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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. Bart Brown

    Who CARES what your goals are? They don't have ANYTHING to do with what the public needs to hear. You're just another corporate shill. If the first Gulf War hadn't happened, you'd still be taking out the trash at a fish store. Hmmmm.... the way your "debates" smell, I think you ARE still taking out the trash at a fish store. Do me a favor, Blister: look up the word "hubris" in your "My First Dictionary." You really are a putz.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  2. Joseph Rowan

    Ask all the candidates if they would support taxing the rich to help build back the middle class.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  3. Sonia Lipham

    When is someone going to address the issue of the exhorbitant fees charged by the US Government to apply for a green card. When is the government going to address the issue of the over 1MM application backup at INS. Hire a private company with a time limit to process the applications. Once the initial application is processed and scanned, then the experienced permanent workers can recheck and get these applications out of the way. Two other issues which need immediate resolution is processing student visa to keep graduates in critical fields in the US, the second is that of employees sponsored by companies which no longer exist and are stuck in the last city where they worked without being to move to a better paying job.

    January 26, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  4. Nederland

    Wow they planned this into the detail, they are making Mitt Blobley look good and hes only talking about corporate america, Dick Santurom is an idiot, Gingroid is a moron and Ron Paul is the men

    January 26, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
  5. Rob Crowetz


    With over 50% of Florida homes over 50% underwater how do you fix that. It is easier for me to just walk away from my house to get a job in another state then try to sell it, especially with so many foreclosures in the area. If the government would let the banks write off our negative equity, well we could refi at the lower interest rates and lower our bills and thus spend money else where!

    Rob Crowetz, Loxahatchee Fla

    January 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  6. Gerald

    What are each of the canndidates' position on "fair Tax"?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
  7. Nederland

    Ron Paul is the man, the rest are clowns

    January 26, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  8. Tintin

    By end of the debate, Romney's and Gingrich's faces will look like John Kerry's off late.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  9. Tintin

    Grrr...everytime I listen to Santorum, I feel like banging my head on the floor. Where did he get so much rage and passion for war and he (falsely) praises Jesus Christ and his faith in Christianity. Bunch of Hypocrites!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  10. Nederland

    Only Ron Paul makes sense

    January 26, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  11. Kirk Gothier

    How will the candidates restore true capitalism with free, competitive markets, where all individuals are equally prepared to compete by growing up in safe neighborhoods, with adequate nutrition and good schools?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  12. Richard

    Legal immigration to the US is simply a mess... My wife is American and filed my paperwork so I can join her... been working on this for over a year, and its endless red tape, inaccurate information on websites, no one wants to help you, immigration lawyers out to take your last dime.... no wonder people do it illegally... the system is just plain broken

    January 26, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  13. Rebecca

    Question: If a system is placed that gives legal immigrants a card in order to be able to legally work, and companies hiring people illegally will be sanctioned, how do you plan to make sure private employers are following the law? Is there going to be some way to regulate seasonal harvesting jobs, lawn care jobs, housekeeping jobs that aren't major corporations and pay under the table without taking out taxes in the first place?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  14. Joe

    Ask them if they are aware what this ridiculous 1 trillion dollar DoD budget cut over the next ten years is going to do to our military's ability to fullfill the National Military Strategy and are they prepared for the political and economic consequences. Say bye bye to our 11 carrier fleet (mandated by Congress), say bye bye to being able to fight more than one conflict at a time, and say bye bye to 50 to 100 thousand jobs for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines that will be getting a pink slip. Thanks for busting your butt for the last 10 years now go find a job...wait there are no jobs so go get an unemployment check.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • Bart Brown

      I trillion dollar "National Military Strategy?" What's THAT for, so we can catch up with the high-tech military technology of Afghanistan (no air force, no nothing, except AK-47s and the Stingers WE gave them when they were "freedom fighters" against the Great Satan Soviet Union. THAT really worked out well. Oh, yeah, and Iran's nuclear submarine fleet - can't forget that, or Cuba's vast armada of Stealth bombers. The ""National Military Strategy" is another corporate giveaway to panhandlers like UTC, Lockheed Marietta, and the entire "military-industrial complex" Eisenhower warned us about 60 years ago. How about taking that trillion dollars and rebuilding Eisenhower's Interstate system, thus creating JOBS, instead of bonuses for defense contractor bonuses and cost-plus contracts. Can you say "Halliburton?"

