November 10th, 2007
11:07 AM ET
7 years ago

Questions planted by Clinton campaign

Sen. Hillary Clinton discusses her energy plan in Newton, Iowa on Tuesday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign admitted late Friday that a staffer spoke to potential questioners at a recent event, but denied that the New York Democrat had any knowledge about what she would be asked by the audience.

Grinnell College’s “Scarlet and Black” newspaper reported a student’s account of being pulled aside before a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa and asked to pose a specific question.

“They were canned,” Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff claimed in an interview with the newspaper. “One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask].”

Gallo-Chasanoff said she was told that the campaign wanted the question, about what Clinton would do for the environment, to be asked by a college student. She said Clinton was prompted to call on her as well as another student seen in conversation with staffers prior to the event.

The Clinton campaign did not dispute talking to the student, but dismissed suggestions the senator was following a script that would ensure she only received friendly questions.

“On this occasion a member of our staff did discuss a possible question about Senator Clinton's energy plan at a forum,” campaign spokesman Mo Elleithee said in a statement. “However, Senator Clinton did not know which questioners she was calling on during the event. This is not standard policy and will not be repeated again.”

Several of Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination contacted news organizations, including CNN, to bring attention to the college newspaper's story.

Related: Watch Clinton's controversial question

Related: Obama: We don't plant questions

Related: Democratic rivals respond to Clinton's planted question

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

– CNN's Mark Norman in Atlanta and Chris Welch in Iowa.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. olivia san antonio texas

    We will see the first woman president in our country's history in 2008! Women of this country are ready for a change and that change is Clinton!

    November 10, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  2. Bernie Jones South Carolina

    Change? what change? the only change she is offering is Gender nothing more. Everything else is politics as usual.

    November 10, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  3. Hyvron Jean

    WOW

    November 10, 2007 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. John NC

    Good Bye Hillary

    November 10, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    This doesn't surprise me since it's coming from Hillary's campaign

    WatchingHillary.com

    November 10, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Scott Brown, Florida. Did you know the story? Mitchell is a minister in Hamilton, he said " I wanted to ask her why she voted for the Iraq war and why she didn't consider that a mistake" Hillary answered clearly at first debate. Mitchell told Fox News he is an Obama supporter but can not participate in the Iowa caucus, then what is his purpose being there and make trouble? what kind of minister is he? I wouldn't go to his church, he needs help spiritually.

    November 10, 2007 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  7. Aaron, Lake Forest, California

    Not quite as bad as Bush planting a communications back pack under his jacket and being fed answers. Hillary is smart enough to know that some questions will not be asked unless prompted. What's wrong with that?

    November 10, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. RMRN.Y.

    Do you see what we mean when we say, Hillary is more of the same. They are old school political movers with sleaze up the sleeve. They only want to control what you hear from their dog eared political script. Nothing spontaneous or authentic so as to really know them.
    Shadow people with contempt for the citizens of the United States – you the people are to be spoon fed their version of reality so you can be controlled and marched into the voting booth without even knowing who you just
    voted for. Clintonistas – get it already, and awake from the sleep walk
    they have you doing. Snap out of it before it's too late!!!

    WAKE UP !!!

    Obama is the real deal – a leader with a heart for the people and a brain that really works – just imagine how great Barak's speech is going to be at the democratic convention. He will bring us together and effect real and meaningful change for us all.

    Vote for the smartest person in the room – BARAK OBAMA !!!

    November 10, 2007 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  9. R. Anderson Charlotte, NC

    Is it too much to ask a potential president and former first lady not to manipulate anyone else in order to show us how intelligent she is? Could we just have a 'little bit' of honesty from this bunch for a change of pace? Or maybe we can't handle the truth… on second thought, if this is the best she can do i don't want to hear any more of it.
    R. Anderson Charlotte, NC

    November 10, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    cool. Hillary Clinton now has a direct tie to FEMA. so the current frontrunner is now as good as FEMA is....

