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)

    Questions for all Candidates

    A. You've had a chance as major players in U.S. Policy-Making in business, congress and senate – how many suicide bombers have you allowed to walk across our borders, let's here the plan (show me) and why should I give you a second chance at stopping the unabated border crossings.

    B. Approximately 12 million illegal aliens residing in the U.S. is a simple U.S. Immigration Policy problem – show and tell me your plan and can you introduce legislation now and support as President (1) to have all undocumented aliens register for national security and identification reasons, (2) create a path for citizenship for those that are gainfully employed with the employer paying an additional employment fee, and (3) deport undocumented and unemployed aliens who fail to register for national security and identification reasons and those undocumented and unemployed that have committed a crime.

    C. Recent history tells us that the U.S. and its properties were attacked repeatedly without an in kind U.S. response. The Democrates for president want to withdraw U.S. troops from Irag. The war on terror and the Irag War are seen as the entry points for the U.S. pre-emptive war on terror and engagement – As the Commander and Chief – If not Irag, where and when would you have entered the war on terror and why would you have delayed the Iragi engagement.

    January 14, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. jg /central illinois

    For all candidates – Without prefacing your answer or invoking a particular example, explain your first requests to the congress to address the financial excesses of the last 8 years. Specifically a short synopsis for the reduction of the national debt, Medicaid funding, Social Security tax changes and how would you practically address this issue without increased taxes on the middle class which provides the vast majority of the United States revenue stream. What financial data (not anecdotal) can you cite to substantiate your claim that your suggestion(s) would work?

    Then provide the candidates at least 3 minutes each to respond.

    January 14, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. A. Eyre Cascade, Mt.

    One question only: If elected president would you support a constitutional amendment to declair a corporation NOT an individual, thus holding CEO's and board members personally liable for the destructive decisions made to society and enviornment? Instead of expecting ALL of the tax payers paying for the clean up of their disasterous decisions.

    January 14, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. abigail

    I want every vote to count in the upcoming presidential election.. what can be accomplished by Nov. 2008 to ensure this?

    January 14, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. epolitics

    Please ask

    "What is the most common meal for a single parent in America making less than $25,000 per year?"

    "What is the percentage of black single households in America?"

    "What is the percentage of white (or non-black) single households in America?"

    January 14, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Zack

    In indiana there is a law that requires voters to present an ID on election in order to vote. The consitutionality of this law is being challenged in a case that will shortly be heard by the supreme court. While some argue that this is a way to prevent voter fraud, others argue that there has never been a single case of such fraud, and that this law is a way to deprive the homless and poor minorities of the vote (as they cannot afford ID). I would like to know what each of the candidates thinks about this.

    January 14, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. Deborah

    The Democratic candidates have not laid out any specific plans in their debates. They have spent more time using the word change than being specific about their plans. Change can be good, but history teaches us that we need to look back to look forward. My questions would be:
    1. What is your plan for illegal immigration including closing our borders?
    2. What is your plan for withdrawal of troops from Iraq?
    3. Since the American people are sick of paying for an over priced government, how will you assist in reform?
    4. Specifically to Barack Obama. How will you further the cause for black families to stay together, stop killing each other, obtain an education and become an american and not just a black american? The terms white american, black american, mexican american, etc. need to stop. We are one country!!.

    January 14, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  8. Liz

    Ask Senator Obama: Key to successful presidential leadership is the kind of people a president surrounds himself/herself with. Given your limited experience in administration and coalition building, in military and diplomatic affairs, we voters need to know what kind of team you would pick and why?

    Ask Senator Clinton: Given both your political history and your declarations that you can bring change, how would you build your team to mix seasoned advisors and people with fresh ideas?

    January 14, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. John

    To all candidates: do you think we should expand the space program, and if so, what would be your main goals? If not, why not?

