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. bambie

    This question is for Obama:

    I always hear you talking about CHANGE, so my question is: In what way & how? How soon? Heard you came from KENYA. So how could you give U.S. the so called CHANGE of yours when you cannot even help to change your own hometown which in the verge of chaos right now.

    January 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  2. Tiffanie Oliver Daniels

    Question for Hillary: Why haven't you rejected the statement by Cuomo and Bob Johnson? I find Bob Johnson's comments more disturbing...This was Black on Black crime at is worst.

    January 14, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  3. Barbara

    No fighting! Please only ask only questions about what their plans are about the issues.

    January 14, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  4. Richard L

    I would be pleased if someone could bring up the fact that what is good for America, is to vote on the candidate's past actions and their future plans if elected President, instead of what race, gender, religion or any other non-important factor. If we ever want a person to be respected for who they are and what they do or will do, then the media, including your show, has to stop addressing these biases in the voting process and get down to ISSUES. I hear Obama saying we can, but not what we can, I hear Clinton generalizing and never taking a firm stand on the military issues, and Edwards like the rest has to give substance to what he is willing to do. The Republicans are not better, with Romney giving nothing more than a suave politicians double talk, McCain's past actions relying on his "Serving" status since the Vietnam War, and Huckabee's "good ol' boy" presentation. I know that Giuliani isn't out of the race yet, but just because his actions as Mayor of New York City were laudible, there needs to be more substance in what he says. Are our ignorance and predjudices going to elect another business as usual Washingtonite, or we as a country going to start asking the hard questions and start putting the candidates feet to the fire?

    January 14, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  5. Patricia

    for Senator Clinton
    re: No Child Left Behind

    As a recently retired (31 yrs.) high school teacher, I see the NCLB program of the Bush Adm. as just a legislative demand that by hook or by crook every student be "given" a high diploma. By the year 2014, 100% of students are supposed to graduate or a school is "failing." This includes special education students, and students who work for a GED (their lack of a "regular" high school diploma counts against the school). This is a totally unrealistic goal. Some students (and their parents) would not come to the school if you promised them a diploma just for showing up on time. Teachers' classes are already so overloaded with students who don't want to be there and students whose IQ's are so low that they couldn't possibly pass the "true" curriculum, that they do not have adequate time to give to those students who want to learn and are able to learn.

    If we are to improve education, we must have standards and quit pretending that students know course material that they do not know.

    January 14, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |

    Ask Barack Obama this:

    Why is the first advertisement in your campaign that features your mother, who is white, premiering in the state of Arizona? Why not air that same ad in South Carolina? What role did race play in this decision?

    January 14, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  7. Tom

    To any or all candidates:

    It seems many of your proposed mandates for universal health care will guarantee universal coverage but don't dramatically improve the quality of care available in certain federally-funded programs, notably for veterans. As it is becoming increasingly unclear when the Democratic Party plans to provide for a withdrawal from Iraq, and the end of a war that is producing high numbers of wounded veterans that our health-care system seems incapable of accommodating, will the health care reforms that you plan to undertake during your presidency provide for better care for wounded veterans, subsidized by the US or state governments alongside your health-care initiative?

    January 14, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  8. Efon

    Sen. Obama, please be precise and elaborate, and tell America and the world why they should vote for you over Sen. Hillary Clinton. Also, if you are the nominee for the democratic party and become the president – How will you implement change in terms of solving the current economy mess, fixing ithe problems associated with innner city schools and in dealing with the issues of crime, diseases, unemployment and entitlement within the black population .

    January 14, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  9. fabian

    I am not american, but i am interested in this election because whatever happens in the U.S, affects all the world. What are you gonna do with the "anti american" feeling?

    January 14, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  10. ralph

    this question goes to Hillary.did you vote for the war in iraq based on your experience?

    January 14, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  11. mrsbeasley

    Question for Hillary Would you pledge here tonight to ask Charlie Rangel and others to not use degrading words like stupid when describing your opponant while they are espusing your virtues as the future president?

    January 14, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  12. Naima

    To all those who keep griping about CNN not being neutral in its coverage of the candidates. Hello!!! When has CNN been neutral in its coverage of ANY news story. Watch the CNN's coverage of an issue and then catch the BBC's coverage the same issue, and the coverage of any two or three other international newspapers and you'll realize that CNN is not exactly the arbiter of fair news. So it comes as no surprise to me that sometimes they spin in Barack's favor, and other times they spin in Hillary's favor. CNN is a little more than glorified tabloid - i mean look at all the coverage they've given to this suppsoed race and gender issue lately.

