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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 or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

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

    Wolf for Pres, I like that beard man.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  2. Jason

    Mr. Blitzer,

    Newt has been traveling the state of Florida, disparaging Romney and his wealth. Many of his comments seem like class warfare. However, Newt also advocates a 0% capital gains tax.... which would mean that the ultra-wealthy in this country would pay little to no taxes at all! This not only is concerning to me but seems very hypocritical. Can you ask Newt how he rectifies these apparent marked inconsistencies?

    Jason in Hawaii

    January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. us1776

    Obama has more class than all of the GOP clowns put together.

    Latest electoral polls show Obama with a sizable lead against every single one of these candidates.


    January 26, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  4. John Tarver

    Ask Santorum why he and Scarborough are so proud of their revolt in the House against fiscal responsibility. Their little coup failed and Newt was re-elected to office and Speaker in 1998, but resigned in order to work on his personal problems. After Gingrich and Livingston were gone the Republicans were difficult to tell from Democratic partisans.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  5. John, Florida

    Mr. Gingrich when in your life have you ever led anything to successful conclusion that required you to work with other people? Your first two marriages? Your speakership?

    January 26, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  6. JohnRJ08

    My goal for tonight's debate is NOT TO WATCH IT! I have had enough of these people. They are like a bunch of circus clowns throwing pies at each other. Between their personal attacks on each other and the steady stream of disinformation about and disrespect for the President of the United States, I am quite fed up. I don't need to know anything else about these people. Is there a living soul in the known universe who hasn't made up their mind about them yet? Enough is enough!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  7. Victoria

    Equal time for everyone, Mr. Wolf.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  8. Luis Martinez

    Puerto Ricans as United States citizens have served in the U.S. Military since WWI. Many have died and thousands more have been wounded in battle but upon returning to the U.S (Puerto Rico) they can not vote for their commander-in-chief! I would like to know if there is a presidential candidate who favors allowing U.S. military veterans living in Puerto Rico the rights of the XV Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  9. John


    Keep up the good work. One question to ask Romney is how does his working at Bain and his other private sector jobs prepare him to be president of the U.S. Will he use the same private sector tactics that he used at Bain to manage the U.S. government; those practices helped reap huge profits for a few, while causing many workers to lose their jobs. Does he plan on having the private sector take over Social Security or Medicare? His chief private sector experience is based on investing other people's money. How does that experience make him the person to meet the needs of middle class people? Many would say that it was the unchecked private sector that caused the economic downturn that happened under Bush in 2008.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Mike

    Newt definitely plays to the crowd which allows him to deflect questions since it can lead to the person asking him the question to shy away from following through with the question. It seems to me that Newt couldn't have easily dodged it had it not been for the raucous crowd that agreed w/ the vilification of CNN and John King. John King's question about the ABC piece is relevant if we are to believe in a 'new' Newt. So far it appears to me that CNN and John King found that Newt didn't answer completely honestly the other night in SC. The question pertains to character and ideals that Newt espouses.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  11. patricia Revill

    I hope that Wolf Blitzer shows more dignity tonight and doesn't just bate the candidates. If you suggest the premise that all the candidates should stand by their record. Ask Michael Reagan before you discount Newt as being a negative candidate

    January 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  12. FrankinSD

    Ask Romney how he managed to accumulate 100 million dollars in an IRA when the annual contribution limit is 6K. Either he's been pulling a fast one or he's actually 1,400 years old.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  13. TigerLily194

    To read Newts books is read a fairy tale.. He wrote them for profit not based on his true feelings.... his words are words of the moment and do not ring true............ he will say and do anything to be a top dog in a society that does not want him ........... only the fools believe what he says.......... you must be one of them............ take those rose colored glasses off and see the real Newt............ no fan of either if them, the best man Huntsman should be there tonight..........

    January 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  14. olepi

    Mr. Blitzer, please do not allow the candidates to say lies, without calling them on it. For example, unemployment has been getting lower for over a year, do not let a Republican say unemployment is worse under a President Obama.

    Also, if a candidate makes a wild assertion, such as President Obama is a socialist, please call them on it, and try to make them explain exactly how they could say this.

    Otherwise, you are just a host of a commercial.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  15. Gary

    ask Romney is he going to lead the country by example and if so does that mean that we all have to put our money in the Caman islands to avoid paying taxes or is it just for the wealthy

    January 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Dave

      Please . . . Romney does not break laws. He already paid about 30-35% on his income. Now he is paying another 15% investment income. His total tax rate is above 45%. Some people pay no taxes and they complain.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Realist

      Oh yes, if ONLY we were allowed to invest our own money the way Mitt Romney was allowed to. Oh wait, WE ARE! How can you fault a man for being smart with money when our economy is in desperate need of some help?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Bill

      also ask him how he managed to get his pension to over a hundered million. since the pension was under his control, as CEO, ask if he would make it available to us to review such returns – why bernie madoff wasn't that good.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
      • Carool

        I came away form last night's sit-down with Newt and Cain with the same impression- Newt and only Newt is qulaified to be our next President. He schooled Cain pretty good there. I did a quick article on it this morning expressing my views on the volume of important information we can glean from last nights sit-down. I asked everyone to watch the C-SPAN video of the whole event, as it is that important in showing the voters just who could really get our entitlements under control with true conservative principle application like Newt is proposing. Newt also tells the hard truths the PC cowardly candidates refuse to tell, like re-installing the work for welfare programs Newt drew up in the 90 s.