    November 11, 2007 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  11. Beth,Nashua,NH

    http://www.barackobama.com/2007/11/09/obama_picks_up_a_coveted_endor.php

    November 11, 2007 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  12. Gene L.A. Ca

    No big surprises from the Republicans petty comments here as they pull their little smear machine out of mothballs. The very thought of any polls suggesting Hillary may well beat any of their lying ilk in the election by a fairly comfortable margin makes their blood run cold with panic. The whiny foaming-at-the-mouth Clinton haters can be counted on to pull out all the stops in '08 and use their bag of dirty tricks again that worked on Al Gore and John Kerry. They will stop at nothing to try to fool voters through the entire campaign in a desperate attempt to stay in the White House. Fortunately for us all, George the lying hypocrite Bush and his complete lack of competence and leadership ability has left a sizeable majority of voters more than a tiny bit apprehensive about allowing another person with an (R) next to their name anywhere near the White House for a long time to come. Maybe Bush really was on a mission from God afterall, Only that purpose is not what he would have us think it was! Maybe it was to show voters the true face of the party elite and what would happen to America when they were able to abuse their power long enough, thus the 6 awful years with Bush and his party controlling both houses. America was punished and Republicans proved they were a disaster in every possible way! When voters "just say NO" to ALL of them it will finally extinguish the far right goon squads strong influence from destroying what is left of Bushes sad disfunctional party. Proof= Take a look at most any large poll out there, Americans have had a belly full of this bunch and know how badly out of touch with reality they are and most want to keep them away from the reigns of power until such time they are no longer being controlled by dangerous neo-fascists and theocratic hypocrites like Rove, Cheney, Pat Robertson, Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, etc. The Republicans have gleefully taken marching orders from this sort since that sad day long ago when Trickie Dickie was inagurated and America lost a large part of it's soul and it's former integrity. Real Republicans like Teddy Roosevelt and much later Ike Eisenhower are nothing like Bush and couldn't run and win a nomination anymore. Eisenhower was perhaps the last decent Republican and it's sadly ironic an infamous crook like Nixon was his VP. Ruthless ideologues and fanatics with no mind of their own and only Dollar signs in their eyes like Bush are willing to do what they are told by their wealthy benefactors. Proof is in Bushes own insane actions. He has never cared what anyone said or thinks no matter how wrong he has been and continues to be on any given issue, no matter if most people disagree with him so much he would poll in the single digits. He truly believes he is a King and above the law. The same Bush supporters living in glass houses are now throwing stones at Hillary so I take any criticism from them with a very large grain of salt. I'll just bet the swift boat liars club will come outta the woodwork any day now!

    November 11, 2007 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  13. Ben, Ames, IA

    Isn't it amazing, both Clintons are touted by their supporters as these extremely intelligent and politically savvy figures, and yet despite being distrusted by at least 50% of the voters at the "get go", they pull stunts like this. I don't think they can help themselves. Dishonestly is so engrained in them, it comes naturally.

    November 11, 2007 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  14. Anonymous, Yorktown, VA

    Gene, very amusing? What flavor cool aide do you recommend?

    November 11, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  15. Austin, TX

    One word for Hillary – transparency.

    After the machinations of George Bush, I believe the nation is starving for honesty and transparency in their political leaders, and this sort of action is far short of that.

    November 11, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  16. Ryan Indianapolis

    What a DISGRACE...Are you proud of your girl Hillary supports...I thought the smartest woman in the world wouldnt need to do this?????

    November 11, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    If this doesn't stink like Bush, nothing does.

    Denying knowledge of malfeasance works like a charm for Bush so why wouldn't Hillary try to employ the same hackneyed tactics.

    Care to explain the difference from one politician to the next?

    November 11, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Michael, Houston TX

    Hillary, don't even respond this is more baloney and feigned surprise by your opponents. Although I would take a serious look at some of your amateur hour campaign management people, there is just no substitute for diligence and extreme attention to detail. Never take anything for granted right up to the last minute of the campaign, fight every day and take every opportunity as though your election depended on it, because it does. Get rid of those folks who are not rock solid on the message and in their diligence.

    Folks grow up and support Hillary. This is the only chance we will really have to correct the mistakes of the past 8 years.

    And for any of you idiots who wish to support a Nader or other fringe candidate, remember – you can have some of your goals met with Hillary or have none of them met when your fractured voting allows a Republicrite like Rudy to win. PLease do not allow the fringe groups to hijack the campaign, alienate the moderate majority and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory again!