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

    Dear Mr. Blitzer:
    I have a question that you might consider asking the presidential candidates in the upcoming debates.
    I am a local prosecutor. Many public sector attorneys, including me, have astronomical student loans. Private attorneys are paid salaries double or sometimes triple that of government or non-profit attorneys. The lure of the higher salary is often too hard to resist when an attorney is trying to buy a house, start a family of his/her own and still repay the outstanding law school debt. As a result there is often a brain drain in government agencies.
    As we have seen in New Orleans, and other areas (ie. the Altanta Courthouse shooting trial), this brain drain has put the criminal justice system in a crisis. Young, usually inexperienced, attorneys are asked to handle ever-growing caseloads. And they must do so with ever decreasing resources. (The Federal Government has recently decreased funding for training at programs such as the National Advocacy Center at the University of South Carolina). Cases that should be prosecuted are dismissed, simply because the prosecutors don't have the resources to get the witnesses and evidence to court. On the flipside, indigent defendants are not getting competent counsel and people are wrongly convicted.
    What if anything will the candidates do to ensure that justice really is being sought (and found) in the criminal justice system? What will they do, as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, to address the crisis?
    Thanks –

    January 14, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  14. Richard L

    Question for Clinton, Obama, and Edwards:

    If it were possible to draft a bill and present it without the possibility of attaching any legislation that did not deal directly with that issue, would this not be a way for Congress to pass or reject legislation in a more timely and efficient manner? If not, why?


    January 14, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  15. Jenn

    I'm sad that CNN is hosting the debate again. They are OBVIOUSLY anti-Hillary. It's embarrassing.

    January 14, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  16. Mlana

    My Question:

    To Clinton: What do you say to critics who state that you will be unable to truly bring about health care reform due to your relationship with the lobbyists?

    To Obama: What is your specific plan to remove the influence that big business (aka lobbyists) has over our government?

    January 14, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. Derrick

    Am I the only one here that heard John McCain say during one of debates, When ask if NAFTA was good for America John McCain SAID YES. Tell that to the 450,000 people in Michigan that watched there jobs go overseas. John McCain supported and sponsor a bill for illegal immagrantion that would allow over 50 million to get Amnesty, ( I'm being very generous when I say 50 million)

    January 14, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  18. Duop Chak, Colorado Springs, CO

    Wolf, ask Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama these two questions:

    Why criticism has recently dominated your campaigns goals and virtually your main focus instead of focusing more on what you will be doing if elected?

    Do you think voters will buy that?

    January 14, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  19. Naima


    What's wrong with mimicking MLK? He is a well respected and admired leader. I'm sure there are many who mimic him in one way or another.

    January 14, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  20. Peaceofpie

    Will Kucinich be available for Questions? If not, I would like to ask the other candidates what they think about Dennis Kucinich being excluded from the debates since the Iowa Desmoines debate. Is this right being that thousands of Americans who are working for the Kucinich campaign are doing so because they believe his message is important to the people of this country and that he would be a great president? Does his campaign make the others look bad because he voted the right way over and over and has been proven to have been the man with the better judgment than any of the other candidates? Can we really believe we are more democratic than other countries that use the media to shut down those they don't want to offer as a viable choice to the citizens of a nation? I would like to know what we can hope for in future elections and for the rest of this election. My choice is Kucinich and he will get my vote, because he voted the right way for me in the Congress, and that is something that proves just who he is and what he will do as president. Let him in the debates or stop calling America a democratic country.

    January 14, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. Steve, ATL

    Will Wolfe ask Mrs. Bill Clinton if Sid. Blumenthal was the drunk that hit Cate Edwards?

    January 14, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  22. Naima


    What specifics has Hillary given?

    All this talk about Barack being an orator is a bunch of mumbo jumbo. He is a great speaker– but so is Hillary Rodham Clinton. I don't find him a better orator than she. But I also don't find Hillary to be saying anything specific either.

    January 14, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  23. Sunny, Farmington Hills, MI

    Question for Obama and Clinton,

    When will you guys stop behaving like small kids, grow up and start acting like a president if you really desire to be president of a great country. Your bickering at each other reminds me of spoilt brat in the downtown area. We already had a big bully for 8 years, we do not want some idiot as a president who cannot go beyond civil rights and Dr. King for votes.

    Do you really have solutions to our issues or are you guys just good for blame game? After all Obama, you are a Havard gradutate for crying out loud and Ms. Clinton, you can certainly do better than wipe your tears on the screen.

    January 14, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  24. Richard L

    With my son being born outside of the United States while I was on military duty in Germany, he, by law, cannot become President of the United States. While thousands of children of miltary members are born overseas each year and are not eligible to become President, and while children born in the United States of "ILLEGAL ALIENS" are eligible to become President, what are you going to do to change legislation to ensure my child and those of other hornorably serving members of our military will have the LEGAL right to run for President? Many members serving accompanied tours who have had children overseas, may serve later in a combat zone and be killed. Do there children not have the right to become President of the Country that their parent died for?


    January 14, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. HD

    I have noticed that what Hillary was saying about having to take on 'the boys club' it appears that maybe it's true. There almost seems to be some kind of effort by some of the male candidates trying to rough up Hillary, while Barack sat back (and now can no longer), being the strong quiet type as was suggested in a Chicago newspaper. I site at least two other things here that she is being targeted for. First of all, why would Edwards take on a hot issue as the King comments made a few days ago? Why would he' feel so strongly about it and directly attack Hillary, along side Obama, who I can understand why he' would question what she meant?

    Second, why would Kucinich offer to pay for a N.H. re-count, just because Hillary won that State. Why hasn't he offered to have some kind of investigation into the Iowa caucus, that Obama won by a large margin, when Hillary and Obama where neck and neck in the polls?

    Is this fair and is it just a matter of voters realizing this and making their decision on who they want to vote for? Especially those who are undecided? Or is this something that can be looked at and addressed in some way? Is this sexism?

    January 14, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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