        September 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Crabby

      He paid everything by the book. Do some research next time.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • scoobypoo

      Ask Romney if he believes Mormons should baptize [non-Mormon] dead people.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Paul

      All money Romney had in the overseas account was USA taxed. So what is your point?

      January 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Fire0bama

      Gary, you are free to invest in foreign countries as long as you report the earnings to IRS and pay your US taxes. Gov. Romney paid US taxes for all his investment – domestic and foreign.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Aaron

      Tip: If you don't know what you're talking about, don't talk until you get the facts. It makes you look foolish.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  16. richard kochon

    Hello all. i am singing up for health insurance this year. the cost to my family is 517.00 a month. i clear after taxes 2000.00 a month. This will take food off are table. My queston to the final 4 is.....can one of them explain to me if they have a plan to reduce this crazy charge...i just spoke to one my fellow employees and she is with some other insurance plan and they pay almost 800.00. a month. we are hurting in calie. ...we need help...........signed...maybee middle class.............GOD bless America!!!!...............

    January 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Jim in San Mateo

      Richard, you can bet any of the candidates tonight don't have to pay 25% of the net income for health insurance. In fact, three of them are getting theirs for free right now and the fourth gets to write off the cost as a business expense. And they all claim they can relate to the average man. Phooey on that. They don't have a clue how those of us who live paycheck to paycheck maintain the financial house of cards we have to maintain just to stay afloat, with no end in sight. And Congress almost raised your taxes at the end of last year.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • CoJo

      according to the republicans, free market will bring the costs down. Even if that works, that will take years (but they never tell you that part). So in the mean time, pay up or you get no coverage. And then we are back to the old days where people would go to the ER to see a doctor. So hospitals have to throw people out that have no insurance (this is Palin's idea) or helpt them anyway which in turn raises the cost for everyone else to cover them. And in the short term, pre-existing conditions are not covered...

      January 26, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Nancy

      Don't expect these clowns on the stage to give you an answer to your question. They are all in bed with big business and Ron Paul, well he just doesn't give a damn if you can't afford health insurance

      January 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Hawk in Texas

      Yes the republicans have a plan for health insurance. it is called repeal the health care that they love to call obama care. they don't want the working class taxoayers to have the same insurance that the same tax payers pay for for them. dont want the insurance companys to have to pay out any money for people getting

      January 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • balls

      universal healthcare

      January 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • RK

      You will thank Obama later when you get sick or get into an accident and your health insurance with cover your medical expenses; without which you and your family will have to file for bankruptcy.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Chris

      Look for Ron Paul's answer on this one. The rest of those clowns are for some 2-tiered health care plan or a crazier, even more corporate structure, neither of which will solve the problem. Inflation is the biggest problem. Until you get that under control, the price of everything, including health insurance, will continue to rise. When you open up the market, prices go down. When you squeeze the market by throwing more money at a problem, benefiting the wealthy, prices go up. The dollar can't buy as much as it used to, and as a result you're seeing the cost of everything go up. But watch the other 3 guys talk about handouts, which will ultimately mean nothing to the bottom line. Remember, if you're getting money from the government, you have to calculate from what its value is NOW to what it will be when you actually get it. Inflation is the problem.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  17. The all potent one

    Please give Ron Paul equal speaking time. A lot more people want to hear him than the poles indicate. Even Newt is adopting some of his ideas.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Fix your priorities

      Who cares what people in Poland think about Ron Paul? It's important what WE (Americans) think about him.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Mike

      absolutely, all the candidates deserve equal time in a debate.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Guerrina

      I agree. I'd like very much to hear from Ron Paul. I really believe the younger voting generation needs to step up for this guy and vote. His website was very informative and, though I didn't agree 100% with his view, I agreed a whole lot more than I do with Gingrich, Romney or Obama's "wanna do list" with no explanation of how they're going to do it.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Mark

      Hear Hear, Let Dr. Paul speak.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Hawk in Texas

      Thats polls. and as far as newt taking some of ron pauls ideas, well we allready know that newt is crazy.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • delta

      Why bother with what the Poles indicate? This isn't the election for the President of Poland, now, is it?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Paul

      Oh Ron Paul is still around? I had forgotten all about him.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Rhonda

      Please don't say there's only 2 people running, or talk of only 2 names, that are big. Give Ron Paul his Equal time to talk. He's got a lot of people behind & following him.He's has so much more to say.Cut them off if they start aruging again like children. We the people don't want to see this at all.I

      January 26, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  18. bookdemon

    We will be paying close attention Wolf. Remember, you will be judged just as hard as any of the candidates so, equal time for everybody and please ask tough questions. Only the strongest candidates will refuse to dodge them.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • BeverlyNC

