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. Bruce Balderston

    Questions for debate:
    We currently have a National Debt of $9 Trillion. In WWII the top tax rate was 90%. Currently the top rate is 35% except for people earning money from stock offerings who only pay 15%. Are the wealthy today benefiting less from the War on Terror than the wealthy of 1940? Isn't it about time to raise taxes and start paying down the debt?

    In about 2014 or thereabouts tax receipts for Social Security will be less than tax payments. How do you propose to raise money to redeem the bonds held by the Social Security fund to pay benefits?

    We are told from time to time that the United States now has a 'Knowledge economy' not a manufacturing economy. A rational person might expect that our society would be pouring money into imparting knowledge to our population. However study of our current society reveals that more and more people are being priced out of higher education and those who do complete a course of study may graduate with an albatross of debt.
    What specifically, are you going to do to make United States competitive in the 'knowledge economy'?

    What would you do to provide a wide variety of economical accredited college courses to all citizens through the Internet?

    Based on reported failures, the Federal Government appears to be largely dysfunctional in some very important areas. EX. FAA decides two controllers should be in the tower but only one is hired. A planeload of passengers die at least partially as a result of FAA economy. Ex. Food products and cosmetics come into the United States but the FDA doesn't test them and has no idea if they are safe. Some have antifreeze as an ingredient. EX. Toys arrive for toddlers covered with bright shiny lead filled paint. The Consumer Products commission tests less than 1 % of the products imported. Illegal aliens and drug dealers have been allowed to pour across our borders for decades.

    What specifically, will you do to get government working or eliminate the agencies that are wasting tax dollars?

    Some candidates want to give citizenship to people who are in the United States illegally. Others want to sell citizenship to these people through a series of fines, paid taxes and other contrivances.

    Isn't either option clear evidence of support for selective law enforcement or a selective tolerance of crime?

    Giving or selling citizenship to people here illegally is corrupt and makes the candidate appear to be soft on crime or favoring selective enforcement of the laws doesn't it?

    January 16, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. David, Orange, TX

    QUESTIONS FOR NEXT DEMO DEBATE: For Obama-yes or no-When sworn into Congress, was his hand on the koran or the Bible? For Obama–does he recite the plede of alledgence and if so, is his hand over his heart?
    For all candidates--Why can't we make it LAW that on ALL FOOD PRODUCTS–it must state where the product came from–what Country was it produced in? We as consumers should be able to pick up a product and know where it came from-not just where it was distributed from–whether it is a USA product or what country?

    January 16, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. M Rahenkamp

    Mr. Blitzer

    Earlier this week, a young single African American mother turned to me and said that I was living Martin Luther King’s dream. I am a Caucasian man whose wife is an Asian immigrant and son is African American. Though I understand my young friend’s compliment, I do believe that Dr. King’s dream sought to bring people together regardless of their perception of race, gender, or creed so that all of our children could fully live life. This is much more than what my family may represent.

    My question for all of the candidates revolves around Dr. King deep rooted belief that, for our nation to survive, we as a people must extend our hands in godly love and in reconciliation to those who hate us, so they may recognize our commonality and humanity. That, for all the injury someone may have committed against us, they still are good in God’s eyes.

    Therefore, I ask these candidates if they will extend their hand across this bitter chasm of divisiveness, the bottom of which I have seen just grow deeper and wider in my life time, and hold steadfast to those who are willing to reach back so that we can pull together as a people to start addressing some of the most intractable issues of our time. I ask these candidates if they will show the courage to shun and condemn malicious attacks from any quarter because under scrutiny’s microscope we all fall victim to the denigration of those who gild their opinion under the guise of truth. I ask these candidates if they will avoid the principle of looking sympathetically at all sides such that they forsake a resolute commitment to any side. .

    Mr. Blitzer, in the past 35 years I have seen Watergate, Americans held hostage, Iran-Contra, an Impeachment and a war base on non-existent WMD’s. Though I have seen compromising actions from a few elected officials these types of acts are far too few. (e.g. the gang of 14 in the 2005 judicial nomination crisis) This is the first election cycle I have seen in my life time where there appears a chance for our nation break these shackles of divisiveness and apathy. I know that America can do this. I just worry if she will.

    January 16, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. Derick Trammell

    My question: First a show of hands, how many of you remember ENRON? Now how many of you know you were personally financially affected by its colapse and retirement investment scam.

    401K's and 403B programs have been expanding and increasingly investing in the stock market through mutual funds. many of the plan participants in 401K and 403B programs, have no influence or information about financial matters with in the investments "narrower scope" due to the obscure and lengthy "prospectus" and legal mumbo jumbo. Frequently certain facts that an investor would like to know or should be made a where of ; such as the CEO's extremely high pay, retirement or annual contract bonuses are hidden and or lost in the numbers. In fact a number of CEO's have been given extremely high severance packages for extremely poor performance and even in light of blatant mis-management of some of these companies. I believe a Home Depot CEO received some $400 million despite his poor and infective management. These practices, stock options, perks and "payoffs" border on egregiously unethical and border on corporate theft. I believe that this "walking off" with the profits, of other investors is out of hand an costing many of us our proper share of the wealth and exposes us to undefined and unreasonable risk and financial loss. Congress and more importantly the financial investment community needs to clean up this type of deceptive practice's.

