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. Jeremy Fisher

    Martin Luther King Junior has long been considered the leader of the civil rights movement. President Johnson should be given credit for signing the Civil Rights Bill, which took great polititical courage. However, historically we know that President Johnson did so under heavy pressure created by figures like Dr. King. If Martin Luther King Jr. had not given his life for the cause of civil rights the bill would not have been signed. Isn't it disingenuous to attempt to give a white president the bulk of the credit for a movement driven by the blood of black leaders?

    January 14, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Tommy G

    The American people need Washington D.C. back representing them instead of more of the same unproductive garbage that has been going on my whole life.

    The Clintons are again trying to turn Washington into an episode of Jerry Springer. They distort fact and position of their opponets to hide their own weakness.

    1) Clinton voted for the war and all war funding. Where does she get off saying anything about Obama's position on opposing the war, but chose to fund the troops which were sent by her vote and others? She covers up her own inconsistency by saying Obama voted against the war, yet funded the troops and is a flip flop. That shows he had limits to what he would do to stop the war, which fell short of not giving our people body armor , food and water, or bullets. Most people understand this humanity to not hurt troops for bad policy. She is worse to vote to send all these guys and get a bunch killed then give up on them for popularity to win her party nomination. It is easier to define Obama for Hillary, than to define herself and her reasoning for her votes.

    2) She says he is inexperience, and that is why we need her. Where does 35 years of Washington experience come from? She will technically have 8 years of Senate experience (2 were spent running for President). All the rest of her experience was unelected office. She was First Lady (but Bill was elected), an advocate, and an author among other things...which is where the 35 years come from? Unless she is adding Bill's with hers this is not right. Show me this fuzzy math!!!! She keeps saying it and people are believing it. Please show me 35 years of running government. She could not even get us a Heathcare under Bill's administration, now she runs on being best for "Healthcare". Why didn't she do it last time if she could do it? Did she think leaving "to do's" helped us?

    Obama has 8 years in State Senate and 4 years in US Senate (2 were also running for president). By my math neither are all that much more experienced than the other, yet Clinton seems to try to define him rather than herself. How did she become "Experience"?

    I am not saying vote for Obama, but she is distorting facts more often and more severely than Obama has and her pundits are being negative for her benefit and this is very bad for Americans. She needs to stop that and also not let Bill talk for her. We all have our impression of Bill, but it is not about him this time.

    January 14, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Jeremy Fisher

    Senator Clinton,

    Do you believe that the civil rights bill would have been signed if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other black leaders had not lead and fought for civil rights reform?

    January 14, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  4. Robert Hammond

    Senator Obama,

    Why is it that when you win in Iowa in a close race- it is celebrated by your campaign as a bright shining light of hope and change, yet nobody mentions that no woman has ever been elected to any major office in the history of Iowa! Not the House, Senate or Gov, yet your win in a close race is a bright becon towards the future without a mention of those facts, yet when Senator Clinton wins in New Hampshire, suddenly racism is injected into the discussion, as well as her having an emotional moment after a tough campaign. Why is it that you winning Iowa is a bright new sunshine for change, yet her winning in New Hampshire brings out the darker side of politics? Sout grapes Senator Obama?

    January 14, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  5. Rita Policarpo

    During the last 7 years it has been very hard to find out about what our government is actually doing. Everything is spin, spinning and spun again. I only want two things: competence on all levels of each Department and HONESTY with OPENESS. Can you and will you do this?????

    January 14, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Clinton is not ill-advised

    Clinton is not ill-advised. I think she believes black people are a more intelligent than Obama gives them credit for. Martin Luther King knew that when skillfully employed, both direct action and legal action become more effective.

    Of course they do. That's what Senator Clinton is trying to say! "Martin Luther King's dreams began to be realized with the passing of legislation by the President."

    What's wrong with that?

    And I don't think there's anything wrong with Johnson referencing Obama's earlier years. It's the truth! While Clinton was working hard and doing things the right way and advocating for the black community, Obama was NOT. Whatever he says in his book – emotional soul searching, healing his father wound through snorting cocaine and alcohol abuse, applying to school, – whatever –

    it wasn't what Clinton was doing.

    I think that rather than saying he is being attacked about his past, he should clarify what he did do. (NOtice how he has not)

    Instead of saying he is being attacked for his Iraq record, why doesn't he explain to us how he can say that he did not vote to fund a war that he said he would never fund?

    I don't understand how he can argue facts that are not to his favor and then say the Clinton camp is picking on him.

    I don't think he is responding profesionally.

    January 14, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Jeremy Fisher


    Throughout this campaign you have implied on numerous occasions that woman should vote for you based on your gender. Barack Obama is also trying to make history, yet we have not ever heard his campaign imply that any voter should vote for him simply based on his race. Do you believe that woman should vote for you because you are a woman or do you believe that every voter should vote for the person that they believe is the best candidate?

    January 14, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Marsha G

    Ask all the candidates – Who would be in support of a law that would decrease our oil usage by encouraging telecommuting? The law would be simple:
    Any employee who can, and wants, to work from home should be allowed to, and any employer with an employee that works from home full time is exempt from paying workman's compensation insurance for that employee.
    Within a couple of years we would see a 10-25% decrease in the number of commuters which will have a greater impact on our oil dependency, greenhouse gases, and road congestion than any other plan currently available for the short-term. It would be a boon for businesses, for the working class, and for our nation.

