Please visit the new home of Majikthise at

« Majikthise takes 2nd place in 2007 Weblog Awards | Main | Recommended reading »

November 10, 2007

Clinton campaign confirms coaching questioner at Iowa town meeting

Hillary Clinton's campaign admitted Friday to planting a question at a town meeting in Newton, Iowa:

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s campaign admitted Friday that it planted a global warming question in Newton, Iowa, Tuesday during a town hall meeting to discuss clean energy.

Clinton campaign spokesman Mo Elliethee admitted that the campaign had planted the question and said it would not happen again.

On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton's energy plan at a forum,” Elliethee said. [FOX]

Grinnell student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff told the campus paper that a Clinton senior staffer approached her at Tuesday's event and told her to ask a specific question about the global warming.

Today, a second Iowan came forward to claim that Clinton's people had approached him to ask a question about war funding:

One day after Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign confirmed that a staffer planted a question for the presidential candidate at a recent campaign stop, another person has come forward with a similar story.

Geoff Mitchell, a minister who recently moved to Hamilton, Ill., from Iowa, told ABC News that he was approached this spring by Clinton's Iowa political director Chris Haylor to ask Clinton a question about war funding. [ABC]

Nobody's claiming that Clinton's people coached every single questioner at the event, nor that they sent staffers to impersonate members of the public. However, these covert attempts to feed canned questions to audience members differs only in degree from last month's infamous staged FEMA press conference.

Question-planting subverts the purpose of the Iowa caucuses. These events are supposed to be an opportunity for voters to ask questions of candidates. Candidates who plant questions are hijacking the proceedings and deceiving the public.

Clinton should personally apologize and pledge not to do this again. Her opponents should swear off question-planting as well.

HT: B-Money.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Clinton campaign confirms coaching questioner at Iowa town meeting:


I'm against planted questions whether a Democrat or Republican is responsible.

Meanwhile, there is still the issue of what will happen to "clean energy" in the bill in Conference Committee now.
Brian Beutler writes:

OK. I'm still trying to report this out. What I have for now comes from environmental advocates, off-the-record conversations, and, for what it's worth, my own speculation. The situation is very fluid, and can change at any time (as in, by the time you read this). Near as I can tell, though, this is how things look going into tonight:

I've learned from concerned advocates that Democratic congressional leadership is considering stripping the production tax credits for wind and solar...from the conference bill.

The creepiest part is how Bush-Administration it is. And not just because of the FEMA thing - it's got "control-freak liar" written all over it.

Milli Vanilli should retread their career and hire themselves out to candidates of either party to warm up the suckers at campaign stops.

Pokitics is becoming just some big semi-scripted television reality show.


It's disturbing. No matter what the question, you can always find a way to work in your talking points without this sort of micro-management. I don't get it.

Clinton called on Gallo-Chasanoff after her speech to ask a question: what Clinton would do to stop the effects of global warming. (Grinnell Scarlet & Black)

This is a silly question to plant. If you're going to be dishonest, wouldn't you plant a question that's unlikely to be asked or a question that will highlight the differences between you and another candidate? Asking "How will you stop the effects of global warming?" is like asking "What will you do about health care?" or "What's your plan for Iraq?"

As shrimplate wrote, Clinton could have easily addressed global warming in her opening comments or waited for the question to arise without prompting. I've heard two or three candidates asked about global warming at other events.

Clinton was also criticized for her response to a questioner in New Hampton, IA. Ironically, she called him a plant. I'm biased, but I think she was defensive about her incorrect vote on the Kyl-Lieberman amendment. In fact, I called one of her field offices to complain about it and told a Clinton staffer who interrupted my dinner that that vote was a strike against her. If she's getting heat on an issue, she should have a good answer that doesn't involve insulting the questioner.

Hillary Clinton (as she has become, not what she started as) would be a terrible POTUS. A huge push for the nihilistic position that Democrat/Republican means nothing. That you have to do whatever two-faced and dishonest thing it takes to win elections. That elections are all about seizing power rather than most-enlightened leadership.

Very bad dawns ahead for the most perfect country the world has produce

Not that two wrongs make a right...but the Bush Administration does this all the time.

John Edwards:

"That's what George Bush does... George Bush goes to events that are staged, where people are screened, where they’re only allowed to ask questions if the questions are favorable to George Bush and set up in his favor. That’s not the way democracy works in Iowa, and that’s not the way it works in New Hampshire."

please post about H.R. 1955, House bill that passed by huge margin in late october. "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism and Prevention Act of 2007," which sounds like the fast track back to the McCarthy era.

you guys really need to get a 3rd party in power in the us-preferably a social democratic one...


Hillary Clinton declines to speak to the issues - or at least provide real answers to real questions, while opting for the more PC Global Warming ones - even if she has to script them herself. Of which she currently says, “It’s news to me.” How else could the Clinton staged media have reported Hillary’s remarkable comeback, after the Illegal Alien Driver’s License (Gotcha) debacle?

But like a good many Americans (and many good Americans), I don’t want that duo back in the White House. With the Clintons, what is past is prologue. And Hillary will come back swinging. Then there’s the incidence of Al Qaeda flight students, trained at the University of Bill Clinton. Why does this remain a non-issue? Albert Einstein said, “The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it:”

Hillary Clinton: Positively Pandering, Definitely Duplicitous, Ultimately Unelectable.

One of the saddest aspects of Hillary Clinton's national career is that her many compromises and triangulations have done so little to soften pillory-Hillary types. How much good does it do her presidential campaign that Clinton-bashers still sound so unhinged? Some.

LA TIMES article by

Although other campaigns are righteously denying it, virtually every professional presidential campaign plants questions. It's a routine part of preparation for the advance people staging every event.

Not every question is planted, as you can tell from the weird ones that sometimes pop up. Most are arranged with more sophistication than grabbing a passing college student. They're done in advance with known local supporters who can be trusted and, frankly, are flattered by their moment in the limelight addressing the possible next president in front of friends. They want the world to think it's their own question.

I'm not posting this to defend Hillary Clinton, since I don't think two wrongs make a right.

I'm not even sure if the authors are correct that everyone does it (they don't provide new examples). But I thought this should be part of the discussion.

Although other campaigns are righteously denying it, virtually every professional presidential campaign plants questions. It's a routine part of preparation for the advance people staging every event.

The only reason most politicians avoid staging events like this is the threat of embarrassment. So quit making excuses for bad behavior. If Clinton's camp feels burned after this, maybe we won't have to deal with staged town halls and loyalty oaths for another 8 years.

They're done in advance with known local supporters who can be trusted and, frankly, are flattered by their moment in the limelight addressing the possible next president in front of friends. They want the world to think it's their own question.

What kind of sad people are these that throw away their own ideas and desires so that they can look good in front of their friends? What kind of sad people would throw away an important factor of democrasy, subvert it even, so they can garner a moments glory? Members of the idiotocrasy.

The comments to this entry are closed.