      January 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
  15. Oldie in TampaBay

    Don't forget about RON PAUL, WOLF! You seem to forget he is running as well.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Carl

      I'm with Oldie – I want to hear from Dr. Ron Paul.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Liz Davis

      Thank you for bringing attention to Dr. Ron Paul. I completely agree with you, the other two and a half spend time bickering about things which doesn't matter. We want to restore our country according to the constitution, and these rich dudes ( for lack of a better word ) just continue to get air time that a lot of us don't want to hear. I want Dr. Paul to be able to get his word out, but he is discriminated against by the media, and even the GOP, and last night he had some pretty good things to say, even funny stuff about his age, etc. Yet today, all I hear on the news is Newt/Romney. I am sooooo very sick of the two, and the other one half doesn't really matter to me. LET DR. RON PAUL speak....please, pretty please, do we have to get down on our knees and beg? Yes, I support Dr. Ron Paul. Thanks once more to the Oldie in Tampa Bay. Liz Davis

      January 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  16. Wolf Blitzer

    My Goal for Tonight's Debate: Not to laugh at the pathetic foursome this party has provided for 2012.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • trigger589

      Ask if there will be a " None of the above" ballot for this election.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  17. Lem

    After all these debates we know what the candidates are for, we know what they’ve done before, we know they all disagree with everything President Obama is for so don’t keep beating those dead horses.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  18. abba

    Hey Blitz could you ask an intelligent question instead of recycled questions?

    January 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  19. Rob Crowetz

    With over 50% of Florida homes over 60% underwater how do you fix that. It is easier for me to just walk away from my house to get a job in another state then try to sell it, especially with so many foreclosures in the area. If the government would let the banks write off our negative equity, well we could refi at the lower interest/ principal rates and lower our bills and thus spend money else where! The Jobs are lower paying in the economy right now so, it seem the banks make it easier to walk away and take a job somewhere else than stay.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • TC

      Why should the banks and taxpayers like me – who didn't overspend on our houses – pay for your mistake? You are really asking 'the Government' to forcibly take money from the rest of us to benefit yourself. Just come and rob us in person, it would be more honest.

      January 26, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  20. Soonie

    Please ask Mr. Gingrich to explain how his financial dealings with Citizens United is any different than how Mitt Romney made his money. Mr. Gingrich makes fundraising robocalls (at least he did here in RI) for Citizens United, all of his "documentaries" or campaign informercials are produced in conjunction with Citizens United, and he seems to be the biggest benefactor of the favorable decision handed down by the Supreme Court. I frankly don't see the difference – it's still money begating power and power begating more money.

    And, please, please, please – tell all of the men on the stage tonight that they should refer to President Obama as "President Obama", "the President", or "our President" and not "he", or "Obama". They need to show some respect for the office they aspire to.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  21. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Debates are not necessary! American voters should open their ears and read with their eyes and they KNOW who stands where on what issues! That is all they need to know! There is no need for a circus atmosphere! If the "little people" need to have that atmosphere they can always go to a football game or a circus! If we must have debates to appease a mindless audience, the least they can do is shut up and listen and not utter a word! That would be polite!

    January 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  22. Diane

    Ask them all who pays for their health insurance. I bet it's us, the taxpayers.

    January 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • mary

      Only Romney pays for his health care, bet you $10,000!

      January 26, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • mary

      We focused on some of the most important issues impacting Americans. I will try to do that once again tonight. Think you hit some and missed others. "Oh, yes, and why would your wife make a good first lady?"

      January 26, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  23. Rob Crowetz

    Wolf please ask this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    With over 50% of Florida homes over 50% underwater how do you fix that. It is easier for me to just walk away from my house to get a job in another state then try to sell it, especially with so many foreclosures in the area. If the government would let the banks write off our negative equity, well we could refi at the lower interest rates and lower our bills and thus spend money else where while taking a lower paying job in the area and keep our home.

    Seems the banks make it easier to walk away then stay, which is sad.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
  24. Revolution 2012

    RON PAUL for president 2012!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • a'eron

      And by allowing 30 second responses to personal attacks, Romney and Newt will diliberately attack each other in ALL their responses to limit Ron Paul's airtime.

