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. Steve Hardy

    The baby boom generation is now beginning to retire. As this generation continues to age, there will be an unprecedented strain on the national budget that continues to grow year after year for many years to come. I have read predictions that taxes must increase and that social security benefits must be cut in order to keep the social security system solvent.

    My question for the candidates is to please describe their perception of the magnitude of this dilemma, and the importance of addressing it sooner rather than later. The second part of my question to the candidates is "If you believe this issue should be addressed in your administration, what specific steps do you propose to deal with this issue and what affect do you think these actions will have on the younger generation of workers now entering the workforce?"

    January 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Ken Warren

    Often a politician can play both sides of an issue due to the bills they are voting on. Often a politician says that the legislation was not perfect, but it was a start. Other politicains say they voted against a bill for the same reason – it was not perfect – I believe we owe the American Public a perfect law.

    My question is would you fight for "Clean Legislation"?

    That is ammendments to a bill are only allowed to focus on the implementation, financing and funding of the resolution that is being looked at. Ammendments that have nothing to do with the actual bill should be ignored , tossed out and not allowed. Thus if an earmark can stand on its own, money would be appropriated, if the earmark has to be attached to good legislation to get funding it should be vetoed and the bill it is attached to should be vetoed as well until the questionable ammendments are removed.

    Clean Legislation makes better politicians and better laws.

    January 14, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. David P

    How come nobody asks the question we are all chomping at the bit to know...

    What's the deal with Hillary and her "husband?" Usually, I would say this is far from appropriate and none of our business. But it was made "our business" when the conservatives brought it to the attention of the nation, and when Bill decieved us.

    Does she condone extramarital affairs? What is her position on her husbands various affiars? Is thiers a marriage of convenience and business, or love?

    If this is too "sensative" for her, then that should be noted. If I were republican I would be ready to pounce if she ends up the nominee.

    January 14, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Vijai Elango

    The price of tomato has risen from 50 cents a pound in summer to 2.8 dollars a pound as of this sunday. Similar to tomato, milk and most other vegetables and fruits are on the rise. There is so much discussion going on about providing health care but wouldn't it be prudent to control the rising cost of essential vegetables and fruits and help the people eat healthier food?
    Prevention is better than cure, if people are able eat healthy food at reasonable prices, they may not worry about paying their medical bill or health care program may not get so much attention in elections.

    January 14, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Robert New

    I'm tired of the innuendoes about Obama, i.e., if he were elected he would not say the pledge of allegiance to the American flag, he is a Muslim, etc. I know you see all the negative stuff about this online. I don't believe it myself, but for the many I correspond with who do believe it, please delve into it and ask the questions in such a way that we get the truth of it and not more vague remarks.

    January 14, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. pam Eugene OR

    No more softball with Hillary. No questions about her taste in jewelery. That was pitiful, blatant bias. Please try to be fair to all the candidates.Please ask Hillary to give us a detailed outline of her 35 years of experience and I would like to know if they money has all been returned from her Chinatown dishwashers?

    January 14, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Marc Cardinal

    There are some good candidates this year. Too bad the more deserving ones don't have a shot because the media pays too much attention to the frontrunners.
    By the way, my vote is for Ron Paul – one of the only politicians who doesn't play the politics game. He is the straightest shooter out there and it is a shame that the politicians who lie to get votes are the ones who get ahead.
    How about talking about Ron Paul and talking to Ron Paul some more?

    Marc Cardinal

    January 14, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. Dan, NJ

    Senator Clinton,

    An email was circulated by your campaign in Iowa spouting lies about Senator Obama. In New Hampshire, statements attribuatble to your campaign (1) implicitly accused Senator Obama of dealing drugs, (2) invoked a reference to assasination regarding JFK, MLK and Sen. Obama, and (3) called Sen. Obama a "fairy tale." A lawsuit filed by Clinton supporters in Nevada is attempting to close certain caucus locations. Now, a high profile Clinton supporter has made another drug reference.

    Putting aside defenses or justifications to each of these situations, there appears to be a pattern of behavior here and where there's smoke, there's fire. Do you endorse or condemn these types of politics? If you condemn them, how can you better lead your campaign to prevent these tactics or fight the perception that your campaign engages in these tactics?

    January 14, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Nic, Minneapolis, MN

    I would like to know where the candidates stand on the issue of teaching "Intelligent Design" in Science classrooms?

    January 14, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. H. Roberson, Freeport, FL

    For Clinton and Obama:

    All progress is change but all change is NOT progress.

    What changes do you want to make and what direct measures will you take to affect the changes. BE SPECIFIC!!

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

    In spite of the fact that "Super Tuesday" on Feb 5th has many more primary voters in more states voting sooner in the primary process than ever before, many of your fellow candidates in the Democratic race have already dropped out after the Iowa and New Hampshire results. If the choice of a party's presidential candidate is such an important one, how would you change the primary process so the field stays more diverse for a longer time and more American voters have a chance to impact the decision?

    January 14, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  12. AW in Santo Domingo

    In the first three months of 2001, VP Chaney held meetings for an energy task force, formally known as the "National Energy Development Policy Group," to map the first Bush/Chaney Administration's energy policy, the minutes for which VP Chaney has claimed Executive Privilage. According to the National Resource Defense Council, policy formulations derived from those meetings drew heavily from industry representatives at the meeting and ended up in legislation almost word for word. Key to those meetings were Enron chairman Kenneth Lay and lobbists turned politicians Marc Racicot and Haley Barbour.

