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. Barbara

    I would ask all what they would do to stop the endless crimes against women. I am sick and tired of reading day after day about women and girls of all ages being kidnapped, raped and murderd. We can not go shopping, jogging, hiking, stand at a bus stop and NOW not able to serve our counrty in the military without the fear of something bad happening to us. I believe more women were mudered in this counrty last year than soliders died in Iraq. Please ask someone this question. We have hate crime laws against color , sexual oreintation - Why not Women their are more of us killed !!!

    January 14, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  2. Ross

    It often seems like the Democrats and Republicans are speaking to two different Americas. To get past this, take the questions suggested for the last Republican debate and put them to the Democrats in their next debate, and vice versa.

    It would be enlightening to hear what the Democrats have to say about appointing judges, 2nd Amendment rights and teaching intelligent design, and what the Republicans say about corporate welfare, gay rights and affordable housing.

    January 14, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |


    January 14, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Mara

    For Obama:

    1) Studies have shown (http://www.journalism.org/node/8187) that the media is strongly biased in your favor. Do you feel that you have actually earned your current standing in the polls, in light of how much the media has rooted for you?

    2) Experience, experience, experience.

    3) Rezko? Hopefund? Are you just an empty bag of rhetoric?

    4) How is it racist or in any way off limits to mention your admitted cocaine use? If it didn't miss your attention... drugs + politics = scandal... no matter when it happened or what the ethnicity of the politician is. Doesn't your drug use show bad judgement and set a bad example? How is it not a legitimate issue? DID you ever deal?

    5) Was Jay-Z's "99 Problems" played at any of your even remotely campaign-related events? (Private victory party in Iowa?) Plus, you've said you enjoy Jay-Z's "music" ...why? Just the right combination of lawlessness and sexism?

    For Edwards:

    1) Why have you changed so many of your positions (health care?) since 2004? Why was your voting record in congress so much more conservative than what you're spouting now?

    January 14, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  5. seshi

    Ask them what they are planning to do with green cards for legal immigrants. Right now a non specialized worker from any other country gets a green card faster than a highly skilled worker from India or China.

    So would they choose a agricultural laborer over say a scientist just based on their country of origin, in the name of diversity?

    January 14, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  6. WHF

    To all candidates; are you willing to take a drug test?

    To all candidates:
    1.) Would you make it illegal for personal, medical and financial information to be gathered by outsourced agents in a foreign country?

    2.) Make Credit reporting Agencies cease operations if they can not guarantee 100% accuracy on their reporting.

    3.) Given the current financial markets and the outrageous behavior of credit card and lending institutions would you be willing to outlaw telephone solicitation by Credit Collecting Agencies?

    January 14, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  7. Rachel

    The questions that will shape the next presidency are most likely ones that we have not begun to conceive of – eight years ago the questions we are asking now would be unexpected to say the least. A president must be able to look forward, and not merely be a giant – but stand on the shoulders of giants. One key difference between Obama and Clinton seems to be their philosophy of how to deal with an economic recession.

    1. I would like to know the reasoning behind each of their economic stimulus proposals.
    2. Furthermore, at least an outline of principles/plan for what withdrawal from Iraq will look like – both for Iraq and for the region: moving beyond the pat answer of "we're for withdrawal" and "we're for economic success."

    These hard issues may take different forms in the next four years – but the process, values, and reasoning that the candidates use to base their decisions will shape these coming years.

    January 14, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  8. bam!

    Team Blitzer –

    I personally think this is the Most Important Election we have had to vote in, in a very long time.

    I have read the previous comments and I think there are some great questions already being asked about the economy.

    Please ask the candidates to give a brief overview of how they would steer the foreign policy ship during their time in office - what do they see as American priorities overseas?

    What would they do in terms of cracking down on the free flow of illicit drugs onto the US streets and schools?

    Gawd, I hope we can get somebody proactive instead of reactive for a change.

    January 14, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  9. Leo

    For all of the candidates: If given the opportunity to hire Karl Rove as your chief political advisor, would you consider doing so? Anticipating your answer, why not and please be specific?

    January 14, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  10. South Carolina Voter

    Why are we being held back on using the advance technology that we have .. which will help us with or economy.. why are we paying $100 a barrell for oil when we have so much of our own... why doesnt america use the resources that we have to advance or nation and help our economy? why are we holding back on our resources and technology and allowing foreign trade to support our country..