      January 26, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  25. Kaye, Arizona

    I cannot think of any moderator who is better than you!!!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  26. Bob

    Ask them all if they are ready to sacrifice their political careers to do what the American people need. Are the needs of the people being put ahead of Special Interest.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
  27. d seppala

    As a floridian and a republican I am truly turned off by the constant negative ads that run constantly. I wish they would take thier super pac money and put it toward the national debt that they all seem to be so concerned about.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  28. George Scott

    These debates is getting TOO TIRING. How many new questions can you formulate in the last 24 hours? ENOUGH!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  29. Ramesh

    None of you are asking, where is the meat. Did they ran their numbers on Deficit,Debt,Spending and Revenue. Do they have blue print or just seat of the pant numbers.
    If Gingerich brings capital gains to 0 and taxes to 15%, what is the revenue he is expecting. How did he calculate it. Do they have a timeline annually on the 4 figures I mentioned.
    You are all making this into a high school debate and not making the rubber hit the road.
    Did you all gone mad?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  30. Mark

    THERE ARE 4 (FOUR) CANDIDATES. Please remember to ask them all questions.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  31. steve woodyatt

    The PNAC exerted influence on high-level U.S. government officials in the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush and affected the Bush Administration's development of military and foreign policies, especially involving national security and the Iraq War. Can you ask the candidates if they are seeking or have sought the advice from similar beltway think tanks? Thanks.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
  32. grammiej

    This will be a ZOO event with lots of elephants in the room tossing "peanuts" at the crowd to get a roar.
    Shame on CNN for letting the audience DRIVE the debate. This should be a debate between the candidates, not between those in the crowd that are cheering, clapping or booing during the time.
    Shame on making this another ZOO atmosphere.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  33. Topcat

    Please please make them specifically answer your questions, and press them until they do. And, if they get the facts wrong, please call them on that!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  34. Antonio

    Wolf, Please ask Rick Santorum : If he regrets saying that Homosexuals, Pediphiles and Beastiality is part of the same group. " explain the google attack towards him" !!

    January 26, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  35. Jonathan

    PLEASE give Ron Paul a fair amount of time and questions tonight, Wolf. Thank you 🙂

    January 26, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  36. Paul

    Wolf- question for Newt Gingrinch, if he had two divorces and asked for a open marriage... then the question remains, if you can't solve your marriage problems, what makes you think you can solve America's problems?

    Second question- Do you find lying about things helpful to your political career?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  37. Catherine Daly

    How about asking the candidates questions about the great divide between what they SAY they are going to do and what they have ACTUALLY done. And, please, give Dr. Paul a chance to answer! Of the four, you'll get your only straight answer from him.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  38. Jorge

    Wolf you're a great moderator, could you please ask Newt Gingrich To define "Establishment"

    January 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  39. Randy in Washington

    Please, Please, Please, from one broadcaster to another, do not allow bias to be a part of this debate. That means all candidates get equal time and equal treatment. Something that has not happened to date showing the inability of past moderators to be true professionals.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  40. kristie

    Please make sure there are more than 2 people in this debate. Dr. Ron Paul shouldn't have to wave his hand to get asked a question. Makes me think you are scared of him.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  41. TJeff1776

    The Cayman Island thing keeps poping up. Reminds me of the "birthers" Something totally proven means nothing to the faultfinders.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  42. bookdemon

    Wolf, I've rethought this. Please do continue to ignore Ron Paul. Let the other candidates open their mouths and we will watch them all disintegrate before our very eyes. There will only be one man standing when its all said and done. Then you can ask him all the questions you want. And he will answer them honestly.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  43. Erin

    Ask Mitt why a wealthy draft doger should be Commander-in-Chief? Was/Is he a conscientious objector?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  44. Chris

    Hey Wolf. If you've got a tough question for Newt, don't wimp out. If he's going to attack the media, hit back with something about the hypocrisy of someone who talks about family values messing around with 3 women and how his position on values can be called into question as a result. Without slamming one of your colleagues, you don't need to back down and blame some other news source. These questions are legit. When you're running for president, you can't pick and choose the questions you want to answer.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  45. raymunchel

    Mr. Blitzer. Will you please get Newt to answer questions and/or accusations? This is supposed to be a debate where you think and answer spontaneously. Don't let Newt refer the public to a carefully laid-out web site. Please Mr. Blitzer