    If you become President, will you seek access to full disclosure of the content of those meetings? Do you think the public has a right to know the content of those meetings? If you could, would you make that information public? If you found anything foundational or linking policy objectives discovered in that meeting to our engagement in war in Iraq, would you direct the Department of Justice to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought against anyone involved?

    At this point in time, do you feel there are grounds for calling for impeachment hearings against either VP Chaney or President Bush?

    January 14, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Mike Allen

    The only thing I want to know from the Dems. Why is John Edwards the only Dem. candidate who has committed to withdrawing our troops from Iraq?

    January 14, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. Susan in Texas

    Please ask Mrs. Clinton if she will - once and for all - repudiate the comments of Bob Johnson against Obama. (Since she claims anyone on her staff who engages in personal attacks against Obama will be "gone.")

    January 14, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. Judith Anderson

    Mr. Blitzer: I would hope that this debate is totally different from the last one CNN put on, specifically, not getting a handle on the hecklers in the audience who were obviously from the Clinton camp. Let's handle this in a more professional manner, and please, no more "Pearls or diamonds questions to Mrs. Clinton."

    January 14, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. Adekunle Olajide

    Hillary: Is it fair that sexism is the issue that might actually put you over the top?
    Obama: Is it fair that racism is the issue that might actually put you over the top?

    January 14, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  17. Alyce - Dallas, Texas

    Wolf: I would ask each Democratic candidate what their opinions are regarding Social Security. Social Security has helped hundreds of thousands of people. I would like it to stay as it is today. This would include issues on Medicare and Medicaid. Would you kindly ask each candidate if they will keep Social Security as it is today, including Medicare and Medicaid and what they propose to do if elected. There has not been much talk lately on this issue, and I for one, feel this is a very important issue for present day seniors, and those rapidly approaching that age.

    Thank you.

    January 14, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  18. Adrian, san diego, California

    Senator Clinton, for the past several weeks you have criticized Senator's Obama's position on the Iraq war by suggesting that he has supported the it since he's been in the senate and not staunchly against it, as he has claimed during the campaign. Taking into consideration your staunch support for the war and your votes that authorized it and funded it, what, ultimately, is your criticism with the senator's position? Are you, in essence, suggesting that his record of opposition to the war is just as non-existent as yours?

    January 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Upstate NY

    I have one question for Mrs. Clinton specifically, and one for all of the candidates.

    For Mrs. Clinton –
    During your senate races, you campaigned on a platform of bringing business into NY and improving our economy. I voted for you in both races.

    I have seen more jobs leaving my area than new ones being created, so please explain exactly how your experience and influence have been used to help the economy in our state during your two senate terms.

    For the other candidates:
    If you are an advocate of "re-training" to address lost jobs in America, please elaborate on exactly which fields you believe that Americans can be re-trained for that will provide compensation at a level supporting the purchase of an "average-priced" single family home.

    January 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Jean Francis

    Ask the senators why they are exempt from social seurity so that when they retire they would not have to depend on it like the working poor. Because of this, they have every reason not to save the fate of social security while and where the majority of us, the working class have to. Why do they get to keep their salaries even when they are already retired. Why could'nt we do the same?

    January 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Ryan

    This one is something so simple, yet so important:

    What will you do to protect civil liberties?

    January 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. George

    In recent weeks, gender and (to a greater degree) race have become issues in the Democratic primary. While the trend is troubling, I believe race and gender should be issues in the election–not in the way they have been, but in terms of dealing with issues that are important to women and minorities.
    Question for the candidates: If a woman or an African-American were elected President next November, do worry about the impact of that historic event on the continued struggle for equality of women and people of color? If the ultimate glass ceiling for women is shattered or a Black man becomes President, do you believe the result will be used to argue that women and minorities actually do have equal access to opportunity in this country? Some might argue that if a woman or minority can become President they can do anything. How will you combat that argument and continue to fight the oppression of women and minorities in this country?

    January 14, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  23. Randolph Monroe, Chicago

    Hillary Clinton runs on the idea that her experience allows her to be able to perform the duties as president from day 1. I would like to know what the candidates would do on day 1 as President of the Unites States, or their first 100 days.

    January 14, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Isaiah

    I would present Hillary with something like this:

    Throughout her campaign, she took every opportunity she got to interject that "being the first woman president is a change," "the all boys club," "the boys are ganging up on me," etc. How much should the America people trust her wehn she later in S.C. said "I don't think this campaign is about gender, and I sure hope it's not about race." When clearly she is the only one who insisted on making the election about gender and later brought race into it.

    January 14, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. Brian, Vancouver BC

    It seems that in order to win the Democratic nomination, the candidate must be so liberal that they cannot earn Republican and moderate votes in a general election.

    Wolf: Please ask all candidates if the Democratic primaries are set up to fail. In order to win the nomination, you almost have to be un-electable in a general election.

    The subtext here is that Obama being black and Clinton being a woman are facts. Ignoring these realities now does not mean they will be ingored in late 2008. Will it hurt or help?

    January 14, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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