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. Ciaran Dean-Jones

    It's politically ingenious as well. It shifts some of the political flak of the first months of an administration during midterm elections to both sides of the political spectrum. Historically, the incumbent party has lost seats in Congress some mid term elections, but i think that picking up a Republican running mate can make executive decisions appear to be bipartisan and bilateral, and might even create a sense of unity that this nation hasn't felt since 9/11

    January 14, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  2. Dallas

    Ask Obama about his experiences in Illinois as a community organizer and civil rights attorney and what major accomplishments he gained there and how that has shaped who he is.

    Ask Edwards what would happen if his wife becomes more ill if he is elected and how that woud affect his presidency.

    Ask Hillary how she plans on funding her health care program and if she would re-examine the welfare reform from the 90's since the ecomony and the labor market has changed a lot since then.

    January 14, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  3. Bimmer

    Not fair to criticize Wolf B. for not being even handed to all candidates.

    He is way better than the Tim Russert of Meet the Press, who before the NH primary, grilled Mike Huckabee and the other candidtes on the defense all the timem but on the same show put Obama at ease by having a friendly chat.

    January 14, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  4. Michael

    To all candidates:

    How will you inspire the next generation?

    January 14, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Jerome J Markiewicz

    Question for the next CNN Debate,more likely for a Republican. Since none of the major candidates will admit we can not provide all those domestic goverment programs-benefits ,and also fight the so called "World Wide War on Terrorism" without cutting programs or raising taxes. Their Budget 101 Math does not add up.Unless we think we are going to continue running up a Chinese financed deficit for years to come,whats the real and true answer? Where's the candidate with the detailed plan to reduce the deficit?.Republicans love to parrot such sound bite gems as"Reduce Waste","Reduce Entitlements",yet for 7 years they continued to spend pretend money,without tax income to back it up. The "Decider" was in charge,yes? No one will use or say the "T" word. You need more than than 60 seconds to answer the question about the problem.
    And before you permit Mitt to wax about how he saved the Winter Games,look up how much money he sucked out of the tax payers to fund his cure. Ditto 911 Rudy and his New York Yarns.
    Not one of them ever mentions Goverment Contractors,the "Shadow Workforce",50% or more of the so called "Wastefull Big Goverment"Dollar Outlays&Fiscal Budget they rail against.
    The "Private Industry 'Solution,KBR,Citi Bank,Countryside,GM,Ford,Enron,FEMA Contractors,Defense Contractors,Medical pill pushers,and private hospitals,the Mortgage Business,etc,etc,the list of todays tax funded ,for contracts or bail -outs;"Robber Barons" is endless.
    If the private sector& tax free goverment were so smart,the Chinese would not own our debt,and American Corporations would be number one in each of their world-wide economic sectors. Big Business in America is hardly the shining example of smart guys making money. So we should let them take over more "Core Functions" of public functions,"good job brownie'. The sad news is the U.S. Goverment is already run like G.M.

    January 14, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  6. Mrs. America

    If race persists in being front and center, the real reason for the Electoral College should be investigated. You don't need to ask the candidates anything about it. I doubt they know. Schools do a pretty good job of hiding the shameful premise of our election process. CNN could do an Investigative Report on it, if you want to keep race in the forefront.

    January 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. california voter

    From what I read here, the majority of readers in this forum are narrow-minded and name-calling (i.e., the pot calling the kettle black—absolutely NO PUN intended). Could this intelligent audience take Hillary's words as they are meant: Dr. King was hugely inspiring, a great man, but notwithstanding his intentions and those of his many, many followers, it truly does take an efficient and knowledgeable executive leader to bring those ideals to fruition, and grant absolute rights to all our citizens. It is the same with the disabled—only through the passage of ADA can we begin to mandate their rights. And as far as Johnson's statement goes, it could have been put in a better way, but a discerning voter should be willing and eager to hear the message he was trying to convey: Hillary's focus during her entire adult life has been working for America's people in one way or another, with no diversions in her youth. Based on that history, there is no doubt in her supports' minds that her intentions and deeds will continue in that vein as president. Most people I know are intelligent enough to see the genuinely good characteristics in both candidates, and agree that Mr. Obama is a wonderful man, an inspiring personality, and will make a good vice president and, later, a great president!