    January 14, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  10. jg /central illinois

    From an environmental and energy efficiency standpoint, it would seem that tax credits to lower income through middle income households to improve the energy efficiency of older homes as well as purchasing energy efficient appliances would be an efficient policy to encourage conservation. A serious short term program of this nature with a smaller follow up program might be to the benefit of the nations energy usage as well as improving the cost of living for those who benefit. Do you support this type of program and can you identify any legislation you have authored or supported recently to provide incentives for middle class and below in this area.

    January 14, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. progressivegeek

    There are repeated government studies and congressional hearings which prove there is no tech worker shortage in the United States. These studies also show Professional careers are under attack to labor arbitrage. In addition, the H-1B and L-1 guest worker Visas are called the "outsourcing" Visas by NASSCOM, an Indian trade association and have been proved to facilitate the offshore outsourcing of jobs.

    Why then do you promise to increase these very Visas which have hurt Professional workers? Why will you not present positions and policy based on the real facts and in support of the middle class, which most assuredly would not be to increase guest worker Visas and accelerate the offshore outsourcing of American jobs.

    The current Visa programs lend themselves to massive abuse. Will you support legislation to fix the abuse as opposed to increasing caps which will only lead to more abuse?
    Bills to support:
    S.1035 : H-1B and L-1 Visa Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2007 (Durbin-Grassley)
    H.R.2538: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to provide greater protections to domestic and foreign workers under the H-1B nonimmigrant worker program. (Pascrell)
    H.R.2504: To amend the Immigration and Nationality Act with respect to the admission of L-1 intra-company transferee nonimmigrants. (DeLauro)
    H.R.548: To establish a Congressional Trade Office (DeFazio)

    January 14, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. Kara Green

    I love that you are asking the public for questions!

    As a recent college graduate who is a new public school teacher, I find myself not being able to own my own home, because (simply put) my college loans are horrific.
    Do any of the candidates have any ideas on college finance reform?

    January 14, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. W.Painter

    Can you ask what the candidates will do for the environment?

    January 14, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Dave M. from Colorado

    A four-part "litmus question" on change for all candidates.

    They have all spoken about being "agents for change". Let's see just how much change they are willing to make that will truly alter the status quo, as opposed to cosmetic campaign promises:

    1. Are you in favor of eliminating the electoral college and move to direct popular vote so that all states voters have to be heard, not just a focus on those with the most electoral votes?

    2. Are you willing to sponsor public campaign financing (including third parties) and get rid of the focus on fund raising, especially with the projected $1billion price tag for the 2008 election, specifically for television ads?

    3. Are you willing to support the The Presidential Records Act of 2007 to force release of public Presidential papers 12 years after leaving office or reverse the executive order of President Bush if elected to lend transparency to presidential decisions?

    4. Are you willing to support an independent political ad review committee, which in conjunction with a pre-allotted number of hours of publicly financed campaign ads that would review ads and if determined to be a lie or misleading, would take away advertising time from the guilty candidate and provide it to the candidate that was attacked with a misleading or false ad to help eliminate mud slinging and focus on the facts?

    If they aren't willing to "get out of the box" and really drive changes that will actually make a difference, then they're just blowing smoke. Other major issues have already been covered, but I'm not sure if these have been lost in the shuffle and may provide a solid indication of just how much change they are willing to make. After all, they've had time to develop positions for all of the other major issues, maybe these will provide an accurate view of their stomach for change.

    January 14, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. Pat

    To all,

    Could you comment on your perspective of why the lion share of the US foreign aid goes to Israel (and not to a country in dire economic need, in Africa for example)?

    January 14, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. Jeremey Tripp

    I would like to hear the opinions of the candidates on possibly having a required service for two years for our country upon graduation from High School. (i.e. community involvement, military...)

