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. Steve Savage, Tulsa, OK

    You think by now that the Democrats would understand that the voting public don't want war with iraq, and really don't want war with iran.
    Hillary isn't going to get votes by being hawkish on iran, I wonder who the heck is advising her on this.

    October 9, 2007 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  2. Steve Windermere, Florida

    I hope someone in the media is doing there job here. They should be running down those other three times she was asked the question. I believe it is likely a lie on her part, but no one holds her feet to the fire. She can say anything wether an opinion, truth, or lie. However, if someone has a different opinion or thought, they are a "plant" or radical evangelical.

    October 9, 2007 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  3. Steve, Indy, IN

    So did she close it out with a light-hearted cackle? It's obvious that she thinks she's above these people who she's asking to vote for her. Why would anyone support her, except that they've bought the MSM's claim of inevitability?

    October 9, 2007 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  4. Tom, Rockport Maine

    If you listen to the exchange, you'll find that Hillary is really not abrasive or even tremendoudly ruffled– but is firm and tenacious. If this had been McCain or Guiliani setting sombody straight, people would be applauding. Frankly, I'd rather have a president who doesn't just roll over when continually hammered with an aggressive question.

    When we go to the negotiating table with Iran, N. Korea, Russia, china, whoever– I want Hillary there, with as much "attitude" as she can muster, to drive the a bargain for America.

    October 9, 2007 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  5. AnaHadWolves, Philadelphia, PA, USA

    The Repooplican slime machine knows nothing of courtesy or class. Of course they send in "plants" with loaded questions hoping for a video sound-bite that they can then use in their ads. They're looking for a "gotcha! moment. Does anyone think it is pure chance that sequential "questioners" of Senator Clinton seem to ask the exact same question(s) that are phrased virtually identically? Hah!

    October 9, 2007 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  6. Gary B, Winston Salem, NC

    Perhaps Senator Clinton has been asked the question 3 times prior because she has never provided an adequate answer.

    October 9, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  7. William Zeitler

    I have exactly the same concerns as the person asking Sen Clinton this question, but I'm not a "plant". Its beginning to look like if you don't limit yourself to the questions Sen. Clinton finds politically convenient to answer, she'll launch an attack on you. Cheap shot.

    October 9, 2007 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  8. Carrol Ann, Newport, Maine

    ...So lets measure and weigh how "sparring with a questioner" stacks up against the "crimes" against humanity and the US people that Bush and his administration have committed!

    I can see around me far more heinous crimes, many that reach the level of impeachment at least, than "sparring with a questioner."

    Of course Ann Coulter and the extreme right can behave as reprihensibly as they chose. When the Dem's start firing back its some other ball game with a whole different set of rules!

    CNN...two factions in Iraq have just signed a peace treaty...I have yet to find anything about that in your reporting. For those of us who possess intelect and reasoning, please report on the more important issues of the day. You have two posts about this issue with Hillary and the questioner. That is not, in my opinion the most noteworthy news of the day. If you don't smarten up (intellectually speaking) I'll get my news elsewhere.

    October 9, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  9. Cindy Lucas, Athens, GA

    Yes. This person may have been "planted"; however, none of the other candidates who were subject to his questions erupted in such an immature way as Hillary. You are NOT presidential material. You are an embarrassment to us all. I can't find the strength to vote for you. I am NOT voting for you.

    October 9, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  10. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    Hillary is as arrogant as Bush, but she might be just a bit smarter. One way or another, she's VERY "establishment" and very dangerous - to our Republic. She's the socialist candidate. She thinks she knows what's best for you because she thinks she knows everything.

    October 9, 2007 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  11. Bush Yaweh, TX

    The claws come out!

    October 9, 2007 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  12. Robert, West Virginia

    Since the campaign season started out so early with a millino debates, they are all tried...exhaustion sets in, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear some strange things fro Giuliani, Romney or Obama....campaigning takes a toll.

    October 9, 2007 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  13. Chris, Washington DC

    Every Right Wing, Left Wing, and middle of the road person needs to read the brief article called "Middle East Imperative" – By: Jimmy L. Cash, Brig. Gen. USAF Ret.

    It will take you 5 minutes. Read that article, then sit and think about who you are going to support. All, the left wants to do is do everything against what Bush has done. They are not thinking of ways to change the future. However, Bush is a complete knucklehead who has made alot of mistakes.

    You can see I am not affiliated with any party. Just read that article, Im dead serious.

    October 9, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  14. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    No, Ray of Pensacola. I never voted for that *evil* clown.

    October 9, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Hillary's been asked the same damn question because it's such an obvious one. The fact that she doesn't GET why this vote was wrong, is exactly WHY she won't be a good president. She's totally out of touch with her own perception with the American people. She's isolated, she lives in an ivory tower, and she is arrogant.

    Sound familiar? She really is George Bush light.

