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. JSterling

    We know since the 2000 election that the country has been so bitterly divided.

    Would any of the canidates be willing to pull moderate to liberal Republicans into their inner circle in order to bridge the divide and give a voice to moderate voters in both parties?

    I think in a large part President Bush Sr. and President Bill Clinton both demonstrated their ability to include and weigh the input of both parties. What are some of the specific steps that any of the canidates are prepared to take in order to allow the country to heal this bitter us against mentality that has been with us for almost a decade?

    January 14, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. I don't feel angry and disappointed by Clinton

    I think that Obama should respond with facts, not with saying that by addressing his record people are picking on him.

    he's attacked Clinton plenty of times and she responds with facts. Why is he playing the victim card?

    January 14, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. peggy prichett

    I would like to ask Hillary Clinton why she did not read the entire Intelligence Report before her vote to authorize George Bush to go to war with Iraq. Senator Bob Graham urged all of his fellow senators to take the time to read the full report, which he did, and then voted not to authorize President Bush to go to war with Iraq.

    During the many times that Hillary Clinton has been questioned about her vote on Iraq, no one has asked her this question.

    Thank you, Peggy Prichett

    January 14, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. georgia

    Why can`t the people ask "Smart" questions such as ,will you restore ANY of the constitution to its` originality?

    Why do you insist everyone have health insurance?Many,many people do NOT want health insurance because they do not want to be forced to take mandated drugs or vaccines.

    HR 418 is not a national ID,why do you really favor it?

    January 14, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. John

    This is actually a better question for the Republicans than the Democrats but this is a question I think every candidate ought to answer.

    What is it about Islamic culture in general and Iraqi society and history specifically that makes you think that a stable democracy can succeed there?

    January 14, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. Mr. Social Studies Teacher

    Since the middle 1990s, polarization in congress has progressed to an ugly, gotcha, and bitter rivalry amongst the divided Democrats and Republicans. WIthin this climate, the last name Bush and Clinton has been meet with a great deal of skepticism. Senator Clinton how are you going to break through this barrier to tackle serious issues that require bipartisan support?

    January 14, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. cindy

    To Senator Clinton and Obama

    Will both of you take a vow to stop reading sexism & racism in every criticism? Will you both take a vow to stop interpreting the 'meaning' behind comments and let the voters decide?

    For Senator Obama

    As you claim that Sen Clinton's remarks on LBJ and MLK were a slight to the African American Community, can you explain how so? Would we be where we are today without LBJ? Would we be where we are today without MLK? Didn't it require both?

    Why not accept Senator Clinton's assertion that no offense was intended? Why continue with this divisive dialog? You had an opportunity to quell this firestorm and openly accept her at her words yet selected not to Why?

    To Senator Edwards

    Why did you feel compelled to enter the fray?

    January 14, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Brandon from WI

    While I think that the notion of change is appealing to a great many people, I don't feel that it is really possible when there is so much animosity between the two major political parties in this country.

    Do the candidates feel that reaching out to Republicans is an important step to putting an end to partisan politics and enacting real change? How do the candidates propose to reach out to the opposition?

    January 14, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Bria Guck

    If it cost's ten dollars to produce a product in the US and four dollars to produce it in Mexico and three dollars to produce it in China, it s a bad business decision to make it in the US.
    what do you intend to do to make it a better business decision to produce products in the US?

    January 14, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Brian

    Thank you Mr. Wolf. Please Ask Hillary that considering since 1988 there has either been a Bush or a Clinton in office, what her campain can deliver to the american people that isnt more than just the same O'l politics we have had in the past 20 years.

    January 14, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Roxanne, New York

    1). Would you be prepared to replace Ben Baranske, as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank for adjusting interest rates more in hindsight rather than in foresight and for now demonstrating that his entire approach to managing this economy is more of a text book rather than a practical approach?

    2). How would you deal with the weakened US dollars, rising inflation and the need to raise interest rates on one hand to combat this and on the other hand, the Prime Rate crisses, the credit crunch and the need to lower interest rate to combat this. What is the magic bullet that you would use as commander-in-chief to tackle these two anamolies effectively.

    3) With most of you promising to raise the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour, what safeguards would you put in place to offset the high employement cost to small business owners like myself. Please speak extensively to this issue.

    January 14, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Michelle Freeman

    Who will end the war in Iraq now, and not later.

    January 14, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  13. Donny

    Wolf: Please ask them:
    How will you respond to the attacks from republicans this year that accuse democrats of being amoral, Godless, gun haters? Will you roll over and play dead like candidates in the past or will you give as good as you get?
    It's time for Democrats to stop being too "nice" and taking all the crap and lies that the neocons throw at them.

    January 14, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  14. Jim W.

    If they agree with what Barry Goldwater said quite a few years back (ref: todays Rep. being tomorrows Dems) and if so why are the Republicans so much like the Democrats of today? Where have the values of Abraham Lincoln gone?

    January 14, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Fran Teti, Wayne, Pa.

    Please ask all three candidates to "take the high road" in the coming days. I would ask the press and broadcast media to do the same thing.

    All of this discussion about race and gender takes the focus off the issues. We know that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama are not either racist or gender biased in any way. It seems that the Clinton explanations of BOTH of the remarks have been largely ignored by the media and the Obama campaign and Rep. Cliborne. this campaign is NOT about race or gender...these candidates are both very intelligent and caring. They do not need to be cheap as the press has characterized them. So

    January 14, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Dan

    The last couple weeks both parties primary is focused on CHANGE. Whether its from the candidates, the press, the polls, or wherever; that is all we seem to be hearing. While I believe this is what this country needs the most at this time; I am unsure how any candidate in this race is going to do that. Politics in this country is on the brink of chaos. If this country is going to turn around and start improving we cannot just change leaders of our country we need to change the way Washington works. I myself am a democrat from Ohio and I will vote for either Senators Clinton, Obama, or Edwards in the election.