    From many of the comments it is pretty obvious most:

    1) Have no grasp of politics or history

    2) have never worked on a campaign

    3) form their political allegiances and opinions based on myth and popular culture

    Hillary is our best chance to come back in the world, and we all need to line up behind her when she wins the nomination, and then the POTUS election. Of course I expect the haters to spend the next 4 to 8 years after that demonizing her no matter the efforts or how they will benefit the nation and people long term. I hope they do benefit us all and she does very well for our country and children's sake!

    Bring us good fortune Hillary! Beleive me you have more supporters in other parties than you know!

    November 11, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. John Williams Seattle, Washington

    why do all hillary supporters always talk about Bush? Bush is not running. Not all Republicans are the same, meaning another Republican in the White House definately doesn't mean another George Bush. Putting someone like Hillary in the White House is like putting someone like George Bush back in, you all have said it yourself. You are always saying that Bush does it too, which is exactly why us Hillary "haters" don't want her SHE IS MORE OF THE SAME! arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh Hillary supporters are just a lot of moronic lemmings try thinking for yourself. Also what is this experience she talks about, I don't remember what position she held in the Clinton administration. Could you please remind me?

    November 11, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  20. Rafael Argos, Raleigh NC

    From many of the comments it is pretty obvious most:

    1) Have no grasp of politics or history

    2) have never worked on a campaign

    3) form their political allegiances and opinions based on myth and popular culture

    Typical Democrat mindset : if you don't agree with me, you're stupid and ignorant. This is what has turned me off about the modern Democratic party and why they keep losing elections that should be a slam-dunk. The vast majority of Americans are tired of being called stupid and ignorant by the powers-that-be in the Democratic party.

    November 11, 2007 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  21. Mark E., Newport News, VA

    "Typical Democrat mindset : if you don't agree with me, you're stupid and ignorant. This is what has turned me off about the modern Democratic party and why they keep losing elections that should be a slam-dunk. The vast majority of Americans are tired of being called stupid and ignorant by the powers-that-be in the Democratic party."

    ++++++++++++

    Couldn't agree more! You forgot to mention calling their opponents bigoted, greedy, blood thirsty, immoral, thieves, filthy rich, and, of course, corrupt. I don't think the Party, nor many of their supporters, see themselves in the mirror, nor realize that the hate and vile rhetoric they spew is counterproductive to improving the tone in Washington. Their tactic is clear, personally attack and villainize to gain politically. Oh, and they love to make reference to FOX News for some reason...it's a hot button" for them....really silly. God forbid, anyone have a different opinion.

    November 12, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Alice, Seattle, WA

    "Hillary is our best chance to come back in the world, and we all need to line up behind her when she wins the nomination, and then the POTUS election. Of course I expect the haters to spend the next 4 to 8 years after that demonizing her no matter the efforts or how they will benefit the nation and people long term. I hope they do benefit us all and she does very well for our country and children's sake!"

    *************************

    ...and that's exactly why Hillary should not be POTUS. What goes around, comes around. She and her Party have been engaged in destructive politics for the past 7 years. One can only expect retaliation from their opponents. If the Left wants any of their goals realized, don't nominate Hillary...she's polarizing and divisive. Why is that not clear?

    November 12, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Anonymous, Hickory, NC

    "Open your eyes people and realize that your vote for President really does matter and really does make a difference in your life. For example, gas was $1.55 a gallon when Bush took office – I filled up last night at $3.22."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    WHAT?!!! So, what do you propose bombing the burgeoning economies of India and China to submission to quell their appetite for oil? Geezz...there should be a competency test to be able to vote!

    November 12, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  24. Stew, Fairfax, VA

    ""Open your eyes people and realize that your vote for President really does matter and really does make a difference in your life. For example, gas was $1.55 a gallon when Bush took office – I filled up last night at $3.22."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++

    WHAT?!!! So, what do you propose bombing the burgeoning economies of India and China to submission to quell their appetite for oil? Geezz…there should be a competency test to be able to vote!

    +++++++++++++++++++++

    You would think these "thoughtful" left wing loons would rejoice at rising fuel costs. Don't they realize higher fuel costs is an effective means to conserve and to reduce greenhouse gases? Nothing motivates the consumer to conserve when he gets smacked in the pocketbook. Beats some bureaucrat legislating conservation using phoney life cycle analysis.

    November 12, 2007 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Johnny, Miami, Fl

    She seems to be reading from the podium to answer this planted question.

    November 12, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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