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. Jo Ann

    Wolf, I would ask each candidate what their definition of change is and how they plan to implement it. Do any of them think they can bring about change without the cooperation of a willing Congress?

    I would also ask them how they plan on uniting the country.

    This country elected "W" because he said he had "a plan" and the media neglected to force him to give specifics. Talk is cheap and anyone can speak in generalities, please make them give specifics. When they say they have a plan ask them what it is. Thanks.

    January 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. anne treasure, St. Croix, VI

    I would keep it off race and gender. They all have similar experience: neither of the three has been president, and each have had a term in the senate.
    This would be my question:
    Which one of you is most electable to Republicans and Independents and why? And which one of your opponents would make the best running mate, and if they make a good running mate, why wouldn't they make a good president?

    January 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Honestly

    I would ask them why the media doesn't report on the issue. For example, Clinton Rove and even the media say that Obama promises change but they don't know the plans. However, Obama has had forum after forum specifically addressing the solutions Iraq, Afghanistan, Al Queda, national security, health care, the economy etc. But it isn't reported widely. The voters in Iowa and New Hampshire got to hear some of this and that is how this relatively unknown Senator can compete with Bill Clinton for the nomination.

    Obama's experience is extensive – not as much as Bill Clinton's but it is extensive.

    Obama's plans are detailed, much more detailed and thoughtful than Clinton's. That is why Obama does so well. He has better ideas, better plans, and is a better politician than Clinton. But Clinton has the lobbyist money to squash change. We can stop that from happening. Go to the Obama web site and inform yourself. Then decide.

    January 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. David

    To all the candidates:

    As President, you will have the responsibility of appointing high ranking officials such as the Education Secretary and the Surgeon General, among others, who will have an impact on our science curriculum taught to our children and the medical and scientific community in general. Will you make sure that these officials understand that Darwin's natural selection principles are not something to be "believed," like religious or spiritual views, but rather the underlying principles that should be understood in order to better fight disease and medical issues, understand the relationships among the living creatures on this earth and properly educate our children in a technologically advanced era?

    Please note that I am not asking for an espousal of your spiritual views, rather comments on whether or not you are open or not to including aspects of belief in federally mandated or funded programs, such as education. "Intelligent design" or "The Theory of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" come to mind as examples.

    January 11, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  5. Daniel in NY

    The median wage of American workers is declining (12.5% over the past 30 years). However, the costs for many essentials (such as: fuel, health care, education, home heat, electricity) are increasing. Does this mean America's moment of progress over? What will each candidate do to reverse this trend? Can we?

    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  6. Nikhil from Austin,Texas

    Ask All candidates, When it take drilling, shipping and refining the oil before we fill it in gas stations, why is a gallon of milk more expensive than a gallon of oil.
    What are they going to do for middle class family, so the inflation is under control and its cheaper to buy day to day things we need to live in this country.

    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  7. Proud to be an American

    From everything I've heard on CNN and other cable news networks lately you will go easy on Senator Obama and Edwards and grill Senator Clinton, so I think this is a waste of time. She is being grilled by everyone, but I'm getting answers to my questions and that's how it should be. I still have not received satifactory answers to questions regarding the other two candidates. That is because no one is asking and demanding answers from them. They direct the question in other directions and the question never gets answered. When are the media and debate moderators going to stop taking sides and get tough with all candidates?Get the american people some answers and let the chips fall where they may. My position is still up in the air as to which candidate I'm voting for, until Primary day in my state on February 5th. I'm waiting for answers and if I don't get them then I will vote according to what information I did receive. There are 10 voters in my household alone waiting for anwers to the following questions:

    1. What specific changes will Senator Obama make?
    2. How will Senator Obama go about making these changes?
    3. How do each candidate stand on illegal immigration?
    4. Senator Clinton, how would you go about improving our image to other nations?

    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. RUBEN


    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Matthew Miller

    My question is Mr Obama but I'd like to hear all of the canidates weigh in.

    Mr. Obama,
    Having watched most, if not all, of the democratic demates thus far I get the impression that it is difficult to get moderators for the events who can control the flow of the evening while presenting an unbiased "no favorites" approach to their interaction with the canidates. This makes me wonder if our American Media has too much control over our political system. Obviously this country was built with the clear understanding that our people deserve a free press but in this day of cable news stations are we making a mistake by letting them not only report the coverage for your campaigns but to facilitiate the debates as well?

    thank you and best of luck in your campaign.

    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Lynn

    It is obvioust that Barack is black, should Hillary mention that she is White? That's ridiculous.. Barck Obama wants to bring this country together.. not black, white, red states and blue states, but the United States...

    I'd like for Wolf to Ask Hillary why we should believe her when she says she's ready to lead this country on her own terms, not Bill's?

    I'd like for Wolf to ask Barack why he thinks the American People should believe he's ready to lead this country?

    Why are they suited to repair our standing in the world? I'd like to know that too.

    Good ideas and innovative strategic thinking is what we need in the 21st century... not to mention sound judgement. Hillary has stolen every campaign position and strategy from Barack:
    1) She started with Experience
    2) He started with Change
    3) She then started with Change
    4) He always used you, and we, instead of I
    5) Now Hillary used you, etc..
    6) He brought young people into the process.. her photo opps were old, now her photo opps have more young people.
    My question is if she can't think of original campaign ideas, does she have any original and innovative ideas to lead this country, why should we believe that when she has stolen everything from Barack during the campaign.

    He's still with change.... and that's good judgement... he felt the pulse of America and addressed it. And that's because he is still "Normal." Imagine a whitehouse with no kids in it... scary.. No way to stay grounded and relate.

