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. Katie Eckert

    This is something that I've been wanting someone to ask Hillary Clinton for awhile, but up until now nobody has, so I'm going to ask: exactly what were you doing 30 years ago, in the 1970's, that added to the experience that you now talk about today, in 2008?

    January 14, 2008 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  2. wakaman

    Mr. Blitzer,
    Please ask Senator Clinton what prompted her to change her campaign slogan form "Ready to Lead" to "Change you can Count on"? Isn't that trying to copycat Senator Obama's main theme?

    January 14, 2008 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  3. christine

    To Obama,

    If you are a uniter,if you plan to bring the American people together,
    If you are going to bring about change,how will you do this with
    the following issues that so divide this country.

    Abortion: Pro life v Pro choice

    Immigration amnesty v non amnesty

    buildup of military v no military buildup

    Welfare reform more welfare or less

    Free trade v limiting free trade.

    January 14, 2008 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  4. Nik Pappas

    I would ask the candidates if they believed the Big Corporations had too much influence over the Media. Other than Wolf Blitzer, Edwards has been largely and obviously ignored by the Media, even though he came in second in Iowa. Chris Matthews has painted a Hillary vs. Obama race from the start. I would ask the candidates if they believe election is really decided by and for the average American or by and for the Big Corporations. I personally believe there is no such thing as Democracy in America and that is why our country is in such poor shape.

    January 14, 2008 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  5. paul, nyc ny

    Sen. Obama, What is your solid plan for getting us out of Iraq, a war you were against but voted to fund, and what, if anything, would be your "in place" plan for the aftermath of what happens in the region?

    Sen Clinton, what is your strongest attribute besides "experience" that you bring to the table and what is Sen. Obama's?

    January 14, 2008 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  6. paul, nyc ny

    Senator Edwards, your comments lately in regards to Senator Obama verge toward patronizing as you put him up on a pedestal with every attack you make on Senator Clinton. My question is simple, Are you running for president or simply kissing "butt" to get the vice president job? And if the former is true, what clearly makes you a better candidate than Mr Obama, forgetting that Sen Clinton is even in the race for one second ... do not even mention her in your answer, please. Sell me on you and not on Sen Obama.

    January 14, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  7. Early

    to all:where do they stand when it comes to illegal aliens?what reforms the immigration laws can expect???

    January 14, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  8. Meredith

    I would ask how the candidates define what exactly they believe human rights are and what will they do as President to preserve these rights.

    January 14, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  9. Jacob

    I agree: ask about mandatory national service in exchange for college.

    I really hope this idea doesn't go the way of Richardson's campaign!

    January 14, 2008 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  10. Phil Grigg

    I remember in the 50's when Russia was threatening to spread communism through out the world, and more specifically to America, and I remember how we stood up to them and rejected that threat. Now days, it's America (this administration) that is trying to spread (force) Democarcy on the Middle East., and they are rejecting that.

    My question is, do you also believe America should continue this administration's policy of trying to spread Democarcy to countrys that just don't want it?

    January 14, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  11. RC, Florida

    Wolf a question for Sen. Obama:

    Sen Obama:

    You seem to be making your opposition to the Iraq war from the very start, a key point in your current presidential bid. At face value and by your own words you seem to be the only one that has opposed President Bush's position on this very unpopular war. In fact in 2003-2004 while campaigning for the Illinois Senators seat, you spoke out against President Bush's position and vowed not to vote for an additional 87 Billion to fund it. Yet since being elected in 2005 you have voted on 4 separate occasions to provide an additional 300 Billion in funding, thereby supporting the presidents position and ignoring the majority of the constitutes wishes that voted for you based on your opposition to the war. This seems to be at the forefront of the Congress's low approval rating. This doesn't appear to us as representing any significant "change" in Washington, just more of the same. One of your opponents, Sen. Clinton, recently acknowledged to voting for the additional funding and in doing so, seemed to show us something that has been missing in Washington for far to long. Accountability. So we have to ask why you continue to insist on being the only one that has opposed the war from the start, even when your voting record shows glaring inconsistencies to that stance? Your record also shows that you voted no to S Vote 2766 in June of 2007, which would have set firm withdrawal dates to get our soldiers out of Iraq. The media has not really made the public aware of these issues, so I was shocked to uncover these differences in what you said in relation to what you actually did. I have witnessed many politicians get called to the carpet for much less. As this very important election looms near and many Americans are trying their best to make an educated choice for who is best suited to lead us out of these very trying times, we really want to know how you truly feel about this issue, once and for all. If you are for leaving our troops overseas or cannot see a clear way out of the predicament, then please stand up and tell us so. If you are as opposed to the war as you speak of, then please outline your plans on how we can start to distance our soldiers and our great nation from the horror of the past six years......

    Thank you...

    January 14, 2008 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  12. Frances Blalock

    Please ask the candidates how their plans for health care for the poor involves the medical professionals. Surely the doctors in their professional status have ideas for medical care for the indigent that don't require layers and layers of bureaucracy. Tax credits to the providers of care for the indigent and low income families might be more desirable than insurance.

    January 14, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. Phil Grigg

    I agree with Mike Peterson and Carol (Jan 14 @ 1:31 AM). Please make sure you press the illegal imagration issue with ALL Democratic candidates. Also, what do they plan to do about the 12+ million already here?

    P.S.: Wolf, thank you for asking for the peoples issues. I would like to believe you will place priority on the peoples issues over any issues the news media wants you to raise.

    January 14, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. CA

    Hillary : Please detail 35 years of experience and your accomplishments in those 35 years (try to avoid things you worked on that didn't pass)

    Obama : Please detail education reform

    January 14, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. James Brown ( Independent )

    Wolf ,

    I am an Independent voter that is deeply concerned about two things;

    #1 The Democrats have pretty much got a free pass thus far in regards to illegal immigration , and i really hope you will try to get details from each candidate on just what there views are on this issue , because when we get to the general election , this issue will become a hot topic.