    January 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  46. Chris

    Hey Wolf. If you've got a tough question for Newt, don't wimp out. If he's going to attack the media, hit back with something about the hypocrisy of someone who talks about family values messing around with 3 women and how his position on values can be called into question as a result.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  47. logicnothuff

    You'll also see 4 patriots, EACH of whom respects American citizens and has an awe for the greatness of the United States and for the US Constitution. They all have specific plans to establish economic engines and for the defense of the nation and return of it to law and order. This is as opposed to the Obama who this week hollered at a governor and then nastily walked off in the middle of her response (what a THUG), used recess appointments for 3 to the National Labor Relations Board and used another recess appointment to the Federal Reserve Consumer Protection Board WHILE CONGRESS WAS IN SESSION, an impeachable offense, which goes with the other impeachable offense of sending the military to Libya without Congressional approval!! So there will be 4 candidates (3 good ones, and 1 who is anti-Israel) each of whom will be outstanding for the job, and who must defeat Barack Obama.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  48. Captain Kirk

    This is Captain Kirk from the bridge of the Enterprise. I am so excited about this debate, especially hearing that Mr Gingrich's comments today that he will be building a permanent base on the moon by the end of his second term. As I have retired from the Federation, I would like to volunteer to work for Newt on the Moon. I asked Spock to run some numbers for Newt, and Spock and I think he can get that Moon base built for about $28 Trillion Dollars - assuming he buys much of the material from Home Depot, and also if he uses about 125 million illegals for labor and pays them not more than $1.25 an hour. Looking forward to working with you President Newt - Dr McCoy says he will help with your medical plan, and Scotty says you can buy cheap diliithium crystals from the Romulans.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  49. Tembo

    I hope CNN won't muzzle the crowd like NBC did. If they try, the people should ignore the instructions. Wasn't that a cheering crowd at the presadient's state of the unuon address? But Republicans must sit in silence?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  50. Richard

    Please ask since each is very wealthy by most people's standards and its the backbone of their platform to create jobs..

    How did each use their tax write offs and breaks to create jobs for the lower and middle class beside running for president?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  51. jan

    I say let the audience boo and cheer... sure makes great copy the next day and I think makes the Republican party look very mean spirited.

    January 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  52. MN

    Ask Them who is/was better president.. Bush 43 or Obama ?

    January 26, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
  53. Rebecca

    Please ask Newt how he can answer a question ( attacking ABC and the "elite media" ) so vehemently and confidently, KNOWING what he was saying was not true. How are we to trust any of his claims or positions when we have seen how compelling he can be when lying?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  54. jan

    Mr. Blitzer Good luck to you. I hope you can get the candidates to answer questions with specifics or at least possible solutions to our nations many problems. In stead of them saying they will abolish the Affordable Healthcare give examples of how they would improve our healthcare system. How would they be different than Pres. Obama on taxing the off shore companies instead of subsidizing them. We already know how they don't like Pres. Obama and how they don't like what he is doing, we have heard that over and over and over. I hope you can get them to put out some solutions of their own. I don't envy you because you need to be able to call a candidate on a lie but first you have to know the facts yourself. Like I said Good Luck tonight

    January 26, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  55. Mark

    Oh please please please pay attention to the cry of the people, we don't care about Gingrich or Romney we want to hear from REAL candidates, who CAN beat Obama, because they are NOT LIARS with every word they breathe.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  56. Dirk the Daring

    Wolf's real goals are: 1) Newt Gingrich doesn't furiosly chastise him 2) the Romans in the audience don't throw him to the lions.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
  57. Justi

    An idea for tonight's debate! I was wondering if CNN can create an open voting system for the people in front of TV by letting them express who according to them is the winner of today’s debate. It will be great if during the debate viewers could vote via phone/text message/online and choose the candidate that they most agree with.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  58. clarinet

    Please spend a lot of time on energy – sources, cost, jobs – it is the root of most people's economic problems. Somehow you, Wolf, and the candidates, all seem to make too much money to really care. What is really going to be done about the cost of energy? Signed, an otherwise happy $17,000/year writer.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  59. Han Solo

    Question for Newt Gingrich:

    Assuming you do not get the Republican Nomination, will you run 3rd party?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  60. Charles in Atlanta

