January 14th, 2008
09:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Stunned by readers' response

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/14/art.wolfb1.cnn.jpg caption="CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - I must say I was stunned by the amazing reaction to my request Friday for suggested questions for the upcoming Democratic Presidential debate that CNN is co-sponsoring with the Congressional Black Caucus Institute in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina next Monday night, January 21. So far, we have received some 2,000 comments. I am not surprised that almost all of them were serious and well-informed.

I have always had high confidence in our CNN viewers. I know you are smart because you wouldn’t be watching The Situation Room and all of our other CNN political coverage if you weren’t. There are simply too many other options available to all of you - ranging from sitcoms, to sports, to silly talk shows. Our viewers are intelligent and that certainly came through with your comments. You can take a look at them yourself. If you take the time, you too will be impressed.

Let me assure you that our team is going through all of these suggested questions, and we will select some of them for the debate. We will also use your ideas to formulate some other questions. You’ve raised serious issues and Suzanne Malveaux, Joe Johns and I are taking them very seriously. This has been a great opportunity for us to know what is on your minds, and we are grateful to you for the help.

Throughout my journalistic career, I have always cherished the fact that I am blessed with a front-row seat to history. I have the opportunity and privilege to ask important newsmakers tough and important questions. In the process, I see myself as our viewers’ representative. You might not have that chance, but I do - and I take it very seriously.

By the way, if you'd like to see some of the questions already asked, you can read them by clicking here. Thanks again.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (662 Responses)
  1. Matt M. from Maine

    Within recent weeks, it is clear that the issue of the War in Iraq has taken a back seat in the Democratic race to other issues such as health care, immigration, and prior experience. Do you attribute this to the similar ideas amongst the candidates or the recent security success in Iraq. Moreover, in what ways do you think your plan for both the War In Iraq and the War In Afghanistan will succeed?

    Thank you.

    January 15, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. BEN

    To all of the candidates: Despite the Democratic takeover fo Congress in 2006, the entrenchment of political power has long been a problem, will you pledge to support an constitutional amendment to limit the terms of members of Congress?

    January 15, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. ron

    I am so tired of the division in this country caused by terms such as "African-American"–i would really like to know how many blacks in this country have actually ever been to Aftrica or even for that matter have a relative from Africa–this seperation is what is slowly taking this country down–Please ask Mr. Barack Hussein Obama why did he need to play the race card–I am a white professional guy who was considering voting for Mr. Obama until he started sounding like Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton and quoting DR MLK. For once it would be nice to see a black politician who felt secure that they would win the election based on qualifications instead of there race. Collin Powell never used his race and yet he would have been a wonderful canidate for President and decided against it–Let's get rid of these terms that keep seperating us as americans and come together before it is too late–Can Hillary or Obama put forth the effort to do away with government statistics dealing with nationality–We are All Americans and shouldnt be subdivided–

    January 15, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Tom Davie


    Lets get down to some real honest questions.

    To Clinton

    Do you really think people are voting for you or your husband? Why should people vote for you when its your husband who was president and govenor ?

    To Edwards:

    You claimed Hillary was finished if she lost NH. But you came in a distant third and are way behind in the polls. Why should have Hillary quit but you can go on ?

    To Obama.

    Tell the truth. Do you honestly believe its reasonable to elect a first term junior senator who has never run a business, city or state with only 3 years in washington to be president of the united states?

    January 15, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. MM

    Mr. Blitzer-please ask Obama what his position on illegal immigration is and why. Please ask him and all the candidates how they will protect our borders and Stop Illegal Aliens from coming here without going through the proper channels as so many others have had to do before them. Please ask Obama if he has been to Iraq and if not does he plan on visiting the troops over there.

    January 15, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Expansion of Benjamin Feinblum's small business concerns

    I would like all of the candidates to be asked the following question:

    I presume all of you have travelled to Paris, Rome, Venice, Tuscany, London, New York, Boston etc., and I will assume that you will all remember the walking traffic there and how small businesses flourished and how the culture of these areas is a source of admiration from the world. Perhaps you even remember the feeling you had when you visited these areas and the cultural kalaedoscope that the streets offered you.