    My question is to all of these candidates:

    January 14, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Linda

    For the past year, John Edwards through all the debates, town halls, and rallies has been consistently delivering the message important to the middle class such as jobs, the economy – possible recession, etc. Some might say that John Edwards has been the driving force for policy discussions. He really should get all the credit for working class issues.

    I would like to ask both Senators Clinton and Obama both:

    WHY has it taken them so long to do this? This has obviously been going on for quite awhile. . Aren't they both sitting Senators? One economic stimulas on Thursday and another this weekend. Gee, the economy starts hitting the newspapers and suddenly they have solutions – Pandering.

    I would like them to address why on issues so important to the middle class are they so far behind John Edwards and why they have been blatantly stealing his language. (Ex: Last debate Edwards says this is personal for me not politics, Monday before NH primary – Hillary says this is personal for me not politics) And there are numerous other examples of this.

    Any one who has paid attention through all the debates can certainly see that the working class did not become an issue with them till right before Iowa.

    January 14, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  18. JoCr

    For John Edwards

    In his speech on April 4, 1967, "Beyond Vietnam - A Time to Break Silence ", Dr Martin Luther King said "...we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered."

    What relevance does that statement have to us today?

    January 14, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Ron Hilsdorf

    I would ask all candidates how they plan to secure our borders, and how will they deal with illegal immigration. Thanks.


    January 14, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. David

    Considering 44% of the population pay no income taxes(low income citizens) and that the rest of us citizens pay for them through high taxation my question is this. Where will you cut taxes?

    Considering Mr. Walker, head honcho at the Government Accountability Office, has basically stated we are going bankrupt due to entitlement program obligations and out of control fiscally irresponsible spending by the US Government officials(thats you Washington D.C. politicians) my question is this. How will you afford all these feel good social initiatives you are proposing? Better yet how about you start talking about CUTTING government spending and getting out of my affairs. After all, I have to balance my checkbook every month...WHY DON'T YOU?

    January 14, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Jamie Wagner

    I would ask each of them: If John Edwards can make it a point to not except money from a lobbyist or special interest group, then why can't you? What is the point? What do they expect from you, and why did you except that money to begin with? Why would doing so not make the American people think that you won't have to pay any of them back with political favors and such?

    January 14, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Kshama

    The Office of the President of the United States is a serious job with serious implications and consequences for America in the modern world. It seems lately that the media is defining this election as the next "American Idol" as others have recently stated. It requires good judgment, sometimes swift judgment, even in opposition to others. If you were CEO of a company, what 3 qualities in an individual(man or woman) would you look for when hiring them. As you know much has been said that this next generation of young Americans expect to hold the top positions without having to work hard for it. Good judgment and experience both matter.

    To Mr Oabama – I have been impressed with your energy and oratory skills. However, your foreign policy experience is lacking. What specific thoughts and solution do you have to the current crisis we may face with Iran. You have stated that you would encourage speaking with the friends and enemies of the United States to solve some of the crisis in the Middle East. How can you speak with about a nation whose regime that has knowingly kept Americans as hostages(the Iran Hostage crisis) or has stated that they will wipe the state of Israel off the map?

    January 14, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  23. Bill

    Would you ask Sen. Clinton, how we would know that we aren't getting another 4 years of a Bill Clinton presidency.

    January 14, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. Dan Davis

    Dear Wolf,

    Over the past month we have heard alot about CHANGE. Unfortunately we haven't heard alot about how these candidates will bring about CHANGE. Electing the first woman president or the first african american president would be a significant change in Washington; however if this country is going to return to an era of greatness we need to not only change the leader of this country, we also need to change the way Washington works. This country is on the brink of chaos and the next president will have a rough time ahead of him/her. I am a registered democrat in Ohio and I will vote for either Clinton, Obama, or Edwards. We have heard alot lately about this primary turning into a gender or racial vote. I think that is absurd. The voters of this country should be thinking about more about the issues rather than the candidates likeability, gender, or race. Politics should be blind when it cones to wither race or gender; politcs needs to be about electing the most qualified person for the job.

    My question is for all three candidates and please give them the time they need to answer this question:

    We have all heard alot about CHANGE; however no one has really diescribed what they would do to bring about this change. Electing the frist female or african american president would be a change; however I'm afraid it won't be enough. I would like each candidate to comment on what their plans our if elected to turn around this country's economy. I want to hear what they would do in the first 100 days as president to bring about some quick economic relief and what other things they would do with the rest of their term as president to ensure economic growth and stability. I would like each candidate to respond to this question without using the word change in their response.

    January 14, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Kshama

    To Senator Obama: In this dangerous world of ours today, where one country has the ability to anniliate another with the possession of nuclear weapons, what specific details do you have as to how the US should handle the issue with Iran?

    To Senator Clinton: As an accomplished woman, mother, daughter, wife, former first lady and senator, what do you have to say to those critics that in 35 years your expercience is lacking. Please give 2 to 3 specific examples, of how you have helped changes the lives of others for the better.

    To All Candidates: How do you respond to those critics that suggest that a woman's tears, specifically Mrs Clinton's tears, before the New Hampshire primary, were fake. For those of you that are also married to accomplished women, when your wife cries or becomes emotional does it make her a stronger leader or a weak leader?

    January 14, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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