      How about making it a REAL debate where these "candidates" are asked to back up their statements with facts, sources, and not allowed to make outrageous lies and just get away with it? If these idiots are going to make false statements – at least call them on it. Like Romney saying he supported housing? Do you not remember he called for letting all houses foreclose? Gingrich saying he supports NASA? Yea- right after Republicans destroyed almost all funding for NASA. Not calling Republicans out for these lies teaches the People NOTHING, does not make Republicans accountable for what they say. Hold these liars accountable.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  19. Thom

    I won't waste a second watching the clown circus spew the same old tired lines that the sheep gobble up as if it is their last meal. None of them on that stage are going to do the right thing and even if they get elected, they've got a do nothing congress that will stop them from making progress. Romney has no idea what regular people deal with. Gingrich is such a hypocrit. Santorum is just plain nuts. Ron Paul has some wonderful ideas and then some looney ones but by far, he's the most genuine on that stage.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Mark

      Please remember that presidency does not insure the Dr.'s ideas are going to become law, instead judge hi on his ideals and principles. He is the only honest candidate, and that gives him one up on Obama, Get Obama Out by voting Ron Paul. The rest are just speed bumps with a presidential budget for campaigning. It's hard to attack the honesty of Dr. Paul.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • BJ

      Don't worry, I couldn't finish reading your comment because the first line is already filled with tired old name calling and rhetoric seen by far too many liberals on political and news forums because they are too lazy to come up with a more intelligible response.

      January 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  20. Jeremy Pollock

    Wolf please give the candidates equal time tonight! Earlier this week the first 30 minutes were bickering back in forth between Gingrich and Romney. Lets try to see some more of Santorum and Dr. Paul.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  21. The Left Wing

    Mr. Gingrich, during the last debate you said that it was undignified of CNN to ask about your personal moral values and behavior. Later when asked about the hypocrisy of saying that given your treatment of Bill Clinton, you replied the impeachment of Clinton was about lying not adultery. It now turns out that the statements you made about various people telling ABC news that the allegations were false were not true or at best a half truth. (Only your daughters talked to ABC.) Are you being a hypocrite about this?

    January 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • bear

      clinton lied under oath in a court of law and in depositions given to congress. that is perjury and is a crime. it was stupid to try to impeach him for it, but he did break the law.

      gingrich has lied while in debates and making speeches. so has obama, romney, and probably abe lincoln. it is not a crime.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Dave

      I agree – Gingrich is going down!

      January 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Realist

      This topic really needs to be raised tonight. I agree that personal lives should not be the focal point of a debate, but Gingrich flat out lied during a debate and an interview. That's a problem in my view.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  22. Roger

    This is one of the most important days of our lives. Each candidate is neck-n-neck and needs to do well tonight to win the primary. What you do tonight could very well decide who the next president could be. You are always a pro with no cheap shots. Good luck sir. It feels like the super bowl to me.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  23. Sean Webb

    I hope he holds in ground better than John King did. Wow did he ever look silly cowering away from Gingrich.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bill

      i saw that debate and john king did not cower – he acted as a host would. gingrich wanted to turn the debate all about the media, ala richard nixon. and just like nixon, he'll get his watergate moment soon enough.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  24. james

    Yeah–Right–Embarrass and ridicule is the plan for tonight–As usual–

    January 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  25. Paul_I

    Really, Wolf? You mean you are going to focus on what you think is important and what the rest of us ought to think is important. What we really want to know is how did his third wife feel about having an affair for six years while he was still married? And, if Newt is all about truth, why did he lie in response to King's question at the beginning of the first debate? Does Newt seriously believe that a Gingrich/Palin ticket could win the election? Does Newt also seriously believe that we buy that whole "historian" facade? Has Rick heard from God recently, and if so, what did he hear? Does Mitt think that tithing counts as paying taxes? Wolf, catch the drift here? This is what is important. And by the way, don't put a gag order on the crowd.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  26. Mike

    If you want a good debate keep the audience out of it. We want to hear what the candidates have to say. Not what the audience thinks. If Newt or any of the candidates don't like it let them take their marbles and go home. We want to hear what the candidates have to say. SUBSTANCE not retoric. If Newt can't feel the force too bad.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
  27. Serious in AZ

    Just don't let the the crowd turn this very important & substantive event into a 3-ring circus, Blitz! Follow Williams' lead. Grow a big pair, dude, and you'll be respected for it!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  28. jake

    Come on Wolfe. Your goal for tonight is the same as the rest of your liberal elite media colleagues. You will ask questions which will perpetuate the calss warfare and socialist agenda of Obama.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • lavarocker


      You don't even know what a real liberal agenda is. Try reading the Huffington Post, or watch Jon Stewart/Steven Colbert

      CNN is very moderate in comparison. And by the way, it is the moderators JOB to dig behind the evasive answers and the bullying provided by these candidates to expose them for the losers they really are.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • cc