    January 14, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. felix dzumah

    will you pls ask the democrats especially obama what the are doing so far about the kenyan crisis ? are they going to sit down and wait for it to escalate into something else before they start talking about it? we need kenya and a stitch in time saves nine

    January 14, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  10. Patricia

    Why was Hillary a Goldwater girl as she calls herself, when African Americans were demonstrating with Martin Luther King to get the right to vote and to go to schools of our choice, not to sit in the back of the bus.

    Why was she endorsing a Racist Republican?

    Why is she blaming Obama supporters for answering her attacks. She is playing Karl Rove slash and burn and I dare you to answer me or I will label you as using the Race Card.

    Why did she use the Gender crying game card to get women's vote after telling them:" WE CANNOT GO BACKWARDS WE HAVE TO REVERSE THIS" meaning my N.H. women you have to vote for me to stop this Black man from winning the election. It worked

    The Clinton's have played the lying game. gender game and the race game and just cannot believe the ground root swell against her and b elieve me Obama had nothing to do with my emails. The Clintons did.

    January 14, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Jeremy Fisher

    All candidates,

    This country is torn apart. We need someone in the White House that will not only lead, but who will help heal the rifts between Americans. This can only be done through bipartinsanship. Please name three Replublicans that you would consider for a position in your cabinent.

    January 14, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Ron Fowler

    Please ask the candidates their position on revoking the executive decisions and signing statements President Bush used to sidestep the laws passed by Congress.

    January 14, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Marsha G

    Ask all of the canidates – Who would support changing the law so that elections are held on Saturdays? It is grossly unjust to have voting restricted by making the voting happen on workdays when most people have limited ability to reach a polling station within polling hours. Yes, I know there are other ways of voting, but wouldn't it be simplest to just vote on a Saturday?

    January 14, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Christopher Kloss

    All of the candidates have used the word "change" very loosely in this campaign. Mostly referring to our outdated and inefficient political system. I would like to know how we can change our political system, while still participating in that system that we all have so many complaints for? With technology now a days, we are not in dire need of representatives as we were in 1776. We can communicate with people across the world in the blink of an eye. How can we use this to our advantage so that everyones voice gets heard in America, and not just a select few that make the dough?

    January 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  15. Lisa

    Wolf, please ask about the war, the war and the war.

    January 14, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Jason

    In a sea of everyone campaigning a motto of change, here's a question for you to ask in the debate: "In order for the American public to believe that you are the candidate of change, tell us what you have done to change the status quo in leadership positions you now hold or have held in the past?" I think the American people are tired of hearing false promises on education reform, healthcare reform, etc. when nothing ever gets done! The Democratic Congress was elected to office on the same mottos of change, yet there have been no major changes in the War in Iraq, healthcare, the economy, etc. which is why their approval rating is one of the lowest of any Congress. Maybe our politicians think we are ignorant and will vote for a candidate based upon what we hear them saying, however we are getting smarter to their tactics and are tired of hearing the same empty promises of change if they've never done anything to change the status quo in the past.....as the saying goes....actions speak louder than words!

    January 14, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Stuart

    I would ask the Democratic candidates, the following:

    I believe nothing is more important than electing a Democratic president in November. Personally, I would be happy with any of you on the stage as our next president. However, you and your campaigns have been so busy criticizing each other of late, I am concerned that you will divide our party and ensure a republican victory. Here is my question: Will each of you, tonight, follow a new Democratic 11th commandment and pledge that neither you nor your campaing will go negative on the other Democratic candidates in the race?

    January 14, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. Jeremy Fisher

    Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stephens turns 88 this year. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turns 75 this year. Justice Stephen Breyer turns 70 this year. Justice Souter turns 69 this year. All of these justices have philosophies generally considered to be in-line with the Democratic Party. The other five justices all have philosophies in stark contrast to the views of the Democratic Party. If you have the opportunity as President to nominate justices to the Supreme Court what specifically would you look for in your nominee?

    January 14, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  19. Mary


    Note to previous comments:

    It is of vital importance that all receive a college education. Many have not
    and look where they are today. We complain about other countries. Is not time
    to educate, feed and take care of our own?

    January 14, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. tim

    if you become the democratic nominee, what will be your response to the inevitable republican charges of you being a big government, high taxes, socialized medicine proponent and liberal?

    January 14, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Vanessa Edwards Foster, Houston TX

    Over the past 25 years, the disparity between haves and have-nots has increased - most dramatically in this millennium: Corp. profits have hit record levels in this "economic recovery", meanwhile lower 90-percentile of America has seen sharply rising costs, more demands for productivity and nothing but stagnating wages, outsourcing and offshoring along with a resulting low consumer confidence and an oncoming recession. As corporate America and the top-tier do well and nothing trickles down to the rest, is there any possible way to reverse this trend and bring more balance to all segments of American society - and if so, how?

    January 14, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Michael


    I would ask both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton to discuss why they should be elected President, however a caveat would be that Senator Obama cannot use the words change or hope, and Senator Clinton cannot use the words experience or change.

    January 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Michael

    I would like the candidates to explain SPECIFICALLY what they would do to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, including what punitive actions would be taken against corporations who engage in the practice.

    Thank you

    January 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  24. Mark Russell


    How many Black male staff hold key positions in your campaign?

    How many men hold key positions in your campaign?

    My own experience has been that many "liberal" white females are often dismissive of or fail to include the thoughts and perspectives of independent thinking and articulate Black males.

    Does your campaign staff reflect a diversity of race and gender from all categories?

    January 14, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Vanessa Edwards Foster, Houston TX

    Give us your thoughts on whether you would urge passage and sign a nationwide non-discrimination law that includes everyone - even the transgendered - and an explanation of why?

    January 14, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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