    What new practices, or suggestions to Congress, and or the "investment community" need to be enacted, that will protect the public investment in our personal retirement 401K and 403B plans, as Social Security retirement benefits are reduced and or eliminated, while ensuring fair practices, and providing fair corporate salaries and bonuses, for work, effort and profit, while reducing loss to the small and individual private or employee investor.

    January 16, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  5. Chuck


    Please accept only straight honest answers to specific questions.. NO TAP DANCING.. we are getting tired of this game.

    January 17, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  6. Sean, Santa Barbara, CA

    I know quite a few Muslims, and it sickens me to see the Republican party and many media outlets even CNN just blatently attack their religon, everyone seems to jump as quickly as possiably to add Islam or Muslim to anything bad that a Muslim does. This is a definate form of racism, I am glad to see that you as Democratic candidates have avoided this, but I was wondering how will you help stop the bigitory and hate that is so prevelant?

    January 17, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  7. Jill

    Anchor Wolf Blitzer keeps repeating Clinton's charge on election day. Without any facts proving voter suppression, but repeating those comments... you are doing great harm to our system.

    CNN should consider what they are doing to the system.

    January 19, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. Ron Lipof

    This question is for all candidates – Cancer is the number one killer of Americans. If you are elected President, will you re-declare the war on cancer that President Nixon declared and will you apppoint a cabinet-level cancer czar or Presidential commission to proactively address quality cancer care for the more than 10.5 million Americans currently living with cancer? Please provise a specific thought other than simply increasing NIH funding.

    January 20, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. Bankrupt Citizen

    Facts: The National debt has exceeded $9 trillion dollars! It would take over ten years of my current annual federal taxes, disallowing any and all tax deductions and adjustments, to payoff my portion of this singular tax burden. An estimated $30,000.00 dollars per citizen; a debt that at today’s interest rates would increase my personal debt an additional $350.00 per month to payoff in ten years. My family and I have debts that we are struggling to pay today as our income is reduced, due to cost of living increasing faster than our wages, and jobs are eliminated and outsourced to overseas countries for cheap labor. I am, bankrupt, as I consider this in its fullest scope. I owe a debt of $120,000.00 dollars to the US Government for my wife, two children and myself, to this Nations previous commitments and services rendered in the form of National defense, FEMA aid, border security, Health and Welfare funding, EPA protection and enforcement, and other public works. Combined with my personal and mortgage debts it means that I owe an estimated $175,000.00 dollars today, with an income of about $30,000.00 a year, it would exceed my personal income to payoff all this debt within ten years, over $1500.00 per month. My wife and I have resolved to balance our budget and payoff all our personal debts in the next 10 years by all means at our disposal, so that we may have at least 13 years to prepare for our retirement as we near the current age of 43.

    My question: Will you as President make it an imperative to balance this next year budget (09, even before you take office), to commit, for the foreseeable future to making real and actual progress on every future budget year towards a DEBT free government for our decedents. I expect my children and I will never see this DEBT eliminated in our lifetimes. But I have yet to see progress during my lifetime to reduce it. Can we increase our planned debt reduction to 5 – 15% of the budget in the coming years before all other needs and public outlays? Will you increase taxes or consider enacting a “DEBT Tax and Tariffs “ that will move our Nation towards ending this situation and burden. Will you send the budget back to Congress for all improper and unnecessary programs, until it reflects only the necessary and needed funds and tax burden upon ”we the people”, while providing for our “common defense and General welfare”.

    I respectfully with hold my true name at this time, from the public form.

    Bankrupt Citizen

    January 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Tim

    I heard Hillary speak yesterday at the church in Harlem.

    She once again, as she did in her book, said "That she heard MLK in 1963 and it transformed her life."

    But she was a Goldwater Girl in 1964...as she said, "Through & Through."

    Goldwater was against civil rights at the time and he opposed LBJ in 1964; the same year LBJ signed the Civil Rights Bill.

    Not saying she is racist or anything like that, I just would like someone in the media to ask her about this apparent hypocracy.

    She could not have been transformed in 1963 yet be a Goldwater Girl and oppose LBJ in 1964.

    January 21, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. hlking

    Ask Hillary why her senior thesis at Wellesley was ordered sealed by her husband when he was president. It is the only thesis sealed in over 100 hears at the college. Ask what is so damaging in it that it is sealed. She was a republican "Goldwater Girl" in 1963 and as Goldwater did, SHE OPPOSSED THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL OF 1964. THE CLINTONS ARE TRAYTORS TO BLACK BILL. THEY JUST SHUFFLE AND JIVE WITH THEM AND WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT HAS ADVANCED BLACK PEOPLE AND THEIR CHILDREN. ASK HER HOW SHE BETRAYED HER "BLACK FRIENDS" DURING HER HUSBAND'S ADMINISTRATION.

    January 21, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Peg

    I just saw the republican debate, and though I am a democrat, I really enjoyed the stucture and how the DEBATE was done. NO SILLY QUESTIONS<, no OBAMA
    waving his hand in the air to get everyone's attention when someone else was speaking, no oratory, just answers. I am sorry if you are doing the next democratic debate. It was out of control, and not good. I did not learn anything about the issues and the facts. I am ashamed at the way it was not controlled by you, the moderator.
    Go back to the 90 secomd answers and the lights. The Republican debate was very informative, but hey, Wolf, if you want good TV and lots of newspaper, and E TV news the next day, mess up like you just did last week.
    After all, good debating formats and letting the Democrats speak to the American people come second to squabbling and good ratings, RIGHT?
    I only wish MSNBC had the last two debates. Yours was a travesty.

    January 25, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
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