    Why does Newt Gingrich believe the vast majority of us independents will vote for him considering it's sort of our political nature to vote for the Washington "outsider" as was the case with Reagan and Bush? Does he actually believe that he, in spite of his superior knowledge and debating skills, will come across any better than Dole and McCain (both D.C. insiders)? For that matter, neither did we go for Dems Kerry and Gore (Washington insiders) but we helped elect Jimmy Carter (another "outsider"). Independents also helped elect our current president (essentially an "outsider" at the time of his election. Mitt Romney may be moderate, but he is not tainted by the Beltway stigma (not yet)!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  61. Steve, Colorado

    Please also don't let them get around answering a question. John King's bigger mistake the other night was not aggressively following up and making the very valid journalistic case for the question and the importance of the answer. NG's an arrogant bully and has spent almost as much time whining about, attacking or evading questions as answering them.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  62. yes

    With the name Wolf Blitzer, he must get so much putang. Go Wolf!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  63. GBfromOhio

    I feel sorry for you "Blitz" (as Herman Cain would say) having to moderate a debate among these 1 percenter blowhards. I'm sure Newt will get indignant if you ask him anything about his sordid background. Good luck with this. I'll watch a one minute summary of the debate on the Daily Show.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  64. Sammy

    Forgot to say, I also trust you will ask questions of substance and give a chance to each person to answer. If you could also cut off anyone going on a tanget with time filler useless information.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  65. Han Solo

    An easy question which contains something that ANY future president will probably have to make a decision on in the next few years.

    Q: If you were president and a state such as California due to their own excessive spending, came to you and asked for a bailout, what would you do?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  66. Sammy

    Wolf, I know you will have more decency than other moderator on other network and give Ron Paul ( the only candidate that makes any sense and that wants peace ) equal time.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  67. Mike - Merritt Island

    Everyone talks about 'ObamaCare' and the high costs of health care but all they ever talk about is how to pay for it. That's just a huge bandaide on the real problem. The real problem is the high cost of the actual health care NOT the high cost of insurance. Bring down the outrageous cost of what the Pharmaceutical industry, hospitals and doctors are charging and that will bring down the cost of health insurance so the 'normal' citizen can afford it.

    Medicare running out of money? ... Get it out of the General Fund and put it back to where it was before Clinton and Gore decided there was to much money there to 'waste' ! Medicare was doing just fine until that happened!

    January 26, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  68. Phil

    Please follow the lead of your colleagues, Brian Williams and Jim Lehrer, and request the audience remain silent. About the third outburst of reality TV (essentially live, unscripted, and staged TV), I have to tune you out.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  69. bookdemon

    You must give all candidates equal time tonight Wolf! Otherwise, it is YOU who is unqualified for the job. We will be watching and listening closely, and we will be making note of who is advertising during your channel's debate. This is the last chance you and your network has to regain any relevance. I suppose you could always go running back to AIPAC, or are you still working for them?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  70. dilip

    Just ask intelligent questions WOLF ...and know the answers to the questions ...otherwise it deteriorates into ..Hear this clip ..what do you think of that reporting ...LEarn from Zakaria...know of whence you speak ..or prepare to look as stupid as John King

    January 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  71. Amber

    Please start out the debate like this:
    We will not allow the candidates to go after one another tonight. Instead we will be talking about real issues. I want to here, not just what you plan on doing to help the USA but HOW. Enough with the kindergarten sand box of these men might be out next president. They need to start acting like it! And please give EQUAL time to all.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  72. Bill Danville, Virginia

    Please ask the 4 Republican candidates this question:
    The November 14, 2011 issue of Time Magazine reported the World Bank’s annual ranking of countries based on the ease of doing business. This ranking took into account the number of regulations, tax rates, and the time it takes to start a business. Of 183 countries, the U.S. ranked as the fourth easiest place in the world to do business. This was unchanged from the year before. Using the same criteria, some of the countries with the fastest growing economies such as China, Brazil, and India were judged to be much less business friendly than the U.S. On numerous occasions during this campaign, each of you have called for less regulations and further tax cuts for the wealthy, what specific independent research will you cite that supports the idea that deregulation, cutting taxes for the wealthy, and no government involvement in the economy will increase economic growth? Thank you. Bill in Danville, Virginia

    January 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  73. descarado

    Wolfie won journalism's Monica Lewinsky Blue Dress Award for swallowing after his last interview with Barack Obama.