    Given the obvious fact that most small businesses cannot compete in advertising with a Target or a Wal-Mart and reach people in their cars through huge signage as they whiz by in the cars on the high way or in their radios through expensive radio advertisements –

    and without having an architectural degree or urban design knowledge –

    what role do you think that America's love affair with the automobile has had on the design of our cities, development of the small business and the quality of our life?

    Also and if we can assume that we cannot continue this love affair forever, how would you help gear our country in the right direction.

    Millions of Americas have travelled like you and they would like to know what corporate forces in Washington are aiding the neglect of public transportation in America and will you help take them on.

    January 15, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Ken Falkenstein, Newport News, VA

    Question to all candidates:

    The Baby Boom generation has now begun to retire. It is estimated that It will cost $45 – 75 trillion dollars over the next 40 years to pay projected Social Security benefits – and that's not even taking Medicare into account. According to the CIA, the current Gross World Product is approximately $60 trillion dollars. So, if we had to pay all of the projected Social Security benefits up front now, there would not be enough wealth in the entire world to do so. What is your plan to fix Social Security without raiding the future earnings of our children and grandchildren to do so?

    Ken Falkenstein
    Newport News, VA

    January 15, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. KMK, Chicago, Illinois

    A couple of things are bothering me about Mrs. Clinton and I would appreciate it if you would give her an opportunity to help clear them up in the debate:

    1. The Iraq War: Mrs. Clinton continued to vote for funding even though she said her vote to go to war was a mistake. She has criticized Mr. Obama heavily for this, so I would like to hear her explain what the difference is. Also, why did she reject Carl Levin's resolution that would have forced President Bush to seek international support for an invasion and to return to Congress if he failed to do so.

    2. I recently saw Mrs. Clinton on two news programs (including yours, Mr. Blitzer) where she discussed the Pakistan election that was to be between Mrs. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf. She always sounds very knowledgeable when I hear her talk and she did in these two cases, but I later read that the election wasn't for president, rather is was for parliament. As a result I find myself wondering if she really knows what she's talking about on any issue. How did that happen with her level of knowledge and experience.

    Also, a question for all candidates: As a mother of a small child that has a lead blood level that's much higher than average, I feel completely helpless in making sure my child is safe from lead. I've read that lead can be in so many things, including toys, dinnerware, vinyl diaper bags, Christmas tree lights, etc. Furthermore, the CSPC says that the lead tests you can buy in the store are not accurate. As an individual family, we don't have the resources to make sure things in our house are lead-free. What role do the candidates think the goverment can play to help with this preventable problem?

    January 15, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Deborah Slager

    A question for all candidates:

    Could you describe how fully funding special education mandates might positvely impact general education budgets and improve education as a whole?

    January 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. MARY Huntsville

    Change? Change was instituted on 9/11 by the first attack on our shores. Why don't we have a mandatory Draft when war is declared for any reason? It is the duty of all Americans when our County is at War. Would it not be easier to have a law stating that if the President and Congress declare a war it immediately required a Draft? This would take the 'political' pressure off either party of being the one to declare a Draft. It would be event driven, not politically.

    The 'touchy feely' campaign going on now would have a whole new complexion. Why can't we have a draft and pay "OUR" soldiers the money paid to private contractors.

    January 15, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. I agree with this so much. NewsMax is now featuring Obama -- of course they want him to win the nomination

    A commentor posted this – I agree 100%. If I were a republican and wanted to win the white house, I'd want Hillary out of the way and have Obama, a two year Senator with no experience to win the nomination. It's a much easier win than beating HIllary.

    January 15, 2008 12:13 am ET

    Hillary was headed straight for the Presidency and the Republicans knew they could not beat her. I would not be surprised to find out that Obama is backed, knowingly or unknowingly; by those same covert Republicans who manipulated the 2000 and 2004 election wins. His candidacy came out of oblivion with no experience… a golden tongue, an attractive package and the right color skin to split the Democrats. I am not a racist, but this country is not ready to elect an African-American President with only two years of political experience… and the Republicans know it. I truly admire Barack Obama, but his campaign is a gift to the Republican party.