    October 9, 2007 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  16. Mar R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    Of course he was a plant! Peole who are belligerent aren't there with an open mind supporting the candidate, they are there trying to knock the candidate down. She handled herself very well. These attacks are pathetic and desperate. Hillary has my vote.

    October 9, 2007 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  17. Thomas, St. Petersburg, FL

    This verbal tussle demonstrates that Hillary does NOT want to answer difficult questions. This is why she refuses to go on the top rated cable news program, "The O'Reilly Factor".

    Senator Kerry made that mistake during the 2004 presidential election (he has since admitted that avoiding O'Reilly in 2004 was a huge mistake).

    I will not even consider voting for a politician who refuses to answer questions on issues that affect the life of my family and me.

    October 9, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  18. Wendy, North Carolina

    RE THIS POST: THANK GOD I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS PICKED UP ON THIS! It is funny how Mrs. Clinton can say "We need to change the direction of this country" Well The only way you can have change is to MAKE A CHANGE...If they have the name BUSH or CLINTON, They will NOT get my vote. 28 years is enough of 2 Families controling this country. She and her husband need to retire, along with the Bush's.


    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?

    Posted By Danny, Virginia Beach, VA : October 8, 2007 4:44 pm

    October 9, 2007 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  19. Truebob, Hollywood FL

    I'm alarmed by how many psychos think President Bush needed Clinton’s approval to do anything. Also I think it is pretty self serving to criticize her for voting for something almost everyone thought at the time (especially since their opinion was anonymous). So the big complaint about her here is she doesn't let it slide that her adversaries are playing cheap games. Silly me, I thought she was running for President of the US, not the Rotary Club. I also think the issue of Iran is a serious one, and shouldn't be handled with peace signs and sit ins. I don't see anyone in this race that brings as much experience, savvy, and statesmanship. I take comfort in the fact that people take more interest in posting this junk than they ever do in voting.

    October 9, 2007 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  20. Wendy, Goldsboro, NC

    Dear TimeforaChange in Raleigh:

    You are a neighbor to me in NC...explain exactly how having Hillary as our next president will be a change? We have had 28 years of either a Bush or a Clinton Controlling the White House....so a change would be going from a Bush back to a Clinton? For every fault you can find in Bush, I can find you an equal one that did just as much damage under the Clinton years....if you want a CHANGE, then you need to get away from the "status quo"

    October 9, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  21. KD, Dallas, TX

    Ray in Pensacola,

    Not all of us that comment voted for Bush. I voted against him twice. I don't get the logic of those who vote for him and who support this kind of nonsense-he was so darn successful at creating fear to gain votes and take illegal action. An ignorant public is taking our country down the tubes.

    your comment:
    You people who comment are all the same ones who put W in office twice. The man invaded a country and let Americans die in battle so his Vice President's company could make billions of dollars. W cares NOTHING about this country. He and the Republicans are about one thing only, MONEY for themselves and there friends.

    I agree with this completely. It would do many people good to do some research into PNAC and what was going on just prior to 911. 911 gave W and Cheney an easy catalyst to invade Iraq in the hope to control middle eastern oil. Wake up America, we are not there for any other reason. Cheney made millions off of the war with his involvement with Haliburtan and their no bid contracts giving no other company any input at all. Now it appears we are being primed to invade Iran as well. The media and congress have fallen right back into the same ignorance as before. Hillary scares me just as much as Bush and company. Rudi and many of the Republican candidates are just as ignorant, or worse, money hungry and run by corporate America. We need a candidate that truly cares about American interests, not just his or her own. I support Obama wholeheartedly. I fear though, that our public is too easily influenced, cannot think for themselves and it will be the demise of our country.

    October 9, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  22. Steve, New York

    She is just like Bush. Sorry Hill, but I’m a lib to the bone and I also want to know why you voted for the Iran bill!!! In fact when I heard about it you dropped off from being my #2 choice to not being a choice at all for me in 2008, and the way you answered that guy’s question. If your not prez I can also say if you run in NY again you will not have my vote. I think it’s safe to say the base of the Dems, and Reps are getting sick of their leaders.

    October 9, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  23. Chelsea, Columbia Falls, MT

    LOL! I can't believe anyone would ever vote for her or take her seriously! What a joke!

    ~*~Mitt Romney 2008~*~

    October 9, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  24. Newton, Chicago, IL

    The point isn't whether the questioner was a plant or her arrogance – it's about her answer. She used this very rationale in explaining her previous vote for authorizing the war in Iraq. She has no experience (aside from being the First Housewife) and she's just not very smart. She is, however, underhanded, conniving, unprincipled, and untruthful. I agree completely that it's time we had a woman as President, just not this one. I've never voted for a Republican in my life, but couldn't vote for Clinton in good conscience. She's the only candidate that could lose the presidency for the Democrats.

    October 9, 2007 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  25. Ryan, Hillsdale MI

    What is the difference between Clinton and Giuliani? Only fiscal policy. Hillary Clinton will govern like a Republican if elected.

    October 9, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
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