      Drink the FOX koolaid much? This blather is getting tiresome. You realize of course that there is NO liberal media. There is only corporate media and they are all about profits. So tell me why they would support enforcing the tax code on their billionaire CEOs... The media is part of the 1%. Also, tell me why you think rich people in the GOP give a rat's behind about you... cause they don't.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
      • Simo

        why does the world feel so wrong?, because its pshapohctys in power, we just think their only serial killers, they are leaders too who kill, but they do it on a mass scale, and they try to justify it, they are the biggest cause to the misery and destruction dispensed on humanity in our history. u wanna know where they are go to washington, you will find an abundance of these freaks, Humanity by nature IS good, but these guys won't let us reach our true potential of lasting peace, RON PAUL 2012

        May 21, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • Mark

      CNN needs a like button. Too bad liberal and liberty didn't go hand in hand. Goebbels really changed the world with his studies into propaganda. How could media resist?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  29. evensteven

    Ask Gingrich why we should trust him now when he has a track record of regularly lying to his wives and lovers in the past?

    January 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • MIke S

      Why has no one asked him this in the past!!! If you lie to those you love and will have to see face to face why wouldn't he lie to millions of American's he doesn't know and will not have to answer to? What is more immoral: President Clinton having an affair in the white house or having the adulterer Gingrich in the white house with his adulterer wife. What kind of respect will she have as a first lady when she goes and speaks around America to our youth about being good, honest, christian, moral, family people? She is just as guilty of the sin of adultery as he is. They broke up a family and will further break up america and will contribute to our moral decay as we put these people on a pedistal. Santorum=1 wife, Romney = 1wife, Paul = 1 wife. And who says character doesn't count?

      January 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  30. anagram_Kid

    19th debate??? Seriously, we’ve already got the message – Obama bad, more military spending to kill brown people, less taxes for the rich, Obama bad, being smart bad, logic bad, longer recess and no math homework… did I mention Obama bad?
    Each debate makes it more obvious that there is only one person in the field that is qualified to be POTUS. The good news is that the tax payers will save some money as the first family of 2012 is already living in the White House.
    Obama 2012

    January 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Zenichi-maro

      right on, dude.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • bear

      obama is the only one who has proven himself totally incapable of being president.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • jj

      Yeah, go Obama!

      January 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  31. Jason

    Will Blitzer ask any real questions or just the usual pre-decided by the candidate questions. If Blitzer can ask any candidates how do they plan to rebuild America even when most of the jobs have been shipped out with companies receiving benefits from the outsourcing but no price advantage for americans from it. You cant't send the whole of America back to school! Ask them how are they going to address the stagnant wages that is killing the American middle class. Ask them how the "Tax break only solution" that has not worked during the past 30 yars is going to work now. Ask them how are they going to return our military into the dignified status that they were before Cheney turned them into mercenaries for corporate profit. Ask them how are they going to prevent American oil to be shipped elsewhere

    January 26, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Gary

      Theb real question is will Wolf make them answer his questions even when they start making speeches about something else.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Mike - Merritt Island

      Just a reminder Jason, It was Obama's 'Job czar' who was on the board of directors of GE that is moving GE to China. He was supposed to be creating jobs but I guess Obama forgot to tell him in which country he was supposed to be creating jobs in!

      January 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  32. Concerned Citizen

    Ask them about exactly how they will stabilize the debt and more importantly at what percentage of GDP they think they should keep the debt level at.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  33. SouthTexan

    Ask them specifically how they would do differently than President Obama has done. We need specifics Wolf. Good luck.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • v_mag

      Ask them specifically what they would do differently from George Bush. After all, he caused this mess. Ask them to acknowledge that GWB caused this mess, and when they will institute legal proceedings against him for war crimes.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
      • JeanneLH

        Great observation. Our country is in trouble because of George W...not President Obama.

        January 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  34. John

    There is a mysterious lack of "intellectuals" making ignorant postings here. Maybe they are taking the time to actually read Newt's books and have become converts in the process. However, to think that would be"living in a fantasy world version of reality". I will leave that to the democrats. Later.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  35. Jaun In El Paso

    Blitzer shouldn't have any thoughts on the debate if he is a true journalist! His questions should be unbais and focusing on the most important issues at hand; jobs and the economy. No dumb questions on pulling the plug on someone ten years ago.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  36. GotThumbs

    OK, We get it...He's "Blessed". Big frigging deal.

    Read the questions and allow EACH candidate to answer. I LOVE the fact that in SC the audience was ALLOWED to give immediate feedback on each candidates response. Too Bad CNN can't deal with the negative response regarding there low-class choice to ask a NON-Political question regarding Newts divorce of over 10 years ago (that has NOTHING to do with his ability to do his job as president) In any regular job would NOT be allowed to ask these stupid questions.

    CNN....stop with the bottom-dweller mud ridden questions and stick to the REAL issues...Like Immigration and Job Creation.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • bookdemon

      In my opinion, the most important issues, issues that effect every American citizen, are wars and the current economic disaster. The other issues: illegal immigration, abortion, gay this and gay that, and others, are still important, but do not effect each and every citizen.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • bg

      Thats the whole bloody point.. its not a "regular job interview". Its the leader of the most important and most powerful country in the world. !!