    Wolfie, arent' you ashamed to call yourself a journalist?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  74. Bill Smith

    Someone please explain how a finite amount of money can be spread infinitely. If you have $100, 100 people each get a dollar. When some have more than a dollar, the others have less than a dollar. So here is the paradox. When money has to be raised, it MUST come from somewhere. Either you print more money (devalue it), or you have to redistribute it (taxes etc). Am I missing something? Are they missing something? How can these candidates really think that neither of these are "fair" to them? Do they understand? It's fairly simple. Do they not care? They must not! I need help with this.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  75. jkv372

    Please don't walk across the stage every time Ron Paul speaks to distract the viewers.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  76. paul c johnson

    Find out which of the candidates is truly in touch with the common man by asking these simple questions:
    * how much does a quart of milk cost ?
    * what is the price for a dozen eggs ?
    * how much does a load of bread cost ?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  77. Jen

    Facts count. Get beyond generalities and rehearsed stories:
    "What evidence supports your claim? Can you be more specific?"
    "Give me a specific example of when you . . ."
    "Please detail your experience with foreign policy, and whom you will rely on as your key advisers/thought leaders?"
    "Please describe in detail a time when you personally took on a challenging situation and turned it around with great results. What did you personally do (specifically) to make it happen?"
    "What big ideas do you have for the country that go beyond generalities?"
    "What will you ask of Americans once you are elected?"

    January 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  78. Ashlie

    Mr.Blitzer, I know you are a very busy man. I am hoping to just maybe get my question answered. I have no intentions of being an annoyance and hope to not come off as such. I have a question for the Candidates that has weighed heavily on the hearts of our family. I am a mother of 2 Autistic children, graduated in Nursing from BYU. I am doing the best to help my children to the degree my education has taught me but the redefining of Autism Criteria in 2013, Health Care cut backs, getting rid of the Department Of Education, Insurance providers opting out of paying for Autism therapies-it feels like my children are getting pushed to the side by our Government. What do these things mean for our kids? Does the government not see the domino effect this will have on society in the future? If our children do not get the services they need when they are young they will become dependent on Government services such as health care/food/housing and disability. I know there are bigger things going on in our Country right now but my kids matter too.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  79. Oliver Shapiro Los Angeles

    Ask each candidate exactly how and which companies they would allow to collapse or to help out? Ask foreign policy questions such as will you place harder sanctions on Iran or not? What involvement will you have in relations between the US and North Korea. Personally i dont see a concise and smart approach to foreign policy. Also ask about what kind of jobs will be created? McDonald jobs or careers. Careers are not a job, it is an identity of a person. Make sure that a real job is an engineer, doctor, not a person flipping burgers for 8 dollars an hour. If a candidate starts to move away from the question dont be afraid to interrupt them and force them to answer the question at hand.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
  80. USAFvet

    I would appreciate a fair amount of time for all candidates to speak, cough cough Ron Paul.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  81. Cowshed

    Although there will always be a certain amount of obfuscation in such a setting, I personally think the debates have shed a lot of light on each candidates' character and their thinking on the issues. My great hope is that, once the Republican candidate is selected, there will also be a lengthy series of debates between that candidate and President Obama, with tough questions being asked of each.

    Naysayers to the contrary, the great majority American people are pretty good at understanding the issues and making rational decisions if properly informed of the facts. There will always be some who simply drink the cool-aid of the left or the right without thinking, but that is one of the characteristics of a democracy.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  82. jj

    Oh noooooo, not another debate. Seriously, I will be watching Big Bang Theory and Secret Circle.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  83. Roger

    Ask Ron Paul all the questions. The other candidates want to kill all the brown people and don't know anything about the constitution.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  84. Rob

    Would you ask who will stop the fed from printing money and will you allow interest rates to take their normal course from day one. I am not looking forward to paying $1000 dollars for a soda when the dollar is so deflated it looks like the old peso or lira.

    January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  85. Don.Albuquerque

    Did Obama sign a law making congressional insider trading illegal and punishable today?

    January 26, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  86. john

    Wolf, why do you any have goals for this at all? Your only role is to be an objective and neutral questioner, minus the usual media biasl. My goals are to hear the goals of these candidates and not your goals.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  87. Jeff O. (CA)

    CA has 7 out of the 10 worst cities to find a job in according to US News and World Report. CA has also been named the worst state in which to do business for 7 years in a row with some of the highest taxes and business regulations in the USA. There is a direct correlation, yet nothing gets done. What are these candidates going to do specifically stimulate growth in the economy and how will they specifically reduce entitlement expenses without having major impact on or retired citizens?