    January 14, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. Classic

    Sorry for the typos, it is DUE not SUE:

    I believe the American people are getting tired of having to go bankrupt in order to finance a surgery or extended hospital stay, not to mention, being kicked out of important treatments due to no insurance, even if they hold 3 jobs, or the non-approval of medical interventions by insurers. One last thing: There are more doctors and health care professionals FOR the national health care program than the general public is informed about.

    I would also like to add the following sentence:

    Another big propaganda weapon is that such national health care is free, so those in jobs would have to finance th care of the others without a job. This serves solely one purpose: to pit everyone against their very neighbors and friends. This is NOT how the health care system works in most of these European countries, all people pay one or the other way, for health insurance. The Germans do that with their 4-way tax (very inappropriately called tax, when indeed it is a contribution to insurance). Of their paycheck, a small percentage goes for health care, another percentage for unemployment insurance, another small percentage for retirement benefits (which are handled by a national fund, and each hour a person works, each payment they ever receive, contributes a percentage towards retirement in a point system), and only the 4th part of these deductions is actually an income tax. When somebody looses a job, the unemployment insurance takes over the health care payments. Also, the individual contribution for upgrades is much higher and there are out of pocket expenses if you want that gold filling instead of the plain porcelain white. However, everyone gets at least a minimum basic treatment, 24/7 without paying any further deductibles, and the bill from doctors offices goes directly to the insurance (unless you want the Cadillac treatment, in which case you will get an itemized bill and you make your selection but they still take off from the total invoice amount what the insurer would have paid as basic treatment cost).

    The European systems also offer prevention because they are smart enough to realize, if we take care of health and do frequent screenings, it not only saves lives, but also decreases total costs. In the USA, many people wait to go to the doctor when they are already severely ill. In Germany, you get a Dental Passport (a little yellow booklet) into which a stamp goes each time you went to see the dentist for a cleansing. if a certain amount of such annual check-ups is stamped, the insurance company will reduce the invoice total (offer discount) on those special services (re: gold filling) that you would otherwise have to pay out of pocket for they constitute more than the basic care. This is a wonderful incentive for people to overcome that anxiety attack and go 2-3 times annually to the dentist.

    January 14, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. J. Bundy

    Thank you for giving the oportunity for those of us that aren't 'talking heads' to participate in our nations most important conversations.

    For all candidates:
    Do you believe that preemtive war is every justified? If so, what specific criteria would you consider before considering a preemtive attack?

    Secondly, do you believe that the United States can promote preemtive peace effectively and if so, how would you go about securing such peace?

    (My thoughts here are aligned with situations where third world countries who hold no particular interest to America today may hold such interests in 20-30 years. Our national attention in the Middle East has grown with our Fuel needs over the last several generations. However, our relationship with the Middle East is very much and has always been about our needs. What areas of the globe do we largely ignore today, even though we could establish a peaceful and benevolent relationship, because we see nothing to gain from them? AIDS stricken Africa comes to mind as a place where an outpouring of peacful aid today could foster a secure friendship for generations to come: even when third world African nations grow up into more poweful political and economical players.)

    January 14, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. Chance

    Two questions I would like to hear from any or all of the candidates:

    Do you believe that the foreign policy of the Bush Administration is rooted in imperialism? And aside from Iraq and Iran, how would your foreign policy be any different?

    January 14, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. Brian

    To John Edwards:

    Education is a big issue in this year's election, as it always has been. As president of the United States of America, how do you plan to raise a teacher's salary who does an outstanding job with his/her students, and how do you plan attack No Child Left Behind?


    January 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. Elana, Melbourne Florida

    1. PLease ask about the embarrasing maternity leave (or lack there of) policy in this country. Does any candidate have any plans to make maternity leave acceptable, mandatory and PAID. We look like insensitive barbarians next to almost every other country.

    2. Please ask Hillary how 8 years as First Lady counts in her years of experience. By that logic, Laura Bush can run

    3. Please ask all candidates if they have ever, in their whole lives, done anything wrong. Maybe they will fess up like Obama did and look like human beings


    January 14, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Ann

    I continually hear the candidates mention working families, single mothers, single parents ... what are about single people period? We continue to be the victims of financial discrimination in the workplace via benefits such as health insurance. Please ask each of the candidates their position on the growing number of unmarried Americans in this country!