      January 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  37. Terry

    Please do not suppress Ron Paul by cutting him off short to go to commercial like so many others have done. He has endured far too much bias against him from the major media sources. He deserves an equal chance to state his positions just as the others, without being told to do so "quickly". Remember Wolf, the people are watching, and they have a finely tuned sense of smell tuned that picks up even the slightest scent of media bias.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Sean

      Well said Terry! It's so aggravating watching glib talking heads talk down to a patriotic veteran who also happens to be an MD! I cannot figure out if it's a concentrated effort to persuade/silence through ridicule due to a very serious threat to some very dark powerful forces, or whether it's plain ignorance, vulgarity and bias toward somebody who is older and a tad eccentric.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  38. Mr. Izz

    Let's just hope it doesn't turn into a pep-rally of sorts. I want to hear the candidates, not the cheerleaders, who are attempting to sway the American people with their cheers and jeers.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  39. NODEMS

    What is the point and purpose to have Blitzer as anchor for Rebulican once it is well known that CNN & Staffs, especially Blitzer, are biased and favored with liberal and Dems. What is the point to have many many Republican debates while NO for dems?

    January 26, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • v_mag

      Uh, in case you haven't noticed, there is only 1 Democrat running for president. Would Obama be forced to debate himself? Who would win, do you think?

      January 26, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  40. Dan Monahan

    Wolf, Please ask Mr. Gingrich about his misstatements to your colleague, John King, about bringing forward friends and witnesses to confirm that his ex-wife's accusations were lies– Gingrich's campaign has admitted that the candidate misspoke when he claimed to have proffered friends and witnesses from the time period (actually, he had only offered the written statements of his two daughters who are actively campaigning with him). This bald-faced lying to a direct question during a national presidential debate is shockingly emblematic of the utter lack of credibility of Mr. Gingrich. Please let the American audience know of these lapses of the truth.

    DM, Los Angeles

    January 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  41. David in FL

    Angry Newt can't deal with the fact that his SC bump was the product of manipulation that is unsustainable

    January 26, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  42. Risky

    A good question to start your debate is : "Rick Santorum, when do you plan to drop out?"

    January 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  43. Dan Monahan

    Wolf, Please ask Mr. Gingrich about his misstatements to your colleague, John King, about bringing forward friends and witnesses to confirm that his ex-wife's accusations were lies– Gingrich's campaign has admitted that the candidate misspoke when he claimed to have proffered friends and witnesses from the time period (actually, he had only offered the written statements of his two daughters who are actively campaigning with him). This bald-faced lying to a direct question during a national presidential debate is shocking emblematic of the utter lack of credibility of Mr. Gingrich. Please let the American audience know of these lapses of the truth.

    DM, Los Angeles

    January 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  44. ww902

    I hope Wolf exposes Newt Gingrich as the lying terrorist he has become... a Gingrich getting more than 22% of GOP vote in Florida & I will vote for Obama. This is where I draw my line in the sand... A Gingrich nomination reduces the entire GOP and Tea Party to a political party of insignificance.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  45. v_mag

    Nobody ever asks the question I want answered:

    Are you in any way different from George Bush? If you're not different, why would anybody ever vote for you? If you are different, why don't you repudiate Bush as well as attacking Obama? After all, it was Bush who crashed the economy.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Mark

      I think thats the first post i have seen here that mentions this fact. BUSH not Obama crashed the economy, and he did it with endless wars on everything he could get in his sights and trying to treat the government like a business. So clearly Businessmen are out, war-mongers should be out, and Gingrich, though no one will ever know if he has opinions or just market assessment, is just plain non-competetive against Obama.
      RON PAUL is the only one who will act to reverse the damage done the past 12 years.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  46. Steve Moore

    We need to flood CNN with e-mails between now and the start time asking Wolf to be sure and give each candidate equal time for once. I'm sure we all agree that Mitt and Newt get way to much and Ron and Rick way to little.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  47. Pk miler

    Hi wolf i need to let let the dabaters know what they think about people who either eat and can not afford there heart medicine or take there medicine and can mt afford to eat does the the gop give a dang about the poor thank you

    January 26, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  48. Noel

    1) Would each candidate be willing to state that 30% tax rate would be fair for them?
    2) Would each of the candidates have taken the US to war in Iraq if they were served the same intelligence as George Bush? and Iran?
    3) If you break down the aborion issue to one of Personal Liberty, where 1) Liberty 2) Taking away existing Liberty, which would you choose?

    January 26, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Terrab

      1) Would each candidate be willing to state that 30% tax rate would be fair for them? Um, no! Why should any of us be paying 30% in taxes. We should be able to keep the money we earn.
      2) Would each of the candidates have taken the US to war in Iraq if they were served the same intelligence as George Bush? and Iran? Yes!
      3) If you break down the aborion issue to one of Personal Liberty, where 1) Liberty 2) Taking away existing Liberty, which would you choose? I'd choose liberty. The liberty of the unborn child.

