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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Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (308 Responses)
  1. SB, Maryland

    I am proud of this Iowan who had the courage to ask this extremely important question of Mrs. Clinton. Her vote absolutely should be called into question because it demonstrates her poor judgement. Maybe three people asked the question because it is key to understanding her mindset. I question her judgement further for finding it odd that three people asked the question.

    She just doesn't get it. She does not demonstrate good presidential judgement with this vote. Just as she said that she thought GWB would use her last vote for sanctions, she is doing it again, in spite of expert opinions that tell us that it opens the door for GWB to use aggression.

    In addition, her response to the Iowan demonstrates another absolutely key character trait that remains. She does not allow dissent. This trait caused her failure at healthcare reform and she obviously hasn't changed her style. She is not a different person from the one who blamed all of her failures on the vast right winged conspiracy.

    We need to wake up. Her judgement is still poor, and her ability to reconcile differing opinions is non-existent. She will be a disaster to this country if allowed anywhere near the White House.

    Finally, with regard to her plans to have Bill serve as a foreign relations representative. It is illegal for a spouse to hold a cabinet position. You can call this job anything you want, but it sounds like Secretary of State to me. He has many lovely characteristics and should continue the good work he is doing via his foundation. He does not need to be first husband to have a positive influence on the world.

    October 8, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |

    Though I am leaning for the nomination of Hillary R Clinton I do think she made an egregious error in voting for this label to be applied to the Iranian military. I do agree that she should have learned from her Iraq vote. It was pure naivete' for her to give Bush this victory. Bush being the pathological moron that he is will see this as carte blanche consent to wage war with Iran.

    October 8, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  3. Lioness, Washington DC

    Hillary will self-destruct. The only question is when – before the nomination or before the general election?

    And, CNN, a voter has the right to ask hard questions. If only more people did. Interestingly, though, we don't hear reports of Richardson or Obama being rude or making false accusations.

    A true leader knows how to handle tense situations.

    October 8, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. sonya, atlanta, ga

    This story has been all over the net this weekend. It takes CNN this long to post it on it's ticker and then tries to impunge the questioner. What didn't CNN quote the guys thought. He said, he was offended by Clinton's rudeness and trying to brush him off as a plant and not answering the question. HRC kept referring to previous language in the ammendment, not what was actually voted on. Why would some one give Bush a second chance at starting a war. HRC isn't qualified to be President.

    October 8, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Tim, Cleveland Ohio

    United we Stand... Divided we FALL!!!

    October 8, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Michael, NYC

    OK, let's say that the guy was a plant (which I don't think he was – I think he's just taking his perceived role as a "first in the nation" citizen seriously), that doesn't give Sen. Clinton a free pass to not answer. It wasn't like she was asked something offensive or crude. It was a serious question, regardless of the mouthpiece. That is her problem, she can't handle tough questions, and can't stand to be "attacked." I just wish she could be attacked directly by the other candidates without there being cries of sexism, which, I fear, is likely to occur.

    October 8, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Matt, Pa

    Come on people...

    1. Do you really think Iran is not doing everything they can to disrupt things in Iraq.

    2. Do you really think that if Bush/Cheney wanted to attack Iran they would wait for congress' support?

    3. I don't want war with Iran but classifying them this way may make them think twice about what they are doing.

    I cannot wait until it's Madam President.

    October 8, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. Jesus, NY, NY

    Clinton is just like the rest. Please understand you are being lied to and you need to fight back. Thanks.

    October 8, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Michele Louisville Kentucky

    Point proven. Go Obama! It is time for a change.

    October 8, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  10. Cable King Pittsburgh PA

    Who cares if the guy was a plant? A presidential candidate should be able to answer ALL questions.

    October 8, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. VanReuter NY NY

    Don't listen to these people, most of whom have based their opinions on their biases and haven't even heard the actual exchange.


    Judge for yourself.


    October 8, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. Nathan, Tennessee

    Way to go Hillary! Put them in their place!! You have my vote Mrs. Clinton.

