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September 12th, 2011
03:36 PM ET

Blitzer: My job at the CNN Tea Party Debate

Wolf Blitzer talks about how he sees his job as moderator of tonight's CNN Tea Party Republican Debate.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on, CNN Politics on Facebook and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

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Filed under: 2012 election • Debates • Situation Room • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Ktina0

    Regarding Ron Paul's comment on health care: It is easy for the rich to make flippant statements and be able to raise money large sums of money. Maybe their family, friends, and church can afford to pick-up their medical tab. But unfortunately, my hard working family doesn’t have those availabilities nor do we expect to burden them with our debts. I believe greed starts at the top.

    September 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  2. Nancy

    Also, please don't compare what the treasurer did to what Madoff did. He took from those who didn't have it to spare and the treasurer took from those who don't need it and can get it back with no problem.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  3. Nancy

    Great job last night Wolf...with that being said, your news story about the poverty level in the US is very sad and disheartning. How about giving us some figures on what our government makes and how many of them are under the poverty level. We elect them to go and make decisions that are for our best interests and instead they act like a bunch of 2 yr. olds with their fighting and name calling. We need help in the US and we need it now. Oh and by the way, if you find any of our elected officials that make under $23,000, give me their names and I'll send them a donation out of my Social Security Disability payment that took me years to get.

    September 13, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  4. Jerry R Hammock

    I would be considered a moderate conservative in my political views. I also consider CNN as for the most part too Liberal. That being said, Wolf Blitzer did an excellent job in moderating the Tea Party/Republican debate. For the most part he was very concise, fair and managed the debate in an excellent fashion. My hats off to you Wolf and Thank you!

    September 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  5. Eric

    Good job Mr. Blitzer. This debate had excellent questions, gave adequate time to all the candidates, and had a good flow. Overall, it was very well done.

    September 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  6. Roberta Jackson


    I am a staunch conservative and don't have a lot of positive experiences listening to CNN. I more often than not take issue with your stand on issues. But I would be severely remiss if I did not commend you on the absolutely stunning and excellent job you did as moderator. I heard more from the candidates last night than I have previously. You asked the right questions, you kept them focused, you were incredibly respectful and you did not let them get away with dodging. Thank you so much!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
  7. Evan

    As a conservative independent, I think that you did a good job as moderator., One Attaboy.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
  8. Susan

    I wish you had asked your healthcare question of Ron Paul about a hypothetical unemployed 30 year old man who lost his job because his position was outsourced and no longer can no longer afford healthcare insurance. That situation is happening frequently now....better yet, make him a 55 year old man with pre existing conditions who is unemployed, cobra has run out, etc. REALITY!

    September 13, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  9. Larry Patterson

    Wolf, I've seen you go after people who dance around a question. Last night the questions were very reasonable, however, time and time again you and only you allowed these people to to avoid even coming close to the answers required. They danced around you and it made you look incompetent, they were able to avoid the hard answers and you helped them. You looked like a deer in the headlights when they just smiled and changed the subject on you. Let someone else ask the questions next time, you've become part of the problem.

    September 13, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Randy

      I agree with you 100%. When Mr. Blitzer asked Bachman about the hypothetical person who need health care, she when on to rant and rave about something totally un-related to the question posed to her. Mr. Bltzer should have stopped her in her tracks and made her answer the question he asked. That is the job of the moderator. Mr. Blitzer let her off the hook. I have noticed in the last year or so that Mr. Blitzer has become much more timid as an interviewer. In my opinion, I think that CNN is trying to pander to the Right in order to cut into Fox's ratings.

      September 17, 2011 at 8:19 am |
  10. Edna A Coffin

    As a jouranlist, you should be ashamed for helping to provide a platform for the propaganda of the Tea Party. You gave the GOP candidates a platform where they could outdo each other in their mean spirited views to win this vocal, radical and anti-democratic minority that is the Tea Party. Without the support of big money behind them and the media, such as CNN, the Tea Party would not get the same attention that you gave them. Do some investigative reporting to enlighten your aduience – that is your main role as a journalist.

    We have not seen you or CNN give a voice to sensible and progressive thinking Americans, who display intelligence and compassion and seek to provide some serious solutions to acute problems facing our society .