      January 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  49. sandwiches

    The question to ask tonight is -"why do they say that president Obama has not been able to turn around the economy? They should be shown the jobs plot since George Bush's time. As can be seen that jobs "downbars" have all been converted to "upbars" now. Doesn't this mean a turn around in economy?"
    Also GM is back on track and #1 carmaker in the world. Obama has saved all the struggling american iconic car companies.
    Also do they realize how complicated it is to rule america in 21st century specially since they have not idea as to how the rest of the world is growing so fast.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  50. SilverHair

    Just more hot air. Should use all this energy to heat homes.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  51. nolando

    So, when you throw Newt a question that isn't a softball that enables him to bloviate on whatever tangential subject he finds enjoyable at the time... and instead he attacks you (the "liberal-media" questioner) for daring to ask him a question he doesn't want to answer... are you going to go all wussy-John-King-y? Or are you going to be prepared for it, considering his history? Are you going to point out, to the voters, that this is a well-worn tactic? Or are you, again, going to go all Wimpy-John-King?

    January 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  52. Francis Lampman

    I will be surprised if Wolf can keep the left wing bias away from the debate. He never asks Obama and his croonies anything of merit.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  53. Memo

    yeah and you will ignore Ron Paul like everyone has been doing on every single debate

    January 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  54. BMA

    Wolf –
    I am glad to see that you are moderating tonights debate. I beg you NOT to allow the audience to applaud. That was the very best thing about Monday's debate. Viewers can make up their own mind without feeling the auditorium has been "stacked" for any one candidate.
    Thank you.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  55. Carol

    Hopefully you will be able to keep the audience under control. I watch the debates to make up my own mind not to follow someone else. It isn't a rally to drum up support but a serious event and respect should be accorded as such.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  56. PTNY

    Interesting to see two “Entitled” spoiled brats battle each other in the open public. More surprising is this is for the Presidency! It’s great to see how these two really are when they want something. Deception, lie, cheat and steel. Buy it all! I don’t want him to have any! It’s like a movie. Do we want either of them to represent us in the world? Everyone is watching this and it’s becoming embarrassing.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  57. David in FL

    Hold Newt accountable for his comments to King that ended up being WRONG (read deceptive, false, lying, bullying)

    January 26, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  58. Frank

    I just hope you give every canidate a chance to answer the questions... Most of these debates go off with 2 canidates getting the majority of the time with endless back and forth. I would like to hear from all of them!

    January 26, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  59. Connie

    Wolf, I look forward to the CNN debate tonight with you as the moderator. I do hope you will hold Newt Gingrich responsible for his so-called "wrong answer" in response to John King's questions in the SC debate. On the same day the story came out admitting he was "wrong" in his response regarding his ex-wife's allegations that he asked her for an OPEN MARRIAGE - he had the audacity to accuse Mitt Romney for being "dishonest."

    His actual statement about Governor Romney was, "He is so dishonest that I don't know how he can run for office." A week ago, he went so far as to call Mitt Romney a "LIAR."

    So, let's get this straight as to who is dishonest and is lying - NOT Mitt Romney, but Newt Gingrich. Hopefully, Wolf Blitzer will address this issue in the debate tonight. Gingrich should make a public apology to John King, CNN and ABC for attacking him and the media in such an unethical manner and for not telling the truth in his response to the question directed to him. PLUS, he should also apologize to Mitt Romney for continually referring to him as a LIAR and being dishonest, when it is Gingrich who is dishonest and eventually, people will see through this "cunningly selfish man" who is determined to always "have things his way." He continually says, "He WILL become the Republican nominee and our next President." Well, Mr. Gingrich, "IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL IT'S OVER!!!!"

    January 26, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Oliver Shapiro Los Angeles

      Well said 🙂

      January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  60. David in FL

    Don't let Newt manipulate the masses again, ask him to apologize to King for lying to him, to the American people for his pattern of deception, and to the people of South Carolina, Bless their hearts, for taking advantage of their emotions.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  61. Joe Shmo

    Will you show a little spine if Gingrich lashes out? Or fold like John King? Ask Gingrich about that open marriage and family values please.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  62. Bill Nickerson

    How do you court the Conservative Voters in the Primaries without losing the Moderate Voters you need to win in November?

    January 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  63. Greg M

    Will there be questions for Dr. Ron Paul, or will CNN make it a 2 person debate? How about giving all the candidates a fair and even amount of time.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  64. Dawn's Daddy

    Yes but...