    October 8, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. Lioness, Washington DC

    Common Sense,

    You chose your name well – you are so right!

    If only more people realized that Obama is one of those candidates who only come once in a generation. An extraordinary and quite brilliant human being.

    October 8, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  14. VanReuter NY NY

    Don't listen to these people, most of whom have based their opinions on their biases and haven't even heard the actual exchange.

    Judge for yourself.

    Posted By VanReuter NY NY : October 8, 2007 5:20 pm

    October 8, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Marysz Terpak

    Her screeching voice irritates, her arrogance nauseates me, her phoniness disturbs me, but I think former Clinton supporter and Hollywood media mogul David Geffen said it bes –"Everybody in politics lies, but they [the Clintons] do it with such ease, it's troubling."

    October 8, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. lee, Scottsdale, AZ.

    Hillary always deflects questions she cannot answer as a "conspiracy." She did it when Bill and Monica were eposed, and several times after that. She gets hyper. One can tell by her laugh. No surprises in Iowa.

    October 8, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  17. Pat - Houston, Texas

    Whining....I can't stand whining. If she doesn't want to have to deal with tough questions, she shouldn't be running. It is quite possible that the electorate is an intelligent group of folks who are genuinely interested in keeping their candidates accountable through frank and candid discussion. If she's going to put this kind of format out there, then she needs to be prepared for it and not belittle those who attend by suggesting that they aren't smart enough to come up with intelligent, meaningful questions. I hope voters are paying attention to this. If she's paranoid now, what do you think will happen if she gets in the White House?

    October 8, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Kevin, Atlanta Georgia

    Obama? No, he's too junior (not enough experience). I think I'll be crossing over from Dem this time. Turning into a FRED HEAD!

    October 8, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. chris s

    If you read Seymour Hersch's latest article in the Oct. edition of the New Yorker, you might also be convinced that there is indeed a grand conspiracy to attack Iran with the help of Israel, the UK and Turkey as a greater part of Americas War Map. I would not be one bit surprised if Bush's delay in bringing troops home from Iraq was out of a desire to keep them in place for the next phase of the operation. I agree that Hillary's original vote and general hawkishness is not to be trusted.

    October 8, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  20. Mimi

    I tell you what, I'll take Clinton years again!!!! Tell me what was so bad then???? mmmm interest rates, nope all time lows, war.... nope. inflation.... nope. Can we say those things about either Bush– NOPE!! And I see its mostly men saying stupid stuff. She is smart and anyone who thinks that politics isn't about giving the right vague answer is just kidding themselves. You just need to pick the politician who does it best.... that way idiots in other countries won't understand whats going on either!

    October 8, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. Jim-Cleveland, OH

    Hillary is the only one with the guts that tell it like it is. Like it or not she is going to be the next President!!

    October 8, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Bryan, Cherokee, Iowa

    WOW what a surprise, JB from Hull,Ia. in the deepest shade of red Sioux County Ia. doesn't support Hillary, what a surprise. Also the guy was right it is NEW Hampton, not NORTH. GO Hillary GO. By the way I'm in Cherokee Co. Iowa, our nw corner touches Sioux County's se corner so I know just how republican it is in Sioux. Yes Cherokee usually is red too but not nearly as deep of red.

    October 8, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Carl Spackler - IL

    Hillary wants to create legislation to prevent the President from using force against Iran. Okay – what happens if Iran were to launch missles against US Warships, or shoots down a US Airliner? Does her bill prohibit the President from going after Iran?

    To Paul – You are so sure that this guy is a plant, don't you think that each candidate also puts plants in the audience as well? I am sure each candidate has people in the audience to throw them softballs.

    Someone does not have to be from that particular town to attend the Town Hall.

    October 8, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Cindy , Onalaska, WI

    It is a fact of political life that every audience will have someone who wishes to make trouble for the candidate. I'm impressed that she had the gumption to stand up to this person and the personal strength to apologize immediately when she was wrong.

    October 8, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  25. John NC

    Folks, do we want someone who acts like that as President? That was Hillary dead out.

    October 8, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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