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. Lee, SF, CA

    Hillary did right with that questioner, and looks presidential to me.

    Hillary is more and more inevitable to win the nomination and the election!

    George Bush already thinks that she will win the Democratic nomination. The Republican candidates, particularly Rudy Giuliani, are positioning themselves as “Hillary-slayers”. And Hillary's Democratic rivals are paying her the ultimate compliment of concentrating their fire on her rather than on each other. More reasons:

    First, Hillary is not like Howard Dean of 2004, who was favored first and then lost. The situation today is very different from 2004, when Iowa's unfortunate Democrats were confronted by a left-wing insurgent, the unattractive Howard Dean, and a rabble of second-division candidates.

    Second, people put far too much unnecessary emphasis on Iowa. Hillary's narrower margin lead in Iowa is swamped by her strength elsewhere. She is ahead in national opinion polls by about 20 points, a lead she has sustained for months. She is also ahead in New Hampshire and South Carolina, where her nearest rival, Obama, has been losing traction since late summer. Hillary is currently crushing Obama in the political futures markets by as much as 55 points. These poll numbers are built on rock. Hillary is formidably disciplined and knowledgeable. And she has the best political machine in the business—built up over decades and honed by relentless battle with the “vast right-wing conspiracy”. The machine boasts most of the Democratic establishment's mainstream thinkers.

    Third, the dem voters want Hillary and Bill back to white house. Most Democrats associate the Clinton years with peace and prosperity rather than stained dresses and disappearing furniture. Bill Clinton left office with a job-approval rating of 66%. Three-quarters of Democrats, and 53% of voters in general, would like him to play an active role in a future Clinton administration. Nearly nine in ten Democratic voters (88%) express a positive view of Hillary's candidacy; 38% express a very positive view.
    Democrats are right to be nervous about polarisation: polls show Giuliani is close behind Hillary in a head-to-head race. But Mr Bush has proved that polarisation is far from fatal, provided you can combine it with a ruthlessly disciplined campaign. Hillary does not have to paint America blue; she only has to win one more state than John Kerry. And Giuliani seems less impressive in person than he does in the polls. His speeches are poorly prepared and convoluted, and he is given to silly gimmicks, such as stopping in mid-speech to the NRA to take calls from his wife on his cell-phone.

    Moreover, Hillary 2007 is not Hillary 1993. She has shown an impressive ability to learn from her mistakes. She has also moved sharply to the centre: witness her success in winning rural votes in upstate New York in 2006, and her ability to work with former Republican tormentors in the Senate.

    Hillary 08.

    October 8, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. Adam Shelburne, MA

    I don't like Hilary but she is right. What we ought to be concerned with is the law that requires that label for economic sanctions... another legacy of the Bush administration. Hats off to the questioner but Hilary was and is right, at least on this issue.

    October 8, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. D. South Bend, IN

    October 8, 2007

    Dear American Politicians

    Remember... It's the economy stupid!You do not deserve the American Vote! This is the 1st year in 30 that I will not vote and against the Democratic Party!!! I will also advise every one that I know & meet to do the same!!! Yes, this will favor the Republicans who are the flip side of the American Coin!!! Looks like Ralph Nader & Pat Buchannan in Florida or the Crooked Election Machines in Florida and Ohio all over again...

    The immigration problem is the dragon you ignore and other 2- side of the American coin that you all seem to be ignoring. Guess its true that the wealth of some families in America, China, India & Mexico have reached the level to buy a US Congressman, Senator or White House Lobbyist... How much does that cost these days?

    Where is the Mexican Government in their attempt to address the drugs, rape, murder, robbery coming over the Mexican Border to the tune of some 4,000 Mexicans a day? Where is the Mexican Government who is sending 1 Felony / Criminal in 12 crossing the Border every Month?

    Where is the Mexican Government in dumping their prison cells on the Mexican / American border every year? Didn’t Castro do this in the Cuban / Florida Prison Dump? Have we learned nothing?

    That's what I thought... No answer, huh? I can only hope America will wake up 1 day and change the Anchor Baby Rule with Los Angeles Executive Order 40 and not vote OUT the clowns who have been purchased by the wealthy families in Mexico, China, Saudi Arabia, India & The United States of America one day.

    ANE WHEN WE DO... Our voice will be heard louder than the Illegal Drug Crooks and their American Flunky Clowns who have sold America down the river for a devalued American Dollar...

    October 8, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. Aidyn, NY

    Good for you Hillary!

    October 8, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Joel Feldman, Los Angeles, CA

    Well Done Hillary.

    Don't let my fellow Americans comments deter you in the slightest.

    There are some that are threatened by a woman who can be aggressive, assertive and centrist.

    With a nation as polarized as ours, only a centrist will be able to win it.

    Everyone, just relax. This woman is brilliant.

    October 8, 2007 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. Mike, Milwaukee, WI

    I disagree with Senator Clinton on her views on the approach we should take with Iran. I always have.

    October 8, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. Blayze Kohime, Columbus OH

    It would be easier to see the democrats as 'good guys' if they weren't so spineless passing everything Bush wants them to. At this rate I am thinking I will not bother voting in the election at all because there will not be anyone at all who is worth voting for.