    You were so partisan against Republicans so so in the bag for Obama in the 2008 general election that CNN gave you the heave ho. I'll bet that there will be many complaints after the debate tonight because you won't be able to help yourself. You'll get the heave ho again.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

    If you want a good informative debate, serious questions, serious answers in serious times then keep the audience out of it. It's not a game show or American Idol. It's time to get serious about the most important job in the world, President of the United States.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  66. MDP

    Here's hoping Wolf won't be pushed around by Gingrich like some other moderators have been.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  67. Jackie Yates

    Let's hope it's as eye-opening as John King's SC debate! I've always been a Fox fan, but after that debate, I've been tuning in to CNN more than usual.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Hawk in Texas

      Sounds like you are getting some smarts. all fox does is lie to the public. stay tuned to cnn and get truthful answers,

      January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  68. Anthony Anderson

    My goal? That CNN gives Ron Paul equal time to speak.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  69. pete

    don't take any crap from Newt...

    January 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  70. Rajiv Shaw

    I hope your questions annoy the candidates into some really funny answers.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  71. roberta reissig

    My comment is, How do the rep. explain the money that is being dumped into all this politics to beat another party how do they explain all this money that could put people to work, feed the unfortant people that lost there jobs ,homes, and now live on the streets or with a family member. How do they explain the lost american dreams before obama.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  72. Mark

    Also i would love to hear the candidates opinions on the Patriot Act and NDAA, as well as adressing how protest against SOPA and PIPA has so quickly led to ACTA. is no one in Washington listening at all?

    January 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  73. Mark

    There is only one candidate that can run against Obama. get behind Ron Paul and do it fast before you miss the chance. Obama has built on the Patriot act, he has signed off again and again to counteract civil rights and universal human rights. If we don't want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes then get all the support behind Dr. Paul. He has the pulse of the nation and he is the only one who can appeal to the people. No more tip-toeing around the economy while the government steals your rights away.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  74. Mike - Merritt Island

    Wolf, I think I can speak for many Floridians, maybe even most americans, that I don't care about what the candidates think of each other. What I want to hear are their individual solutions to the problems we face in the country today (mainly the economy and illegal immigration invasions). Please try and control the candidates from slandering each other and make them answer the questions you ask without sliding off on tangents of other topics. Many Thanks if you can do it!

    January 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  75. Jim in Boise, ID

    For God's sake...avenge Gingrich's PERSONAL attack against John King in the last debate by asking:
    1. Do you agree that a candidate's ethical and moral background is an appropriate topic of discussion in Presidential debates? If he says "No" then he will come across as an idiot. If he says "Yes." then:
    2. When you told John King in the last debate that "Several of your friends were offered to ABC to refute you 2nd ex-wife's allegations, was that statement true or false?

    January 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  76. Roy J. Meidinger

    Subject of Question: Flat tax- Taxing the Rich – equality of tax rates – no new taxes

    Tax Loop hole.

    The employee Social Security rate for yr. 2010 was 4.2% with a limit of $106,800 or maximum payment limit of $4,485. With this payment limit, if employed, Newt Gingrich with income of $3.1M, he would have paid a tax rate of 0.14% and Mitt Romney with income of $21.6M he would have paid a tax rate of 0.02%. With the current legislation in Congress, would the candidates support removing the limits on the Social Security taxes?
    Please keep in mind the Social Security fund has been added to the general fund.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  77. rob

    CNN promotes the presidential debates as "Bad Blood" & "The Gloves Will Come Off Tonight" if it's a boxing or mixed martial arts PPV fight. They treat presidential debates like reality TV shows.

    Of course CNN isn't the only network guilty of this behavior but it does very little to set itself apart from the others. The Economy is in the toilet, kids are dying over seas, people are losing their homes but all CNN and these networks seem to care about is drama between Newt & Romney. How about setting an example and ask each & every candidate questions relevant to the issues that impact the US and the World today? Most Americans could care less about Super PAC's and negative ads.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  78. Theresa

    I enjoyed your post! I have watched ALL the debates because I feel this is the most important election in my lifetime. I am 55 yrs old and believe my only say is my one vote for my country.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  79. ToddBruneau

    CNN must have a reporter who is not afraid of Newt Gingrich to confront him about his hypocrisy and dishonesty. Newt Gingrich lied in many debates that he was paid $1.6 million by Freddie Mac to be "historian". Newt Gingrich lied in debate in South Carolina that he asked ABC to interview several of his friends about his having an open marriage. ABC accused him of lying. Newt Gingrich's employee admitted that he lied. CNN must confront Newt Gingrich regarding these and other lies. Please replace John King if he is too timid to ask followup questions to Newt Gingrich.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • John Tarver

      What is the difference between an open marriage and Mormon marriage? We don't even recognize Mormon marriage here in California.

      January 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  80. PSnDurham

    I'd like to know if Newt would consider Sarah Palin as his running mate, should he be the Rep. nominee.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  81. Alan

    Wolf...PLEASE do not allow applause, booing, cheering, etc from the debate audience tonight. It is distracting and makes the whole event a circus. This is one TV viewer who will turn it off if there is audience participation.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  82. PSnDurham

    I'd like to know if the audience will be silenced like the last debate. I'd like to know what the audience thinks about each candidate's comments/answers. Thank you.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  83. Roy J. Meidinger

    Tax Loop hole.

