October 9th, 2007
09:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Clinton spars with questioner over Iran

Listen to Clinton's verbal spat with a Iowa voter over the weekend.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton often holds several town-hall events a day as she campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination. But a particular gathering in northern Iowa Sunday is the subject of several media reports after the New York Democrat engaged in a verbal tussle with a questioner over Iran.

At an event in New Hampton, Iowa, a questioner took issue with Clinton's recent Senate vote calling on President Bush to formally call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. He argued that such a distinction confers the president with the ability to invade the country.

"Why should I support your candidacy . . . if it appears you haven't learned from your past mistakes?" the questioner asked, referring to Clinton's vote to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

Clinton began by telling the questioner "the premise of the question is wrong," and argued the measure calls for the terrorist label so that sanctions can be imposed. The sanctions, she also said, will in turn "send a clear message to the leadership" and lead to stronger diplomatic efforts.

The Democratic presidential front-runner then concluded by suggesting the question was planted, saying, "somebody obviously sent it to you."

Rolph denied anyone had put him to the question.

"I take exception," Rolph fired back. "This is my own research. Nobody sent it to me, I am offended that you would suggest that."

"Let me finish," Clinton sharply responded, before saying "I apologize, I just have been asked the very same question in three other places."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. James (the real one), Phoenix AZ

    LOL.... She is a joke! If you ask her a hard question she suggests "you're a plant" from ... the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy??

    Bravo to this questioner. At least SOME in the Democratic Party aren't letting Hillary get a free pass!

    October 8, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Mark, Rochester, NY

    Maybe she had been asked the question in 3 other places because a lot of people are thinking the same thing. I know when I saw the number of democrats that voted for that crap bill, I myself was wondering if they were being naive in passing said legislation.

    October 8, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Richard Tabuteau, Atlanta, GA

    The use of two words have led to the defeat of Democrats for the presidency the last two times and possibly for a third. In 2000, it was "compassionate conservatism." In 2004, it was "nine eleven." And in 2008, it will be "Hillary Clinton."

    October 8, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. lavelle Rochester,ny

    lol Thats what you call experience at its finest! HillBill hates to answer the tough questions about how she is "BushChenney" I love it!

    October 8, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Why is she so surprised? The reason she is asking the question is that people can't believe that Hillary is so stupid as to give George Bush a rationale for attacking Iran.

    No wonder she won't apologize for voting for the Iraq War Authorization. It's par for the course.

    Of course, anyone that calls her on it is "obviously" sent by someone. Sheesh.

    October 8, 2007 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. Kim, Sacramento, CA

    This is exchange is a great example of the arrogance that is Hillary Clinton. I have sure lost a lot of respect for her as I have watched this campaign. She does not talk with people or even to people – she talks down to them. The exchange here, the exchange she had with Tim Russert at the last debate when she insisted that she knew the question in the middle of him asking this. Do we really want a President with this kind of attitude? This attitude suggests to me that she will not listen to the people when she gets elected – she will go on with her own agenda and the only difference between her and our current President will be that there is an "R" behind GW's name and there will be a "D" behind hers.

    Get smart Dem's – cast your vote for the only viable candidate that can win in Nov. 08, respects people as people and will listen to the people that put him into office – Barack Obama.

    October 8, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    You and Russert, Hillary, for one hour, one-on-one, no waffling, no managing the message. You've got to ask yourself one question: Do you feel lucky? Well, do you, babe?

    October 8, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Observer

    Bush Lite.

    That's what she is. That's what we'll get if we make the same mistake thrice. Bush 1, Bush 2 and Hilary 1.

    October 8, 2007 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Hillary's policy toward Iran might be close to Rudy Guiliani's.
    The two of them seem too much alike in other ways, although the neo-cons who got us into the Iraq mess are flocking to Rudy's camp.

    October 8, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. Karen, NYC

    This woman makes me very uncomfortable. I don't think she'll have my vote. She just appears very consentingly..... crooked...

    She mastered the art of lying, dodging questions and critical issues. I think she should go into acting. There’s a shortage of overage female actresses in Hollywood….

    October 8, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. Mhm

    I love how she won't take that questioner's BS. She was right in her actions and it shows the difference between her and the other candidates who most likely would have played it off, let it slide or just not say what they think.

    October 8, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Deborah, Los Angeles, CA

    God bless the questioner for putting the tough questions to all of the candidates and, particularly, to Ms. Clinton! He was correct in pointing out her prior war authorization vote (with no apologies) and how she might blindly be setting herself and US up for the same madness as before. I am a lifelong Democrat and will not vote for anyone who believes that we (the American voters) can't have the same dire concerns nor come up with the same questions on our own.

    October 8, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. JB Hull, IA

    an ordinary citizen questions her and she flies off the handle and starts making unsubstantiated accusations... experience and leadership indeed.