    October 8, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Daniel, NY

    Obama also attacked Clinton today for voting for that bill making the Iran Guard a terrorist group. Naturally, reports that Obama himself had co-sponsored a similar bill last April did not help his credibility

    October 8, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    Obama would have answered that question. If Hillary’s recent Senate vote calling on President Bush to formally call the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Is not a vote she is proud of, she should not have voted for it. It is a repeat of her vote for authorizing the president to go to war with Iraq. She hates answering questions and blames all of her failures on the vast right winged conspiracy. Remember when she blamed them for the (False) story of Bill having Sex with Monica. As President you cannot say as she did in the debate “ I’m just not going to answer that question” She treats people like she is their mother. Instead of answering attendee’s questions she schools them like her children and tell them those questions should not be asked. Hillary is a good politicain. BUT she is NOT what we need as President now. Can we PLEASE look at these Politicians qualifications this time! And NOT the BS Media Hype!

    October 8, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  10. Bob Adams, Somerville.com, MA

    verbal spat with a Iowa voter.

    verbal spat with an Iowa voter...

    Please correct.

    October 8, 2007 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  11. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    I'm not sure who I'll be voting for, but it won't be Hillary Clinton. I think 20 years of "Democratic" rule between Bush & Clinton are enough.
    Posted By Sean : October 8, 2007 5:33 pm

    Sean, you need to get your facts straight. Bush has been president for eight years. I would think everybody would know by now that he is actually a REPUBLICAN. Are you that daft that your hatred of the Democrats has clouded the facts in your little head? Bush is as much a Republican as was his redneck father, whom took a similar course of action (but at least he wasn't a compulsive liar).

    But I'll give you credit as for Clinton. If Clinton cannot respectfully answer a serious question from a potential voter, how in the heck is she gonna negotiate with the major world leaders? Declare war on them and further us down the path of destruction? No, I have never supported Clinton, and certainly won't now.

    Indeed, the only way in hell I'll vote for her is if Barack Obama is her running mate. At least he has got his head screwed on tight and his priorities in line.

    October 8, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. Jim Hass

    Well, at least she answers questions from people who have another point of view. Bush has required that only loyal Bushies have been at his campaign stops.

    What a nothing issue. One guy brings up a question. She answers it. He doesn't like the answer. So, was she rude? The poor baby.

    October 8, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  13. Amanda (Greenwich)

    Paul, Philadelphia -

    You're my hero, not because I like Hillary Clinton (which I do) but because you gave such a relevant, coherent, non-partisan answer to very partisan streams of thoughts.

    Thank you.

    October 8, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  14. KebD, Flint

    Get ready for it Hillary. More than 50% of the country are "Plants."

    October 8, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  15. Amanda (Greenwich)

    Hill, New Hampton, Iowa -

    And Thanks to you, also.

    October 8, 2007 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  16. L Bridge, Irving, TX

    I agree with Karen in NYC.. Hillary is a liar... she learned well from her husband Bill...oh yeah, a "Past President". Wake Up America! We don't need this woman in the White House! We need a REAL LEADER who can answer the "tough questions" and make the "tough decisions" to run this country and get us back on track!

    October 8, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. steven, sf, ca

    "Run out of facts? Here come the personal attacks!!!"

    How funny. She knows very well that the public has been researching, and albeit, found that she has a shady past, namely her outside political affiliations which DO affect our domestic and foreign issues. For her to suggest otherwise, which she did, earned her more doubt from the already doubtful and incriminate her more on her personal objectives. Remember that you are debating a robot when they run out of facts, cause then come the...

    October 8, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  18. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    It's NOT a tough question. Kyl-Lieberman does NOT permit any use of force in IRAN, much less give President Bush the authority to invade that country. Nor does Sen. Clinton sound "heated," "sharp," or out of control in any way in her exchange with Rolph.
    Sen. Edwards and much of the "progressive" press have been doing their best to blur the distinction between requesting that the President take action against Quds Force operatives in IRAQ and allowing him to do so in IRAN. A simple read of the resolution makes clear that such blurring is completely disingenuous. And the MSM should not report on the argument without making it clear that this is so. There is a clear answer in this "tussle,": Sen. Clinton is right, Rolph is wrong, and this is not debatable.

    October 8, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  19. Joe, Northern California

    Want more of the dynasty? Ron Paul 2008, evolve...

    October 8, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  20. N.M Las Vegas Nevada


    October 8, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  21. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Sen. Clinton DID answer the question. She said that the version of Kyl-Lieberman that came up for a vote DID NOT contain an authorization to invade Iran. Nor could it be construed to do so. A simple read of the resolution will confirm that this answer was 100% accurate. I wonder how many people who are accusing Sen. Clinton of "dodging," "evading," "lying" to Rolph have actually read the resolution. If you have, please point to the clause(s) that authorizes an invasion of Iran.

    October 8, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  22. matt, philly, pa

    Well, Paul from Philly, if she's your idea of "competant" I shalln't be surprised. You claim you worked on "Capital" Hill, huh? At least we now have an idea as to who's being elected to public office.

    October 8, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  23. Rather Not

    Where is the copy editor here? Who is Rolph? Is that a first name or last name. Annoying. Do better.

    October 8, 2007 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  24. Frank Virginia Beach VA

    What the hell is Bill Clinton doing participating in this campaign? Are you people stupid or just brain dead? No-one is complaining that Wild Bill is taking over this campaign? What's wrong with you Democrats? Brainwashing! It must be brainwashing. No intelligent person would stand for that.

    October 8, 2007 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  25. ike, ocean beach, ca

    what a jerk.

    October 8, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
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