    #2 You really need to address the Clinton's smear campaign tactics , they are getting away with some very underhanded tactics.

    January 14, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. JimmyK

    I would simply ask each candidate if they believe that don't ask, don't tell is working for our military and can they explain how it is working? If they think it is not working, explain what they would do to fix it.

    January 14, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  17. Jean

    I wold like you to ask Senator Obama to explain why he chose to vote "present' instead of taking a position 130 times in the Illinois State legislature and also why if he thought the vote naming the Iranian Guard a terrorist organization by the U.S. Senate was so terrible, why he did not show up to vote against it.

    January 14, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  18. Carl

    I used to be proud to be an American. The Bush administration has changed all that. He turned our country into an aggressor nation without UN approval and he alienated long time allies such as France and Germany. IF YOU were elected president, what would you do to make me proud to be an American again?

    Carl P.
    Port Jervis, NY

    January 14, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  19. Julia H.

    I am a recent college graduate and looked around and saw that the job market was kind of sparse. Because of that, I am getting my masters degree hoping that when I get done with that our economy and job market will be a lot better. What do you say to students like me and recent graduates who have tremendous amount of student loan debt and no jobs? Is there any hope for us and is there anything you have in store to help us if you become President of the United States?

    January 14, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  20. Kumar Narayanan

    The ability to bring together camps with diverse agendas and vewpoints has become crirical for progress on key legislation in Washington.

    This is for Senator Clinton:

    The only large project of significance that she attempted during Clinton presidency was the Universal Heath Care Project. By all accounts, one of the reasons it failed is because of Mrs. Clinton's inability to get people behind a common purpose. In fact her actions and her association with this noble cause has resulted in giving UHC a bad name and reputation.

    What has the senator done since then to show that she can bring large groups of people line up behind a common goal? Why should we trust that she is capable of this, given all the evidence we see is of a person that is almost as mush a "divider" as the current president?

    January 14, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. lcb

    Thank you for this great opportunity.

    Obama, his speeches are about the hope for change. What does he want to change? How is he going to apply the hope for change? How is he going to calm down his supporters and campaign workers who are constantly getting offended and making everything a racial issue? What the heck do you really stand for? What have you done in the senate, if anything, besides speaking (I understand that you give great speeches) that we can examen to see what you are made of? Why, if you say you would not have voted for the war in Iraq, do you keep voting for the blank check funding? Why are you so ready to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants? They are draining us, the middle class of our state resources, and you want to reward their actions with a privilege? You have been endorsed by two groups that support amnesty, do you stand for amnesty for these illegal immigrants that laugh at our laws and drain our resources? Explain yourself? How do you plan on regaining our standing in the international community? I know that giving good speeches will not work, strong leadership is what we Americans need. What is your solution to stabilizing the middle East? Please no hope here, I want real tangible solutions. What is your health plan?

    Clinton, she says he has found her voice. How does she plan on getting our economy back on track? She has been sounding the economic problem what are the plans she wants to implement? How does she plan on getting our standing back in the international arena? The Middle East is completely unstable do to Bushes policies and arrogance, what are you prepared to do on day one as President to ease the tensions created by this administration? Illegal immigration is a big concern. Illegal aliens come here and drain our resources, such as: schools, medical services; what are you prepared to do to stop this? The middle class is the one shouldering this burden. How are you, as president, going to deal with this issue? In Florida, I hear the Cuban community say that in their country everyone knows about "la ayuda", "the help", meaning they come to Miami and apply for every government help...from food stamps, to healthcare, to special school programs, that drain us. How is this fair to those of us that pay a lot of money in taxes and insurance, and have been working for years pouring into the system so some illegal can use it? What , as president, are you prepared to do to stop this fraud? This is happening all over this country. How will you deal with this problem?

    Edwards, what is your standing on illegal immigration? Do you stand for amnesty? How do you plan our putting our economy back on track? How do you plan on dealing with the banks, mortgage companies, appraisers, and the public that hold responsibility for the mortgage meltdown and thus affecting our economy? What does your health plan do? As president will you go to war with Iran?

    January 14, 2008 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. William S. Robinson

    In 1899, W.E.B. DuBois said that "We must endeavor to eliminate, so far as possible, the problem elements which make a difference in health among people". This was a statement that was the result of nearly two decades of attempting to move this country to address the plight of Blacks who were already exhibiting the disparities in health that remain more than 100 years later. The current paradigm to address health disparities is to do so by conducting research, research on issues the differences that were known more than 100 years ago.

    My question: "What will each of you do to shift the paradigm from the current imbalance toward health disparity 'research' to one where those that work with communities can actually 'implement' and expand programs that are proven to work to change the behaviors that lead to the disparities we claim to be addressing?"

    January 14, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. Mike

    I would ask each and every one of the Democratic candidates just exactly why they think giving citizenship to those 12 to 20,000,000 MILLION llegal aliens that have poured into our nation is a good idea and just exactly how they think this is going to help or hurt the low wage earners that are American citizens??

    January 14, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  24. debbie

    Wolf the question I, and probably millions of others, would like you to ask the candidates this question:
    Do you advocate taxing US citizens in order to provide services and benefits to people living in this country illegally and if yes Why?

    January 14, 2008 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  25. KC, Florida

    Wolf question for Senator Obama:

    Sen. Obama:

    We have been watching the news this week, including the horrific situation unfolding in Kenya. Considering that you have many relatives, including your grandmother, in some of the affected villages, what would be your intentions towards Kenya, if you were to become President?

    Thank you…..

    January 14, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
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