    January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  88. Susan

    Good luck, Mr. Blitzer. I hope you will ask that the audience not be part of the spin around the candidates' responses. As an independent undecided, I'd like for you to ask them to answer the questions you pose, not the ones they choose to answer.
    You can also ask Mr. Santorum and Mr. Gingrich if they are aware that the wise protection of wealth is addressed in parable in the New mention of the Cayman Islands but the example is clear in the parable. US law does not forbid the protection of wealth and there is an argument to be made that if a person does not protect his own assets, why would you expect him to protect yours!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  89. wade

    His goals will be the same as they always are. Make sure the GOP look bad even when they are right and make sure Obama is loved even as he is destroying America. That is all the Liberal press ever does.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  90. jmyer

    I have read that the audience will be able to respond to the candidates' answers tonight, but I hope we aren't in for another circus with all the jeers, yelling, booing, that we experienced at the debate in SC. All that nonsense takes up too much time, and doesn't give the candidates enough time to answer the questions. It also riles up the crowd and they get quite out of control.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  91. callnews

    Ditto with the comment about Rod Paul. With all the excuses about allowing candidates to respond to insults, (or excuse me, comments) you properly justify observations that you're pandering to those who you perceive are the "front runners".

    January 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  92. joesmith

    diddos to the folks who want equal time for all candidates..While we know Ron Paul is the dark horse in Florida..he deserves time to provide a persuasive arguement..your job wolf is to give him that EQUAL time..

    January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  93. Nancy

    Could you please have the audience hold applause till the end.?? Also please don't back down on character issues concerning Newt abandoning his wives when they were sick.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:52 pm |

    Ask Romney about his secret wife! Ask it right off!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  95. Wull Patton

    It probably won't happen, but you should take the audience response out of it – this just plays to Newt's strengths – not the same strengths, I should mention, as that required to lead the country.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  96. Dennis Malkie

    I would like you to ask two questions:..Mitt Romney claims to be a job creator. OK he pays less then a 14% tax rate. we keep hearing if we raise taxes on the rich it would kill jobs, So ask Mitt how many jobs did he personlly create in the last two year,,( outside of hs election team)....In a June 6, 1985 speech at Northside High School in Atlanta, Georgia, then President Ronald Reagan explained that tax loopholes allowing a millionaire to pay lower taxes that a bus driver were “crazy,” because they allowed the “truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share, ask Newt was Reagan wrong!!

    January 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  97. rightospeak

    I hope that Wolf will give equal time to Ron Paul ( other debates have been undemocratic, unAmerican to say the least ) and concentrate on real issues facing this country and how they are going to solve them. Too much time was spent in the past on stupid bickering, less important issues and blatant promotion of annointed candidates. Our country is in a crisis and we need to know how the candidates are going to create jobs , not whisling dixie, how are we going to pay our debt to China. To have credibility in the future you must be fair, Wolf.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  98. WR Jones, New Port Richey, FL

    You just let Wasserman spew nonsense for 5mins without a SINGLE challenge to her attacks. So tell me Wolf, why should anyone care about your "thoughts" when it's clear you are in the corner of the democrats, you would Never allow any Republican to spew crap like Wasserman did for that long attackinf dems without challenging them on many points... you stared at her like she was your hero, almost like the loving look in your eyes when Hillary is near.

    Newt was right... CNN is an arm of the dems, you can dance around it, deny it, but when you treat Wasserman like she's the final word on the Republican field we know what's really going on there at CNN.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  99. CoJo

    All I can say is I hope you challenge them vs reading scripted questions. So far ONLY Meet the Press staff has done this. Otherwise what's the point. Most of the time Ron Paul is all over the map when you responses, but at various points only Ron Paul has really stated what thoughts (unintentionally). Like when he mentioned that the republicans had control of the house, senate and president and screwed things up. Brian Williams had a perfect chance to get them to respond how they would have kept the financial meltdown from happening in the first place... He missed that opportunity...Because it goes back to if they are going to reduce/cut regulations, how are they going to keep things manageable (the banks and investment firms in this example from doing it again).

    January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  100. Jim in San Mateo

    Ask Romney why he plans to make the United States a country governed by the rich, for the rich, while the middle class and the poor take it in the shorts and get stuck paying the bills.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
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