    Divide and conquer and watch McCain, a Republican most Democrats can stomach, slide into the White House. The Republicans will win only because as a National Party, the Democrats are sooooo stupid and naive.

    Sure McCain seems more like a Democrat than a Republican at times, but as far as the Republican Party is concerned…a Republican with a tint of blue is better than no Republican at all. The Republican infrastructure in this Country will remain the same and there will be no real change, just a little cosmetic surgery.

    Shame on the Democratic Party. If you cannot unite your Party, how can you expect to unite this Country?

    My question to the candidates…what will it take to unite the Democratic Party so it will win in November?

    January 15, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Terry A Malason

    This question is for Ms Clinton and Sen. Obama.
    For some time now it seems to me that the hard working, tax paying American citizen has ben overlooked and shortchanged by our government in almost all situations where assistance of any kind is concerned. That assistannce can be for almost anything across the board from food to financial. Today that help seems to go to anyone else, no matter where they are from, even if they aren't needy American Citizens. Our government seems more interested in helping "undocumented (a big word for illegal) aliens or even convicted felons before helping the real American Citizens in need. What has happened to the old saying that "Charity begins at home"?
    I would like to ask you, if you were to be our next President, how would you put the needy Americans back in the front of the line.

    Terry A Malason
    Ambler, Pa 215 915 7345

    January 15, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Mike in Salem



    January 15, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Bob McD

    With all the rancor about race over the last few days does Senator Obama think that the Clintons are racist or have engaged in racial politics or does he think that the Clintons have worked hard for civil and equal rights?

    January 15, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Terry

    1. How do the candidates intend to handle the immigration issue?
    2. What have the candidates specifically done in the Senate/House that would make me believe you should be the next President. Be specific in your answer we are not concerned about answers that state how much better you are than Rebublicans, Bush or any other candidate? Please remember Bush is not running for office when answering this question, just what you intend to do that makes you qualified to unite Congress, and lead this country over the next four years.
    3. How would the candidates unite Congress and actually create leadership that will move this country forward, and are you capable of working with Rebublicans, Democrats or Independents without creating greater division in which the country continues to suffer from government leaders inability to lead?
    4. How do we know that you are capable of making the tough decisions neccessary to protect America, yet maintain Americans rights yet not create a government /police state as an end product?
    5. Why should America vote for you specifically for President of the United States?
    6. Do you approve of spying on americans?
    7. Do you feel that the second amendment is a defendable part of the Constitution?
    8. Are you for raising taxes on american citizens?
    9. What is your position on illegal immigrants, illegal immigration, and protecting our borders?
    10. If elected President, would you continue to fight the war on terrorism, or would you immediately pull our troops?
    11. Are you for providing assistance to African countries that are involved in the killing of Whites and taking their farms, and businesses away for them, giving them to blacks.

    January 15, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Katherine

    As he visits Saudi Arabia, President Bush 'begs' for oil and is told we will "...raise producs when the market justifies it" and

    at the same time he states that he will recommend that the US provide a $20 billion arms deal including 900 attack munitions

    There appears to be much wrong here, can you explain how you view these circumstances in light of recent history?

    January 15, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  17. Paul Nieto

    I hear the politicians talk about building a wall to stop immigration which is going to cost the americans millions of dollars. The politicains talk about a lot of different topics. However I've yet to hear any of them speak on what they are going to do about the senior citizens that cannot work. The majority of the senior citizens are suffering with their set income. Politicians are focusing all of their energy on the middle class citizen. As the President what will you do to help the ones that do not fit into these catagories? High Class – Middle Class – Lower Class. You wonder why we don't fit into these catigories, well some of us don't make enough money to be middle class citizens, and we are told by the government that we make too much money to recieve assistance from the governmnet. After receiving our social security checks and we pay all of our bills for living expenses we are put in the position of deciding whether to puchase our medicians for the month or to puchase food for the month so as to not go hungry. We need to forget about the wall and invest the millions on your senior citizens. This question is lenghty I know however I feel that it is imperative that americans hear your response. This question is to be addressed by both parties. P.S. If cost of living continues to rise we will end up homeless in america. Sincerely, The forgotten Ameican. Paul Nieto – Idalou, Texas