    The employee Social Security rate for yr. 2010 was 4.2% with a limit of $106,800 or maximum payment limit of $4,485. With this payment limit, if employed, Newt Gingrich with income of $3.1M, he would have paid a tax rate of 0.14% and Mitt Romney with income of $21.6M he would have paid a tax rate of 0.02%. With the current legislation in Congress, would the candidates support removing the limits on the Social Security taxes?
    Please keep in mind the Social Security fund has been added to the general fund.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  84. Dan S.

    Go Wolf! Don't forget about Paul! 😉

    January 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  85. Ginny

    "CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service." Good point!

    January 26, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  86. MP75

    Please, Mr. Blitzer, ask them questions on economy.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  87. Larry Witner

    Hello Wolf,

    In tonight's Republican debate, please ask the audience to hold their applause until after the debate is over.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • jj

      Applause? I can't imagine that any of them will say anything worth applauding

      January 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  88. dana

    Please try to be unbiased. As the last debate was pretty centered around 2 candidates. The other 2 had little chance to comment or respond.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  89. nancy

    Ok, Wolfie, don't let Newt run right over you like he did John King. Don't let him get away with his BS! Call him out on his "inaccuracies".

    January 26, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  90. Dwayne

    Please don't take any crap from Newt tonight! Stand your ground and make him answer the questions and stop deflecting his problems onto the media. Please.

    January 26, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  91. tm

    We are hoping that every candidate will have a same amount of time sharing their views and vision, stop marginalizing Ron Paul....

    January 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  92. Thomas

    Wolf ,
    Ask Mitt Romney why none of his five sons did any military service .

    Ask Newt if he would consider Tom DeLay as a VP choice .

    Ask Rick S if he has a short fuse .

    January 26, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  93. Neil P

    Mr. Blitzer- Could you ask Mr. Gingrich and his esteemed colleagues tonight why the Republican Party has such a hard time compromising? And why the Party has such a hard time giving simple, honest answers to simple questions.? I personally would like to hear a Republican explanation for why, when the Credit Rating of the Nation was on the line and the vote for a Debt Ceiling was needed, the House Majority, led by Mr. Boehner, chose to take the weekend off instead of doing what they are paid to do? I understand the desire to win, But aren't candidates a little ashamed of the dishonesty and distortion of facts they are using to get that result?

    January 26, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  94. rob

    Bull. We're gonna see Ron Paul ignored yet again......while Newt & Romney argue like a couple of school girls over who is more electable & blame each others Super PAC's while they try to rewrite their own checkered histories.

    What will be the focus tonight? More of the same. Tax returns, Freddie Mac, etc. Very little time will be focused on real issues we face today. Primarily the housing market, jobs, & the economy. It'll be mentioned but only with the same old rhetoric and not any real solutions, except from maybe Dr. Paul, that is if they even give him any air time.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  95. Jeremy

    I hope you give Ron Paul more than 1 question every 30 minutes like FOX does.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  96. Samuel (Sam) Getaneh Bogale Calgary Alberta

    I will be tuning in to tonight's debate and look forward to you moderating the debate. As always I enjoy watching your interview style!

    January 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Iman

      that earmarks weren't so bat?We need to have it matndaory the candidates sign a contract that states what they will and won't do after they are elected, and a timeframe that they will do it. If the politician doesn't do what they promised, they would automatically be out of office without any benefits. In the contract it would have to state that the politician would vote for any bill they introduce, otherwise, they could INTRODUCE a bill, but vote against it.We also need to change the system so that bills are voted on as they are introduced into congress. There have been many bills introduced into congress that have not gone to the floor for a vote (the Fair Tax bill for example) because the head of that house doesn't want it passed. One person in the house, and one person in the senate decides if a bill is voted on. This has to stop.Reply

      September 12, 2012 at 3:12 am |
  97. Katty

    I am sooo happy you will be doing this one. To date you have done the best job of, one more thing,
    please NO AUDIENCE participation.....they are a distraction and give only one of the candidates a leg up....NOT FAIR.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  98. Debi

    The NDAA needs to be addressed...#1 Do any of the candidate's oppose it?

    January 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  99. Aldo Martinez

    Please ask the candidates: from what President Obama offered in his State of the Union address what do you agree with, even if it's phylosophically?

    And please if any of the candidates refers to President Obama as "Obama", ask him why he is not refering to him as "President Obama"

    Finally – please ask them whyshould they allow any of their consstituents to feul their inflamatory, incorrect statements – One thing is for Santorum to not correct that lady who called Pres. Obama "an avowed Muslim" (which is wrong) and another is for him to imply she was correct by saying "I;m doing all I can to get him out"
    Thank you

    January 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  100. Greg, Ontario

    Your feeling blessed is the journalist in you. Most people would feel dirty and in need of a shower after spending that much time talking to them. We thank God for people like you Wolf. Just once though I would like a host to point out that they just talked for two minutes and didn't answer the question. In every debate it is the same thing they get asked a black or white, yes or no question and they answer with a maybe, might be, could have, don't you just hate President Obama for an answer. Wolf please keep them focused on topic. Americans are so uninformed you really are their only hope.

    January 26, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
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