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. Dennis

    Many of the Democrats are offering healthcare plans that wil supposedly help to cover the remaining 40 million or so uninsured people in our country.
    That's great and all. But my question is this. What are you going to do to help with the healthcare costs of insured people with costly plans. For example, as a teacher, I have health insurance. However, we pay around $340 per month out of pocket. In addition, we only have 70/30 coverage AFTER we pay our deductible of $750 per person or $1500 per family. Between the deductible and the monthly premium, a family will pay $5580 per year, plus 30%. This is 10-20% of a teacher's salary, depending on his salary. One trip to the doctor to get a prescription for antibiotics for my 4-yr old daughter with an ear infection can cost $200.
    How will your plan bring down my healthcare costs?

    January 14, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Phil

    The New York Times reported that Hillary Clinton did not have a security clearance as first lady, and yet she claims she was given classified information. Please ask HRC if that is accurate.

    January 14, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  3. PW Va

    I would ask all of the presidential hopefuls if they would be willing to take a pledge ON STAGE on the night of the debate that for the remainder of process leading up to the general election in November they will POSITIVELY refrain from personal attacks (ie: race, gender, class, etc.). This would also include media such as television, radio and print.

    In addition, that this same pledge would be applicable to their staff and aides, also We, the American public are interested only in the issues and what the candidates can do to resolve them. Thank you!

    January 14, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Melissa, VA

    As a teacher, I am disgusted with the way the No Child Left Behind act has stifled higher-order thinking and creativity in our schools. It also ignores the rights of many students with disabilities to have an educational experience that meets them at their level. Some of the candidates have talked about increasing math and science education, but students who think the answer is always A, B, C, or D lack the vision to see the real power of these (and other) disciplines. From my point of view, the law has only served to divert much-needed public education dollars into the coffers of educational testing companies. Wouldn't it be better to spend this money reducing class sizes, putting technology into the schools, and providing qualified teachers as tutors? Wolf, please ask the candidates what they will do to fix (or better yet, abolish) No Child Left Behind. This is important, as the only candidate who really addressed this was Bill Richardson, and now he's out of the race.

    January 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  5. Infonomics

    Please explain to the American people why you, as the next President, are entitled to live in the White House securely behind a fence yet the American people are not entitled to the same [i.e. a border fence with Mexico].

    January 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Tabias Wilson

    I would ask Hillary Clinton why she changed her earlier campaign theme from experience to change, at the same time calling (through Bill) Obama's change mantra a "fairy tale?" I also would like to know how she plans to change the country, being from a dying generation and laregly out of touch with youth and minorites (as reflected by her support base)? Why does she feel it necessary to attack Obama and not focus on her own positives?

    For Mr. Obama I would ask why he has allowed himself to be the scape goat of the Clinton machine without retalliation and what advise he gives to others who will soon follow his footsteps of hope and sucess.

    January 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. MIke


    I recently read an article that the Russians were making great strides in space exploration and would probably reach Mars with a manned space craft (projected for 2011-2013). President Bush indicated that the US would also be sending a manned spacecraft to Mars; but did not provide a timeline for such a mission. Will all the domestic and foreign affairs issues facing Americans, should the US invest in space exploration or use the money for domestic or foreign affairs issues?

    January 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Danielle

    To the candidates:

    During political campaigns, candidates are constantly talking about what they want to change and do differently, however, it seems only a small percentage of these issues are ever acted upon. With the exception of removing our troops from Iraq, if you could only accomplish two things during your term as president, what would those two things be?

    January 14, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Ed Hatem

    Wolf, please ask the candidates this:

    For the past 7 years we have had a Republican President. He has put his views and party's beliefs ahead of everything else. Can you do differently? If we elect you president which will you be, a Democrat/Republican President or an American President? Are you prepared to move away from your own party if it is for the good of this country?


    January 14, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Dwight Buel

    In the not to distant past Mr. Cafferty was saying that candidates need to come up with an energy policy. Rudy Guiliani has stated that we need a program the magnitude of putting a man on the moon. I've been thinking we need one similar to the Manhatten Project. Would you fight for such a project if elected president?

    January 14, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. J Russell

    With the backlog of individuals awaiting transplantable organs, how would the candidates feel about moving to a system where anyone who dies in the US is assumed to be a willing to organ donor, unless they have made other wishes known.

    J Russell, one of many on the liver donation waiting list

    January 14, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Edward Stein

    When Ms Clinton comented on President Johnsons role with M. L. King in getting civil rights reform, many said the comments wer bad and racial. In fact without Johnson, the civil rights would have taken longer. It takes two to tango.