    January 15, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  18. Question for Clinton

    Senator Clinton:

    Please list five specific skills, specific experience, areas of expertise and knowledge specifically relating to the way a White House functions that require a learning curve, why it is so imminent now to have someone that can hit the ground running and what knowledge of processes, specifically relating to the day in and day out functions of the administrative processes of the White House, qualify you for this position.

    January 15, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. WL from Florida

    My previous submission of questions had a couple of typos. Here is it again. Please post, thanks,

    Here are my questions sent to CNN for the debate in SC on Jan 21.

    Questions to Obama:

    1) If your wife is seriously sick, do you pick the Doctor who has the experience and qualification of treating patients or you will pick someone with very little experience but claims he can provide hope and insists he can provide change in the status quo in the medical field? Remember your wife is seriously sick and it is a life and death decision, just like our country’s situation now.

    2) When you were down 20 points in polls, your campaign started personal attacks on Senator Clinton, calling her dishonest and not telling the truth. Do you think this is “Politics of Hope?”

    3) When you visited Google recently, you mentioned that the two co-founders of Google were twenty something when they started their private company. Therefore you claimed that judgment should be more important than experience. Do you understand that there is a major difference between starting a private company and being a leader of this country? The founders of a private company gambles with their own money while the inexperienced person running for president is gambling with American People’s money and our country’s future. If the private company fails, the founders will be in debt, they will lose their own property. If the elected leader fails, as our current leader does, our country will lose and he will put our country in debt. Why should we elect a person who does not have enough experience and qualification but is willing to gamble with our country’s money and our country’s future?

    January 15, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  20. Alex

    Ask Senator's Obama and Clinton to hug.

    And as Mr Kerry recently said, Jefferson was just 33 when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, MLK was just 26 when he organized us the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and just 34 (not sure if I'm remembering the ages correctly) when he inspired current and future generations with his dream. Washington was 45 (younger than Obama) when he led the country in the most important war in our history. Those men didnt need "35 years" of experience to lead. I would ask Mrs. Clinton, does she believer there is such a thing as a born leader?

    Also, please as Mrs. Clinton to clarify what exactly here 35 years of change include...

    January 15, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  21. Robert

    Would you task your attorney General or appoint a single person to eliminate special interests and lobbyists from government ?

    ( Not just feel good legislation that has Loopholes and fringe results )


    January 15, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. eileen lombardi

    For Senator Clinton:

    What do you mean by "universal pre-k?"
    Would it be available to all children, or mandatory for all children?
    What is your timetable for seeing this come to pass?

    January 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. JAM

    Simple question for the Democratic candidates:
    Why are YOU the best candidate to beat the Republican candidates and win back the White House?

    January 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  24. Leslie, PoliSci Major

    I am a third-year Political Science student with a question for Senator Barack Obama:

    On August 1, 2007, you said that you would be willing to send troops into Pakistan in light of a report suggesting that senior Al-Qaeda officials were hiding there. You stated, "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will."

    In a recent press conference, President Musharraf said that he would declare such acts as a declaration of war and a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty.

    I have been a supporter of yours for quite some time, particularly in regards to your anti-war platform. I agree with you that the Pakistani government needs to take more initiative in fighting terrorism. However, even the Bush administration has advocated diplomatic cooperation with Musharraf's government.

    Senator Obama, as a candidate who professes a commitment to peaceful conflict resolution, would you really be willing to risk repeating the mistakes of the Bush administration by sending troops into Pakistan? And what in your opinion would constitute "actionable intelligence"?

    Thank you.

    January 15, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. Melissa

    To All Candidates

    What can be done to eliminate all pork-barrel spending / earmarks?
    The Republicans do it when they are in charge, The Democrats do it when they are in charge.

    January 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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