    October 8, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Tabitha, Des Moines, Iowa

    From the most recent Iowa poll:

    "On the flip side, the Democrat with the greatest crossover repeal among likely Republican caucus participants is Barack Obama, who could get the support of 15 percent. Bill Richardson could get 11 percent. John Edwards, 9 percent. Hillary Clinton, just 6 percent."

    Full results can be read at:

    October 8, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. Paul, Philadelphia

    I'm sorry, are we pretending that we think that political parties DON'T plant questioners in audiences of their opponents?

    How else do you explain that there is some sick dude who wants to smoke weed at every event a Republican goes to?

    Hillary was acknowledging a VERY obvious fact – that guy, like so many others – had been planted to ask a tough question.

    I used to work on Capital Hill and in the Maryland General Assembly, and we CONSTANTLY had people planted to ask questions. Sometimes, we would say, "could you elaborate," and they would come back with something like "you heard me!" or "if you don't know the answer, I don't care to elaborate," which is roughly translated to "I memorized the question but I don't actually don't know what the hell I'm talking about."

    It is a shame people dislike Hillary so much – she is one of the two or three people in this race who is actually competant and knows what the hell she's talking about.

    October 8, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. Ron, TX

    She really hates those questions huh? She couldn't lash out at Tim Russert during the New Hampshire debate, but she just couldn't control herself this time! Wow. Maybe you keep being asked that question Hillary, because it's a question that NEEDS to be answers, and it's a question you REFUSE to answer.

    We could use a president who can't keep their temper on a leash... I'm glad CNN put this article on the ticker. I was worried they'd let it slip by. It gives people a taste of what Hillary is -really- like. She only answers what she wants to answer. You can only question what she wants you to question. Rediculous!

    October 8, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Common Sense

    In quoting the ignoramouses favorite catch phrase of the hour, "Her response was not very 'Presidential'".

    Please people, do not make this mistake.

    Go Obama!

    October 8, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  18. Hill, New Hampton, Iowa

    Number one – it was New Hampton, Iowa not North Hampton and this was not a person from that community. How do I know – I am from New Hampton, Iowa and was there.

    October 8, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Robert, Cleveland, OH

    He asked "pointed" (should we read"provocative"?) questions to Clinton, Obama and Richardson...Hm-m -m – does it smell as Mother Elizabeth Edwards friend?

    Comments about Hillary's "inability" to answer tough questions are laughable – if an idiot or a provocator asks you a dumb question and you answer to him and he keeps insisting on his point of view – you would finally tell him "I'm sorry, sir, it DOES NOT!"

    October 8, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Danny, Virginia Beach, VA

    8 years Bush as VP
    4 years Bush as President
    8 years Clinton as President
    8 years of Bush jr as President
    28 years of Bush or Clinton.

    Isn't that enough years of Clintons/Bushs guiding our country?

    October 8, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Please, anyone but Hillary (or a Republican)!She voted in favor of the Iraq war, who's to say she won't do so again with Iran? I think we've been in the deserts of the Middle East long enough. We desperately need new leadership with new aims and, above all, something to replace the oil we've become dependent on.

    October 8, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  22. bukky, Baltimore, MD

    The same questioner has a history of asking particularly pointed questions of presidential candidates. He has asked questions in a similar fashion at events for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

    Seems to me like he was PLANTED. why doesnt he question Republicans and WHAT DOES HE DO FOR A LIVING that allows him to go to all these campaign stops.

    I too disagree with labling the Iran Guards a terrorist organization. But the idea that it allows Bush free reign to go to war with Iran is stupid.

    BTW Bush can invade IRAN right now if he wanted to. It would be a military action not a war though, Like clinton and kosovo...

    October 8, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. JC, Minneapolis, MN

    The person questioning Sen. Clinton was right in doing so. Her evasive, incendiary response is validation that four years of Hillary Clinton will be much like eight years of George W. Bush.

    I would love to have a Democrat to vote for in 2008. But, if Hillary Clinton is the Deomcratic choice, I'll be reaching for another candidte.

    October 8, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Yes I have to agree...she always avoids the tough questions and does the classic defensive measures for smoke/mirrors.
    Very much the BushCheney approach.

    Whereas you ask the SAME question to someone like Barrack Obama or Ron Paul...they'll tell you straight up where they stand.

    October 8, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. VanReuter NY NY

    The guy was a plant. He blogs for a local version of KOS, and was in the NYT on Oct.5th. Google him and you'll find his extreme left writings and photo in the NYT.
    The sad, angry, and vocal fringe minority of Hillary haters will latch on to anything, no matter how trivial, to reinforce their bias and soothe their tortured souls.

    The crowd cheered Clinton.

    October 8, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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