    January 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    If, by some chance Bush gets us into yet another war with Iran what is your feeling about the draft?

    January 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. Geordie MacDonald

    Given that drug companies spend twice as much on marketing as they do on actual R&D would any of the candidates consider capping the money drug companies devote toward marketing in an effort to end the drug ad wars and allow drug companies do what they were designed to do in the first place?

    January 14, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Martin Diaz

    This is will be a short question, i have plenty more i will ask in the near future.

    Everyone is debating and talking abt middle class!! for what!! They are not struggling!! low incomes families are, they spend less because there income isnt quite what middle class makes!! the more money u have, the more u spend. Real struggling families are families with more problems, financially, domestically, and everything else that comes with the environment, whatever changes will happen, wont affect and change anything in low incomes families, the reason why middle class are struggling, they spend more money on housing, of course they can afford!! this goes for all the candidates on the democrats side. Is the focus only on middle class, not low income families???

    January 14, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. Vic Las Vegas, Nevada

    In light of Obama continually referring to Senator Clinton as a "triangulator", she puts herself on the line and votes either for or against legislation. Senator Obama, while in the Illinois Legislature choose to vote "present" @ 130 times. I can only assume that his position was to avoid a statement like John Kerry's infamous, "I was for it before I was against it".

    Obama got a pass when he attacked Clinton on the Kyl-Lieberman legislation, even though he voted for similar legislation earlier in the year. More importantly, he skipped the vote that would have put him on record.

    Question for Senator Obama:

    1.How do you justify your talking points about Clintons vote(s) when you seem to navigate to votes of "present" when confronted with issues that may, in the future be controvercial.

    January 14, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Tom Lonnquist

    Currently the income cap on Social Security is $97,000. How do you justify any American who earns over $97,000 not paying on every dime of earned income? Would this change alone not make the Social Security System solvent?

    January 14, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. For All

    The first thing George W Bush did as President was to end fudning for overseas women's clinics that provided abortion services. He didn't make sure abortions were not funded, he ended all funding. This deeply disturbs me. What would be your first act as President?

    January 14, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  23. Ann

    If, by some chance, Bush gets us into another war, with Iran, what would your position be concerning the drafting of our young men and women when you take office especially since we're already spread too thin and young people are not enlisting like they used to?

    January 14, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  24. Dan R. in Columbus

    I would ask Hillary this:

    You've bemoaned the caucus process as undemocratic and argued that it deprives working men and women of the right to vote. Nonetheless, you're supporters in Nevada have launched a lawsuit aimed at preventing the State of Nevada from setting up at large caucusing locations for working men and women who are employed at hotels and casinos along the Vegas strip who would otherwise be unable to vote. This process has been known for nearly a year, and the Union now objecting took part in the plan's formulation, yet they only now, after the Culinary Union endorsement of your opponent, have chosen to bring the suit.
    While you have correctly pointed out that the Union bringing the suit has not endorsed you, the head of that Union is also the head and charter member of one of your support committees in Nevada and the lawyers who are prosecuting the suit have donated a great deal of money to your campaign. Do you support the suit? If so, why? If not, why haven't you called on your supporters to drop the suit?

    January 14, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Alice Roth

    1. Handling of problems associated with global warming?
    2. Illegal Immigration including eliminating jobs, healthcare, college
    education, social security, and welfare – to convince the millions who
    are here illegally to go home to fly their flag, speak their language, exercise
    their rights, build their country, and "change" and make demands of
    their own government.
    3. Chinese relations including trade, loss of jobs, poison our pets and us,
    lead in toys, skinning alive of dogs and cats for use in toys and other
    "fur" products, mistreatment of women and children, ...
    4. Selling arms to Saudi Arabia – (911 terrorists from SA), treatment of women,

    Press should start concentrating on our many problems instead of rock
    star, talk show host, non-existent racial issues, – anything to avoid talking
    about what is important!

    How many of the mortgages that are to be bailed out belong to illegal
    immigrants? I know for a fact that much of the housing in the Southwest
    have not only been built by Mexicans but are also inhabited by Mexicans.
    We give them our jobs, our healthcare, college educations, now we
    can bail them out when they fail on their mortgages.

    January 14, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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