    January 14, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  17. Zephyr E. Logan/ Virginia

    I would like to ask all the candidates what they think of the exclusion of Dennis Kucinich from this debate after his original invitation, and his call for a New Hampshire recount.
    Thank you,
    – Zephyr Logan, Virginia

    January 14, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  18. Kathy

    I would ask all the candidates what they intend to do for our soldiers returning from the war and for their families. Will they make sure they have a job and all the help they need to recover from mental and physical problems from multiple tours in the war

    January 14, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  19. John

    I would like to see a president sign a pledge to try their best to honor their campaign "promises". I assume no one will, but I would like to see that question asked! Stand behind what you say! Make them sign a contract for the people!

    January 14, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  20. Eric Woodruff

    Ask them what they think is the reason behind the fact that most people don't vote. Also ask them why the average joe (which constitutes 90% of society) feels increasingly isolated and betrated by his or her political leaders. I would also like to comment on something somebody else posted. At the top of page some poor and pitiful fool ask the question " why the "uneducated people" , "deserve" the prosperity educated people have". Well this guy is apparently as ignorant as he is cold hearted. So called "uneducated" people are still people and deserve as much reward for a full days work as anybody else. Also, just because somebody doesn't have a college degree doesn't mean there stupid and "deserve" to live beneath the standards of so called educated people. I've got an idea. When these ignorant savages are finished cutting my hair, fixing the leak in my roof, or delivering my mail we can lock them up in my toolshed and give them a cup of water or two ( if I'm in a good mood ) and then let them out in the morning when it's time for "them" to go back to work. I really, really, hope that this isn't also the attitude of the people at CNN. A working man is a working man no matter what kind of pants he's wearing.

    P.S. Trim it back some Wolf.

    January 14, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  21. Joseph Falduti

    Many Americans are able to look at things in other countries that work well for the people. This includes countries such as Canada, the UK, France, and Germany to name a few.

    What policies and programs would you borrow from other governments and implement into our own?

    January 14, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  22. Andy

    Ask each of the candidates what $100 million dollars could have been spent on instead of telling people what you want them to hear. Think of the numbers of people that could have had health insurance with that money... or how many people would not go to bed at night without heat... or how many families would have had food on the table instead of sending their children to bed hungry.

    January 14, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  23. Will

    For Senator Clinton:

    You constantly refer to being the most qualified candidate due to your 35 years of experience. Yet you've only held elected office for 8 years, 3 fewer then your chief rival Senator Obama. Why should your 20 years of being a first lady count as job experience for being president?

    For ALL:

    What began as the media narrative of Iowa has become the dead horse for the rest of the campaign. Can any of you answer a question without using the word "Change"?

    January 14, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  24. SM

    John Edwards said he was wrong to sign the bankruptcy bill. Well, why did he sign it, then? Didn't he bother to read it first? Now that he realizes he's wrong, he (and the other candidates) need to amend it so that a U.S. citizen cannot lose their home in bankruptcy if they are driven into bankruptcy because of medical costs. Even those WITH health insurance face this prospect. In what other major industrialized country does this happen? A law should be enacted protecting the homes of Americans in the event of medical bankrupcty. (Of course, the real answer is a GENUINE single payer national health insurance program, paid for via taxes, but the only candidate supporting that plan, Dennis Kucinich, has been silenced by the media. Shame on you!)

    January 14, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. Robert Stewart

    What do the Democratic candidates consider the optimum population of the United States? 300 million, 500 million, 1 billion? The population of the U.S has just about doubled in my lifetime (I'm 53). I voted a straight Democratic ticket for the last 27 years primarily because of Democrats' pro-environment policies. The Democratic Party's support of amnesty for illegal aliens and support of special interest ethnocentrists who want wide open borders and immigration have shown that the Democrats are not truly committed to protecting the environment nor our quality of life, freedom, prosperity and security. All environmental problems are exacerbated by population growth. As a manger of livestock and wildlife in rural Texas I understand the limitations of habitat and how overpopulation destroys the land and its resources' ablilty to support healthy, thriving populations of livestock, wildlife or human beings. As our population increases we can expect to see our freedoms, prosperity and quality of life decrease. We need an independent candidate who will put America first over partisan politics and special interests.

    January 14, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
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