaining industrial powers in the world to not allow openly-gay people into the military. What I would like to know is what each candidates position is on this issue and why they think the currently policy should stay intact or be abolished.

    January 14, 2008 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  15. Michelle Smith

    As it stands now every attack or negative comment about Obama results in someone saying it is racially motivated. Will Mr Obama tell Sharpton and his ilk to backoff and not bring up race? As an American Citizen I have the right to critize a canidate without be labeled a racist.

    January 14, 2008 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  16. R Stanwell

    From the look of things mrs Clinton you are running the type of campaign Bush senior ran in '92 and Obama is running that of Bill Clinton because Bill said then that it is not only experience that counts but also good judgement. What makes you think it is different this time?

    January 14, 2008 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  17. teresa radford

    I am a registered nurse who has spent much of her adult life educating people about the realities of abortion and working to provide assistance to women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies. This single issue has been so important to me that I have never voted for a presidential candidate who was not strongly anti-abortion; therefore I have historically voted republican.

    I now find myself embarressed and horrified by the lack of caring our government has demonstrated for innocent peoples being tortured and killed around the world; whether they be from Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Lebanon or Africa. For the first time in my life the abortion issue will not be my priority issue. I am not only willing but planning to vote for a Democrat or an Independent in the '08 presidential election. Please ask the Democratic candidates if and how they see themselves working collaboratively with "prolife" citizens like me. It is my desire and dream that we become a nation that strives to protect the innocent of the world, whether they be born or unborn. Thank you

    January 14, 2008 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
  18. karin dicker

    i want to know what the candidates would do to repair the people that were thrown into the streets to fend for themselves when Reagan did his closing of mental health facilities.

    Also, when will they close Gitmo? I just read they added another campside by Gitmo in case they need room for 10,000 more people quickly. Why are our tax dollars going to build this (it is almost finished) and not health care for children and the needy.

    How are they going to deal with the mess that is called Homeland Security with all its employees and all its incometence?

    Nursing homes for boomers who will be getting on in years. What do we do with people that have no family, no children?

    I am disabled, and the way medicare is now structured I cannot afford help with my prescriptions because I make 20 dollars over amount needed to get it. I have chronic Hepatitis C and I am disabled at 60. How to the elderly and barely poor get the help they need? I cannot find it anywhere?

    So much more – why are we spending all the money for a mistake in Iraq? What about us? I grew up being a proud American – now I feel like I have to apologize for being an American.

    Try buying any clothes made in America?

    January 14, 2008 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  19. karin

    i am a 60 year old woman with hepatitis c- i live on social security disability and make about 15 dollars more than would let me get help with prescription drugs. If someone did not let me live for free, how could I afford to live in California? This is all I have..my monthly checks and I qualify for no help. I have been working all my life – since I was a kid. Why has my government forsaken me?

    What do you do about the mentally ill who got thrown into the street in the Reagan era? He closed the hospitals and the help. Why are there homeless all over this country?

    The boomers are going to need long term care? Are they just supposed to die? Even on medicare I have to pay hundreds to the hospital if I have surgery. I had thyroid cancer a couple of years ago – what am I on a fixed income, supposed to do?

    If someone did not let me live for free, I could not afford rent, medicine, food or anything else. I used to be proud to be American, now I find myself apologizing for being one to foreigners. Has anyone tried to buy American???

    January 14, 2008 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  20. karin

    one more thing...how do we make the Homeland Security dept. credible again? What a joke that behemoth has become. How do we really get it from being one big incompetent agency that has way too many employees and turn it into the best? In what priority is your securing the ports (to all candidates) and all the other things the Bush people did not do, yet touting how they were better on terror issues. Hardly anything has been done since 9/11 to make the ports safe, to make us safe. We have a lot of scenarios where Homeland Security has really failed us. How will we be safe yet be able to concentrate on domestic issues. and if someone is fired at 56 yrs old from a job they had for 20 years or 30 years – how do you retrain them? what are they supposed to live on? this is so depressing. How do we make America loved in the world and a becon of light for its own people.
    Re: questioner above. Who cares about middle names?

    January 14, 2008 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  21. karin

    re" this question from elle above
    January 13, 2008 4:44 pm ET

    This question is to Senator Obama:
    Is it true , if elected President of these United States, you would not put your hand on a Bible to be sworn into office?
    Since all our previous Presidents have done this, please explane to me why you would not do this and why , if you choose not to, you think we should elect you President.

    answer: elle you are talking about someone else – a muslim congressman. Barack is a Christian. I am Jewish – what kind of question did you ask above ?and explain is spelled the way I spelled it.

    January 14, 2008 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  22. Brian

    Why don't we simply put every American into Medicare and then allow anyone to buy additional "add on" private coverage to the extent that they want it?

    January 14, 2008 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  23. Ernest E

    Mrs Clinton, does it bother you that the independents and republicans voting on the democratic side are not voting for you but your opponents?

    January 14, 2008 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  24. Tracy

    Mr. Obama, You scare me. How can you make promises you can't keep? Yes you are a smooth talker, you draw people in, you say you are going to unite all Americans or we are going to unite all Americans. How can you make that promise? You don't have the experience i believe you will need to make America a better place. You use all the right words but you are not backing up how you will make us united. How can we possibly trust you? Do we take a leap of faith? I don't believe taking a leap of faith will unite America. You say your for change but how are you going to make a change with no experience? I want a president who can stand up to all the people, someone who has the experience to be challenged and stand up to those challenges everyday. Someone who is on our side and is true to their word and doesn't make false promises. Someone who doesn't talk smooth and someone i can beleive in. Because smooth talking people are usually phoney people.

    January 14, 2008 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  25. boscokool

    Wolf, Would you please bring Sen. Clinton's 35 years of experience in to light, to my memory she has been a Senator for less than 2 terms. Also can we you ask her about why she and her husband don't believe in having hope for our country.

    continue the great work

    January 14, 2008 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
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