    And I might add.. In Iowa, he didn't just beat Hillary, he beat the former president and Hillary, and came within a hair of beating the double team in New Hampshire..

    I also want to know if this will be a shadow government? Who will really be running the show? NAFTA, will Hillary ,if she's so inclined do something about it , will she and risk jeopardizing her husband's legacy? Is so, who is she going to be the most loyal to, the American people or her husband? It's a scary thought, and we'll never know..

    So Wolf maybe you can incorporate some of this....


    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. Gray

    The Dems have been droning on and on about getting out of Iraq for years, Bush's "lies", and all the mistakes Mr. Bush has made. They have offered NO ideas or solutions to terrorism, other than the mantra , "we need to withdraw from Iraq", and the public and the press has allowed them to get away with this.

    I have not heard one Dem talk about the specifics of withing troops, a Middle East stragedy once we have withdrawn, and how he/she will deal with Alkida terrorists as they take a greater control of the region and our troops are sitting at home.

    Are the Dems in favor of isolationism? Before WWII, this was the sentiment. "That's Europe's war". Do Dem's believe we can manage terrorism throughout the world by "keeping to ourselves". Do they honestly feel they can negotiate with the President of Iran, as did Neville Chamberlain tried to do with Hitler before the war broke out?

    In my neck of the woods, Dems are thought of as being weak on defense. What assurances can they give the American public that "terrorism" is something they will deal with seriously? What are their specific plans?

    I am sick and tired of all the Dem's criticisms of Mr. Bush. Quit being divisive and come up with specific solutions.

    Mr. Blitzer, please don't let them get away with generalities. Get specific with each one of them.


    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. mjs

    I would ask Obama to explain his connection to Rezko, an indicted accused political fixer. Only ABC news has given this any coverage. See Sun Times article of June 13, 2007 by Tim Novak.

    January 11, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Mark

    Wolf, ask each candidate why they would be better/stronger come general election against the Republicans. Thanks, Mark

    January 11, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Mike

    Ask Mrs. Clinton why she is campaigning and married to somebody who cheated on her (Besides this her husband was a fine president)....and if this has any relevance to what she will do with terrorism?

    January 11, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Jimmy

    What is your full name? What is your religious affiliation?

    January 11, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Nick

    In past elections voter turnout in America has been shameful. This year in Iowa and NH, it was record setting. This is likely due to the multiple crises facing the nation.

    Other than not addressing them and/or creating more of them, what would you do as President to get Americans more energized and educated about government and willing to participate?

    January 11, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. jinishans

    My humble request to you wrt Moderation.

    Ask Obama – not to give lucture and show his oratorship in debate and waste his/our time. Ask him tobe specific to policies and his stand and how he would implement them.

    Ask Hilary – to avoid attacking Obama and not to give lecture about Experience and tell us about her stand on issues

    Ask Edwards – not to mention again and again in each debate and speeches about his father/mother's insurance and that one girl got affected by a Insurance Co. Let him speak about other issues apart from fighting against Insurance co's. We're not going to have 1 President for each issue and he's not in this race for Insurance President. He need to tackle all issues, not only insurance issue. Kindly tell him this before the debate itself.

    Apart from all these, tell the candidates before the debate itself, not to go for personal attack, dont ask about who's likable/not likable, which are not at all important for a president. List out all the issues from illegal immigration to ending iraq war, what's their stand and how they'll solve it. If not all issues, let them tell specifics of atleast TOP 3 issues and their stand on the same.

    (Also tell Hilary not to tell in the debate all issues are same for her for this question and tell Obama that how he'll change the course and not to try and mesmarize people in the debates)

    January 11, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. Siana Smith

    Hey fellow presidential candidates,
    These si to all of you especially Hillary Clinton. What do you think of the middle class in the U.S? Maybe if we could redirect the money sen tto sponsor the war we'd not even have th eillegal immigration issue, thereby th estrange comment your hubby sai dabout Lou Dobbs.Funny when you have you do not realise ho wdoes who lack suffer eh?

    January 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. janet

    Hillary, you say this race is "personal" to you. Personal as in many years grooming yourself for the oval office, as a celebrity, not as a "servant" of the people, This is not about your "personal" achievements, it's about what you have done for americans that have made a difference for the nation. So tell us what you have done specifically, to change policy for a better america? We know you were not granted a security clearance as First Lady, so please, as a "witness" and not a "doer" your First Lady experience is only supportive. As senator, what have you done for America that shows you are a "change Agent?"

    Obama....same question

    January 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Mike

    I would ask what their most (or top 3) meaningful accomplishment(s) is/are and why – and what that says about their ability to be President..

    January 11, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Rob, Shrewsbury, MA

    Question 1: Do you agree that the recent troop surge in Iraq has reduced violence and facilitated economic recovery?

    Question 2: If so, what is the logic behind immediate and unilateral withdrawal of our forces, as is your stated intention?

    January 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. MIke Thorn

    How about asking how being for civil unions but NOT gay marriage is any different than being for Jim Crow laws? Separate but equal? I think not.

    January 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. Jaanum

    Is Hillary running based on experience or change? it seems like both in this campaign. I guess she still likes to have it both ways like she did on the Iraq war. Is she counting Bill's years as president and governor as experience? I think she is running on experience because she's competing against Obama and Edwards although one could argue she does not have that much more than them. What would her experience argument be if Biden, Dodd, and Richardson were in a close race with her?

    January 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Denise

    Hello Mr. Blitzer,

    I would like you to ask Barack Obama specifically what is his game plan if he is elected president. Please do not allow him to side step and offer the hope speech, although beautiful I need a solid answer.

    Thank you.

    January 11, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. Matt

    Due to the number of spelling errors on this page I would suggest the topic of education be examined.

    January 11, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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