    January 14, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  8. Chris in Texas

    Early in Barack Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope," he describes a scene of day-to-day life on the floor of the Senate. "You may see one lone senator standing at his desk after the others have left, seeking recognition to deliver a statement on the floor. It may be an explanation of a bill he's introducing or it may be a broader commentary on some unmet national challenge. The speaker's voice may flare with passion; his arguments... may be soundly constructed. But the speaker will be addressing a near-empty chamber."

    Obama brings the point home with: "In the world's greatest deliberative body, no one is listening." (pp 14-15)

    Given that the Senators that we send to the Senate are there to represent us, the American people, I can't help feeling that, from time to time, it's my voice that is falling vicariously on an empty chamber.

    My question is this: What procedural changes would you recommend to your Vice President in his/her role as President of the Senate to insure that the Senate remains "the world's greatest deliberative body " and to make sure that somebody "is listening?"

    January 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA


    Senator Clinton's message of "experience" has morphed from that to "35 years of experience" and now "35 years of change." Yet she has failed to elaborate on this in any way and has only served seven years as a publicly elected official. I would like to know specific details about this supposed multitude of changes she has enacted.

    January 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  10. John C

    I would ask Obama why his speech was taken off from his website. The one that Bill Clinton talked about which caused some controversy.

    January 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. Ciaran Dean-Jones

    RE: Dev

    As demonstrated by the Bush-Quayle administration, you don't have to have any prior military service to command our military. Up to October of 1965, Dick Cheney had received four draft deferments based on the premise that he was married. That month, the federal government changed the laws protecting married men from the draft. They would now only allow parents to be considered exempt from the draft. Lynne Cheney was pregnant within weeks, earning Cheney his fifth draft deferment during the Vietnam War. He would go on to serve as Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush during the Persian Gulf War. So, in all, a war-time Sec. of Defesnse had five draft deferments during his draft-eligible years.

    January 14, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  12. Dorsey Lamont

    Question to Clinton:

    Don't you think America has had enough of a 2 family ruling. Bush, Clinton, Bush =20 years and nothing has come out of it except a well deserve tax break. Why should we continue down a dead end path?

    January 14, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. Courtney in N.C.

    What will you do to rein in the banking industry's credit card rates. 30% interest is not only excessive but until recently illegal. The poor can never get out of debt. Now we have to bail the banks out of the sub-prime mess and that was also illegal. Let's put the bankers in prison ( not some club for the rich ) and make them pay for their crimes. I can give you pretty good odds that if we were to rob them the same way we'd be in prison.

    January 14, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    I suspect Wolf will be pitching mostly softballs.

    I'll bet they will hit them out of the park.

    None will have any substance behind them.

    January 14, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. B.W. Horwich

    I would like Wolf to ask the Illinois senator if he is giving any consideration to the Rev. Jesse Jackson or Oprah, who are both supporters of his, for cabinet or other positions in his administration. Thank you, B.W.H.

    January 14, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  16. NY Voter

    I am an African-American who used to be among the adamant Clinton supporters. However, after watching this Presidential race I will NEVER VOTE FOR A CLINTON AGAIN. If Hillary wins the nomination I will either not vote at all, or support a Republican. I don’t believe the Clinton’s are racist, but I do believe the Clintons have a history of, presenting demonstrating a willingness to, interject race into the national discussion as method of manipulating the voting process. A charge which I feel is far worse than being called an out right racist, because in doing so the Clintons not only marginalize African-American voters, they transgress the rights of every American citizen by reinvigorating rational tensions which this nation has work so earnestly to absolve. The Clintons know that they only way to beat Obama is to paint him as the “black president.” They know he will take South Carolina, so they are trying their hardest to bury him there in this race nonsense; nonsense which has no long-term benefit for the Obama campaign.