    September 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  11. steve

    Wolf why did you NOT correct rick perry when he lied and said the "800B' Stim package created ZERO JOBS".
    The CBO and everybody w/ a brain knows it created 2.5M to 3.6 Million jobs... you sat there on live TV and said nothing to correct that freak– what is wrong with you?
    you both need to learn how to read–
    PS your t- party love fest was disgusting.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  12. Jeff

    That was quite a beat down you got last night from the Republican candidates. Everytime you tried to push your liberal agenda, you were dominated by the candidate. TV worth watching!!

    September 13, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  13. Michael B

    Really disappointed that moderators cannot get candidates to answer their questions, you included Wolf. Example: Bachman's response to the hypothetical case of a 30 year old uninsured who needs extensive treatment. Not once in her response did she refer to it much less answer it. Ron Paul floundered when asked the same question previously by suggesting that one's local church assume responsibility for the patient. You should have posed that question to each of the candidates and demand that they answer it directly.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  14. Rick

    Hey Wolfe why are Tea Party people called activists several times during the debate? Would you call the NAACP activists as well? Seems a little biased choce of words. Keep carrying the water for Mr. Obama.

    September 13, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  15. Tamara Heater

    I must say, you did a fantastic job!

    September 13, 2011 at 3:17 am |
  16. Barbara Cassidy

    I think Wolf did a remarkable job moderating so many candidates which necessitated a fast pace and deft handling. As a liberal, I found a lot to quarrel with, but at the same time, as a political junkie, found it fascinating. Big kudos to Wolf, whose knowledge and preparation shone!

    September 13, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  17. Ian Woofenden

    Wolf, You are a step better than the typical mainstream media commentator, but there were a few things that were glaringly unbalanced tonight:
    * No one on the stage would have even been AWARE of the problem of the Fed if it weren't for Ron Paul relentless focus on this vital issue, but he was not even asked about it, nor was his book mentioned.
    * The excellent question from the young man wondering how much of his income he should keep was only given to one of the candidates, and he did not answer it clearly.
    * The post-debate poll included candidates who are running roughly 1st, 2nd, and 4th in national polls, and didn't include Dr. Paul.
    * Perry and Romney got a disproportionate amount of response time.
    Thanks for listening,

    September 13, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  18. Gary Haegerich


    By your own definition of what your job was tonight, you slipped up by letting Bachmann off the hook for not answering your question initially to Ron Paul about the 30 year old who needed an operation but did not have the finds to pay for it. She did not answer it and you did not point that out.

    Also, I wish that moderators would bring out the background on some of these issues. For instance, Perry's exec order for the 12 year old girls. How bad is this problem in the country and in Texas? What are the numbers of girls affected? How much did it cost taxpayers? We heard the moral side argued by Bachmann and Santorum, which is fine but it would be nice to know more background also.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:31 am |
  19. M Khan

    Best question of tonight was the 30 year old guy in ICU without insurance and what to do with him. None of the clowns on the stage had any answer except sheer hatred for Obama's healthcare plan and also showed the real side of tea party when someone shouted that the guy should be allowed to die.

    September 13, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  20. Canadian

    Wolf, regarding the hypothetical question you asked Sen. Paul (a young man dying unable to pay). I think the point in free care is not about one man dying. It is about being at the end of the day better for every one. I think that's what should be asked. An example: A man has psychiatric illness and can't pay for it. The cost of treating the psychiatric illness is $20K per year. Untreated, he kidnap and kills the neighbors daughter. The system spends million on finding him, proving he is the murderer, trying him for murder and keeping him in jail. The life of the kid, priceless. Which one is more cost effective? The kid's life and millions of dollars could have been saved by spending $20K per year. Another example, the young man has a simple disease. He doesn't get treatment and the simple disease becomes complicated. for the rest of his life he becomes dependant. If the government had spent $1000 on his treatment, he would be functional and paying many thousands dollars in taxes.

    Americans need to learn that universal health care is an investment not an expense.

    September 12, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
  21. JohnWaters

    Wow, didn't agree with much of what was said by the delegates, but that was the best public debate I have ever seen in the US or Canada in terms of how you guided this debate and the fairness you gave to delegates in giving them all an equal chance to express their opinions.......Wolf, you showed great leadership tonigh,. I learned a lot ...great job... Wolf you are awesome.