    If you do not beleive that look at what is going on now. 70% of the people and many are great civil leader. Without a president to tango it will not happen

    Why is her comment based on what is now going on not proper.

    January 14, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Deanne,KS

    Given all the attention to Romney for being a Mormon & Huckabee a baptist, ask Oboma about his church & his stance on "non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA" and "RESTORATION" and "ECONOMIC PARITY" ( these are directly from the church's website.

    January 14, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Brett Chase, NY

    Barack spoke about his youthful indiscretions and drug use, I'd like to know what was Hillary Clinton smoking in the 60's that made her a Barry Goldwater conservative and president of the Wellesley Young Republicans organization during her freshman year in college.

    January 14, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Frank Meredith

    I would like for this question to be asked to Senator John Edwards. I'm from one of what used to be one of the Redest states in the Nation, Kansas, now we're kind of turning from Purple to almost Blue. We haven't really had a serious discussion on this issue, it was briefly mentioned on the Democratic YouTube debate. With all of the attention being paid to recent remarks by Senators Clinton and Obama concerning the Civil Rights Movement, I feel this generation is coming up on another Civil Rights issue. The LGBT population in America is a huge voting block. If Congress passes a bill, allowing Same Sex Marriage or Civil Unions to be Federally Recognized, will you sign it and send it to the states? If not, how can you say that you don't, and would never, pass your beliefs on the American People?

    January 14, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  16. Alex Cope

    My proposed question:

    Senator Obama, you are running a campaign on the promise of bringing unity and peace to partisan politics, but what are you willing to fight for?

    Thanks. I'm looking forward to this debate.

    January 14, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  17. EJ

    I have two questions:

    1) When Bill Richardson was a candidate for president, he advocated getting rid of No Child Left Behind, because it has done more to hurt education in America than help it. Do you agree that No Child Left Behind should be repealed and that educational reform in the US should follow a different road that does not put such a great emphasis on high stakes testing?

    2) Without resorting to the usual buzzwords and talking points, will you please explain your position as relates to immigration? I'm not asking only about people who entered the country unlawfully. I want to know what you would like to do to help American businesses hire foreign workers who are essential to our functioning economy - both highly skilled workers and low skilled workers.

    Thank you.

    January 14, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  18. Connie

    What are each of the candidates answers to the embarrassing mess left in New Orleans and all the Katrina victims- what happened to all the donated monies and when are we going to get this fixed for these citizens?

    January 14, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  19. Carol McDonnell

    I live in Vermont, and one of the main hardships for the people here is health care. Could you ask Barack Obama why he changed his view on single payer for the naton? If Canada, Britiain and most of the European countires can do it, and their economies are strong than our, it doesn't make sense, Stop sending a billion dollars a week to Iraq, and we could have single payer and fix the infrastructure of this whole country with the money that is being spend on an unwanted and unjust war.

    Newbury, VT

    January 14, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  20. Julie Bernstein

    Barack Obama speaks of change – Please give examples of his track record of change – especially give examples of change he created in US Senate
    also – he wants to unite Republicans and Democrats – how has he done this in the US Senate?

    January 14, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Timcan

    All Candidates:

    During the last two debates I heard a number of candidates mention the amount of money going to rouge states to supply the US with energy.

    Who does supply the bulk of energy to the US and how would you ensure that this market is not overwelmed by emerging nations. ( India and China)

    January 14, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Robert Biggins

    Dear Wolf, I like you to ask the candidates with the national debt @ 9 TRILLION DOLLARS, and deficits in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS, of course all the candidates didn't have anything to do with this debt, what would all the self-described fiscally responsible candidates do about this mess. Will any candidate promise the American people to balance the budget, by tax increases or spending cuts, 3 of their 4 yrs as president or not run for a 2nd term. Or do they talk the talk, but won't walk the walk. Good luck, Bob Biggins, Seeley Lake, MT

    January 14, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Michael Mee

    On Immigration:

    Assuming that none of the democratic candidates want to ship the 12 million illegal immigrants back to their home countries, how would each candidate deal with the supposed two million illegal immigrants who had committed a crime? Secondly, would they push to establish a path to U.S. citizenship that would not include a fine that most immigrants do not have the funds to pay, such as McCain's plan?

    January 14, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Craig Finnegan

    How can America ever be united politically (or otherwise), when, in their consuming bid for power, even the candidates for the highest leadership positions (read: supreme role models) can't even unite amongst THEMSELVES....even within the same party??

    January 14, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  25. Stephen

    I would like you to ask Hilary if she knows how many amendments are in the constitution, and if she feels that it may be time to update it to reflect our values and ideals in the modern era.

    January 14, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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