    Now, I am normally a CNN viewer, lol, but I truly believe FOX is the only network that is approaching this issue objectively, and not with a dismissive attitude. Furthermore, I watched Hillary on the “Meet The Press,” where she miss quoted Dr. King saying, “justice can be legislated.” This remark was actually stated by Malcom X when he and King witness the Senate debate the Civil Rights Act. The fact that Clinton would not only reduce the legacy of Dr. King, but then confuse the rhetoric of two African-American heroes, is utterly outrageous, really speaks of her knowledge of African-American history and present issues. Furthermore, I am surprised that non of the black leaders have picked up on this.

    January 14, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  17. Ken Sproull

    I would like you to ask each candidate to answer yes or no to the top questions so the public would know where each candidate stands on the major issues. Those are economy, closing border, canceling trade agreements, ending the war now, enforcing tariffs, sending illegals back to where they come from, border fence and so on. I think you get the idea of what I think we should know. No long answers, just a yes and no without any of their" i want to explain that comment. Keep the answers short so you can ask more questions.

    Lou for President

    January 14, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. Mike Tracy

    Shame on CNN.
    The latest polls for head-to-head as spionsored by CNN only contain data on Clinton & Obama vs four repubs. Where's the Edwards data? Hey Blitzer- here's a headline news item I'm sure you won't make: "News reporter Questions own Network: Where's the Edward data?"

    As a Nevada Democrat I can only wonder why CNN and the other pollsters decided Hillary and Obama are the two Dems to watch despite the November polling data that said Edwards faired better, and in fact beat, all the Repubs.
    The three are in a virtual statistical tie in Nevada according to the Reno Gazette Journal's latest poll (1/12). Why have the news outlets decided not to ask about Edward's vs the Repubs, when he was clearly the winner in December polls?

    Clearly the circus act is better between Hillary and Obama, but I take my politics seriously, as do many Nevadans, and expect, no, require CNN to do the same. Otherwise put on the big floppy shoes and join the circus entertainment at FOX.

    January 14, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  19. darrell

    To all the candidates: A Question on experience: in 1992, Governor Bill Clinton once said in response to President Bush senior’s statement on experience "the same old experience is not relevant" Bill was making his case for Change, in 1992. Do you think that applies today as well?

    Senator Clinton: did your experience help you when voting for the Iraq war? Did experience help you Senator Clinton in giving Bush authorization to exercise the option of war with Iran?

    Thank You

    January 14, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Norma

    For all candidates: If you are elected, what will you do to prevent abuse of eminent domain for the benefit of commercial enterprises?

    January 14, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  21. Tiffanie Oliver Daniels

    Ask Hillary: How does being First Lady equate to 35 years of experience. Will you release your records to back up this claim? I think this is relevant because there is a belief in your camp Barack Obama didn't wait his turn.

    Thank You In Advance,


    January 14, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  22. darrell

    Obama: during Service in illinois on the state level, What did you accomplish that would be an example of what to expect as a presiden?

    January 14, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  23. Mary Chandler

    I feel that Hillary copies everything Obama says. She has put herself on the defense. She has been very disappointing. I like Obama alot. He has been himself and he appears to be honest. Please ask him when in his life -what time period did he decide that he might consider running for president and who would he consider to be an inspiration to him. Thank you so much.

    January 14, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  24. Andrew

    Please ask Senator Clinton to FINALLY explain in detail her 35 years of experience.

    January 14, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  25. Ashok Bhagat

    In New Hampshire even though Mrs Clinton won you allowed the longest time for Mr. Obama's speech. I think you are favoring Obama's candidature. I am not a democrat but it is quite clear where are you standing. So much for journalistic neutrality.

    January 14, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
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