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BLITZER'S BLOG: My thoughts before tonight's debate
January 26th, 2012
03:26 PM ET

BLITZER'S BLOG: My thoughts before tonight's debate

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) – I am blessed with a great team of producers and researchers who have helped me craft a lot of strong questions for tonight’s Republican presidential debate here on the campus of the University of North Florida. First of all, let me thank them. Hopefully, I won’t disappoint our viewers tonight.

This will be my third Republican debate in this presidential cycle. The ones I moderated at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa and at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., I thought, were solid and informative. We focused on some of the most important issues impacting Americans. I will try to do that once again tonight.

The earlier debates had eight candidates on the stage. Four finalists remain tonight. That means each candidate will get some more time. And that is good.

My goal is that the voters in Florida and across the country will have a better appreciation of these candidates following the debate. I want the voters to know where the candidates agree and where they disagree. Undecided Republicans certainly need to know how each candidate would operate as president.

Four years ago, I moderated five presidential debates. Each was important, especially that final debate I moderated at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. At that time, only Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were left on the stage. The debate was substantive and important and no doubt shaped Democratic voters.

Having said that, I believe all these Republican debates in this current election cycle may in fact be even more important. Tonight’s debate will be the 19th. Millions of people are watching and learning and making final voting decisions. And that’s the way it should be.

One final personal note: I feel honored that I have this opportunity to moderate the debate. No matter how many times I do it, I feel blessed.

CNN LIVE: Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Republican Party of Florida Debate hosted by Wolf Blitzer and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the Florida primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.


Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Florida • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Divya

    hey guys, saw you play paradiso, super nice!!! obama was for the bail out, he wants to bomb kisaptan.. was ok about the wiretapping.. wants global carbon tax, got 4 times more wallstreet money than mcain.. he is not going to repeal the patriot act.. :(

    April 5, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  2. Doug Ericson

    We are blessed to have you in these turbulent times Mr. Blitzer. The witty North Korean diplomat was right, that you are like a second President, ( because you have your own situation room ), and in fact you probably spend more time speaking with the world leaders than President Obama does. I hope that in the debates that follow the candidates will be asked to give their position on Pooled Mortgage Securities, and what kind of effect they think they have had on American citizens. It was a great show last night, very fast paced. You even got to get the stare of ultimate disdain from from the master of disdain himself, Newt Gingrich. That in itself must have made all your hard work and preperaptions worthwhile. Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    January 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • David King in Seattle

      II thought the debate was a real joke myself! the Feds are dumping toxic assets into the federal reserve called QE2. I could care less about "what Mitt said about Newt, and what Newt said about Romney!" Not one question had anything to do with the destruction of the Free Press, Internet, Religion, the Constitution or how about the collapse of the dollar as the world currency. I am a Military Historian, read what happens to a country when they do unmitigated money printing like the U.S. is doing called QE2; and now they are buying their own bonds? and now about to start with QE3! Does the country realize that the US is buying toxic mortgages and dumping this into the federal reserve! Pretty soon a country will say. we don't want your money, because its debt money "like China just did!" Get ready people because your about to see the next great depression!

      January 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  3. AdamK101

    Wolf, you have not been among the most fair to Ron Paul either prior to or after Thursday's debate, but thanks much for being fair throughout your moderating of the debate. It's nice to see that at least at times the media performs its important role in a democracy by giving all candidates an opportunity to express themselves and allowing the voters to decide.

    Thus as critical as I am, I felt obliged to convey credit when credit is due. Thanks

    January 27, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  4. Perk

    Great debate and Mr. Blitizer did an out standing job making sure all candidates fairly were given questions to answer.Newt always wants to smack back but Blitizer held his ground on a reasonable question to have asked. Santorum and Paul won that debate and Ron Paul was funny and had us all laughing. I mean laughed hard and hope Hillary Clinton watches that Florida debate and she needs a good laugh.Couldn't help but think,man oh man if those guys were up against her in a debate they'd be torn up hard other than Ron Paul. Obama didn't out debate Hillary Clinton.Santorum knocked the fire out of Romney on health care but they'd all sink if Hillary was up there.

    January 27, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • David King in Seattle

      This is what you should really be concerned about, After the great depression the U.S. gave every bank a guarantee that if the homeowner failed to pay their mortgage the US would pay the outstanding balance TO THE MORTGAGE HOLDER, then after WW2 the British transferred the Silver currency over to the US "making the US dollar the reserve currency of the world." The US gave a guarantee TO EVERY GOVERNMENT HOLDING US TREASURY NOTES THAT THEY COULD EXCHANGE THIS BACK INTO GOLD AT ANY TIME. You know what's happening now? The US has been transferring this debt into the Federal Reserve and printing money for these banks! At this very moment the United Stats is engaged in UNMITIGATED MONEY PRINTING! THE FEDS ARE NOW BUYING THEIR OWN BONDS, SO THEY CAN PRINT MORE MONEY? I have studied this my whole life! EVERY GOVERNMENT THAT HAS DONE THIS HAS GONE OUT OF EXISTENCE! THEY WILL CREATE HYPERINFLATION WITHIN 4 YEARS. "Germany 1923" "Rome 340 A.D." France did this twice... China just announced "they do not want any more money," they have said "IT'S DEBT MONEY, IT HAS NO WORTH" and just two days ago "for the first time" an oil producing nation said WE WANT GOLD FOR OUR OIL, WE WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY U.S. MONEY! Nixon took the country off the Gold standard in 1970. Obama has spent 5 Trillion and for the first time in history the US has reached 100% of its GDP... That is called BROKE. So now the country is buying its own money "BONDS" in order to print more money? they are know about to start QE3. This is how 99% of all wars have started on the planet... Google that and see if I am wrong!

      January 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  5. Rani

    Wolf did a great job on the debate last night. Thank you, especially, for not backing down to Newt. I am not super excited about any of the candidates; however, I don't think Romney should be crucified just because he is rich. When did that become a liability to run for elections?

    January 27, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  6. Andy hrehorovich

    If any one is against ndaa its Ron Paul.He's also against the patriot act. Both are building blocks for the upcoming enabling act. If the voters don't become more educated then we will continue in the wrong direction at freefall speed.

    January 26, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  7. Nudnik

    Why is it that everyone in the news media insists on referring to Newt Gingrich as "Mr. SPEAKER"???

    Newt Gingrich was FORCED TO RESIGN that position as an embarrassment to the Republican party and the nation in regard to HIS CORRUPTION CHARGES and other shady dealings!!!

    I can't imagine anyone wanting a person with such lack of moral character to lead this country

    Please REFRAIN from call him "Mr. Speaker" in the future....

    January 26, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  8. tankman

    why did you skip Dr. Paul on the question about Puerto Rico being 51 State and about Palestine/Israel. NOT COOL WOLF & CNN. I thought every candidate was given 90 seconds each question.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  9. mary

    Shame on you Wolf. You did not go after what is the most important to the American people. I thought it was a joke when before the break, you were going to ask the candidates why their wives would be a good first lady. Hello, we are not electing a first lady, we are electing the next President. Stop going for the ratings and the mundane, stick to topics that are germane to the American public and heaven help all of you going for ratings at the expense of the Republican Candidates. Stop pitting them against each other and find out what where each candidate stands. I thought that you would do a better job than Juan and King, guess I was wrong.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  10. Laurie

    Finally a debate moderator who asks relevant questions and maintains control. Best debate thus far. Excellent work Wolf.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  11. Griff

    "I will never understand your Tax System. So there is no way you can expect investments in the USA. You are so Multi Biased through a hundread years of neglect, that the implode will never trust it's suroundings."

    January 26, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
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