    September 12, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
  22. Ros Bregozzo

    Well, referring to my previous post, as I saw the candidates on the stage, it appears they were standing on little individual platforms behind their lecterns. So I guess they could be considered to be "podiums", so I would withdraw my previous comment and presume Wolf does recognize the difference and was speaking "precisely"

    September 12, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  23. Ros Bregozzo

    As a nationally recognized and distinguished journalist and television commentator it surprised me to hear you ask the Republican candidates " to take your podiums". What you should have said is " to take your lecterns". All the candidates were on the same stage or platform (podium), each with an individual lectern. Speakers stand ON A PODIUM and BEHIND A LECTERN.
    This is a mistake that seems to occur often in the news media.

    September 12, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  24. Anna Peters

    Thank you for hosting a fair and informative republican presidential debate. Most mainstream media-sponsored republican debates resort to "gotcha" tactics, with questions designed to entrap and humiliate. I had given up on CNN due to its hyper-attention to republican flaws, and its whitewashing of democratic mistakes. After this debate, I will watch CNN again. Another reason I'll give CNN another "look" is your freedom project and your focus on the dire situation in North Korea. North Korea is one big concentration camp. We must shine light on this dark place.

    September 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  25. Gayle Dwyer

    You did a great job tonight! I have not watched CNN for a long time due to your liberal stance. However, I will began checking you out again. This was the best debate so far. thank you.

    September 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm |
  26. Katty

    Good Job Wolf Blitzer...this was actually an enjoyable debate and really went a long way in separating the men from the boys....I think Bachmann is wrong on the shot for girls...Paul showed his real colors...just suffice to say I got more out of this debate than any so far and appreciate the way you handled it. I am still a convinced Romney fan.

    September 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  27. bob and nancy skalla

    Mr. Blitzer,
    We respect you. But during the Republican debate the perfect question was asked…a question that got to the crux of a portion of healthcare problems. You asked about the 30 year old who was seriously ill and without insurance. Perfect! But when Michelle Bachman answered and swayed and dodged – you never held her to an answer. That’s how these politicians get away with lies and distortions. You obviously work so hard to keep everyone informed while keeping some happy – but this was too important of a moment to let it slide. We respect you, but we were very disappointed.

    September 12, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Michael B

      Funny that the Republican candidates wouldn't have to answer the question if we had Obamacare because that 30 year old would have had to buy insurance.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
  28. Michael Sulich

    It was interesting to see the candidates dance around your question about who should pay when a 30 year old decides he does not want to carry health insurance and then ends up in a hospital , in a coma. Whose responsible ?? I have never seen a more childish set of candidates !!!! God help America !!

    September 12, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  29. vicky

    Wolf. If medicare is broke, why are senior citizens been forced into medicare part A when not needed nor wanted?

    September 12, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
  30. georgia halloran

    Gov. Romney, You had the chance to keep gay marriages out of MA-why didn't you?

    September 12, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Katty

      Georgia I think you need to check all your facts before applying an innuendo. Gov Romney did everything possible to avert gay marriage in MA. There's not much one man in MA can do...too weird

      September 14, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  31. Alicia Hill

    Governor Perry wants to do away with big government,however, he is asking for money to assist with the fires in Texas. If he has been such a "GREAT GOVERNOR" why doesn't he have sufficient funds within the state to take care of the needs of his state?

    September 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  32. Keith


    I was offended by your dismissal of Rep. Wasserman Schultz's attempt to explain and then challenge your portrayal of how the wealthiest Americans contribute to taxes in this country. Although you did not to focus on that topic, your handling of that segment sounded biased towards and dismissive of the her perspective.

    September 12, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
  33. Greg, Ontario

    Don't let these twits your moderating get to you Wolf. imho you are the perfect person for the job.

    September 12, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  34. Preston

    Dear Wolf,
    Pllease do not let tonight turn into another Obama bashing session. We are all well aware of what they think of The President. We do not really have a clue as to exactly what they would do about anything...everything! ASK these people what THEY would do. Tell them to please not tell us what they will NOT do. Make them answer the question.
    Go for it!
    Thanks Wolf for all you do...we love you.

    September 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  35. Greg

    Wolf, First, please do not pander to the Tea Party, the are a small but vocal group of voters. Do not put Perry and Romney front and center. Ask questions fairly to all candidates. Do not allow any one candidate to monopolize the time. Ask them, Would they promise to not run for a second term if their promises for job growth, debt reduction did not succeed?

    September 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  36. Josh Daniels

    Please ask them about the War on Drugs and Medical Marijuana.

    September 12, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  37. Jim Thomas

    All everybody is doing is wasting time with talk,lets see action.Remember,all incumbants must goJim Thomas Phx.Az.

    September 12, 2011 at 4:19 pm |

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