November 10th, 2007
03:48 PM ET
15 years ago

Democratic rivals respond to Clinton's planted question

Edwards said staging questions in an audience is "what George Bush does.".

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Saturday that staging questions in an audience is something he doesn't do and that it's "what George Bush does."

"That's what George Bush does," the former senator from North Carolina said. "George Bush goes to events that are staged, where people are screened, where the'yre only allowed to ask questions if the questions are favorable to George Bush and set up in his favor."

On Friday, the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, issued a statement to CNN in response to an article written by a college newspaper that included the accusation that the campaign suggested a student ask a certain question.

“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 the 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.”

"That's not the way democracy works in Iowa," Edwards said in response to questions on the topic, "and it's not the way it works in New Hampshire. I mean if you actually want to be president of the United States, you go out, you face people–which I've done–in every one of the 99 counties in Iowa and answer their questions."

"We don't stage questions. We go in and answer the questions that are asked, and that's the way it's supposed to work in the caucus process."

Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, responding to the same question, simply said, "It's not a terribly wise thing to do."

Related: Watch Clinton's controversial question 

Related: Obama: We don't plant questions

Click here to see CNN's new political portal:

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Chris Dodd • Hillary Clinton • Iowa • John Edwards • Race to '08
soundoff (110 Responses)
  1. John Boy, Virginia. should be clear by now...the only people on here supporting Clinton must be wealthy elitist members of her circle or family. The last thing I want is another GOP in the house...but there's no way I'll vote for her. I truly hope Edwards or Obama can get the nom or break Independant if necessary. I think the American working class majority is clearly and completely disgusted with both party's working for the wealthy..

    November 10, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. nice guy, la.

    the demo's have now proven along with hillary, they just a bunch of planters nuts!

    November 10, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. Emmanuel, VA

    Hey guys its time to jump ship. Don't be afraid or too blind to join the Obama boat, didn't you guys get the memo? There's room enough for all Americans in the boat.

    And in the boat Democrats, Independents, and Republicans sit together for lunch and discuss our common problems as Americans and how to solve them.

    Look don't be shy, since when do you guys renege from joining the winning team when its your future and that of your kids that is at stake here?

    Row row row your boat la la la la...

    November 10, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    I would bet that this will not be posted to the ticker, because apparently CNN has decided to support Edwards.

    Is anyone surprised by the former Senator's response here? His once positive campaign has turned into a cesspool of negatives, and has assured him of defeat. If he isn't careful he may even ensure a Republican victory.

    Senator Clinton's campaign was foolish to enage in "FEMA'esque" tactics. However, John Edwards is an idiot if he thinks Hillary knew about it.

    She is much smarter than that, and MUCH smarter than John Edwards.

    November 10, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Julie, Atlanta, GA

    Planting an audience member? How very "BUSH-like". UGH.

    Can you even imagine the HORROR of President Giuliani?

    WAKE UP, America. Do you really think this country can take another term with the Clintons in office?

    Hillary CANNOT win. Support John Edwards!!! He CAN and he WILL win!!!

    November 10, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Jerry / Colfax, Ca.

    Hard hitting article, CNN. Way to hold Demo feet to the fire. A more precise byline would have been "Edwards Cites Bush as Originator of Planted Questions: Congress to Investigate"

    November 10, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Mike Nakagita, Green Bay, Wisconsin

    So what's the difference between this and the FEMA issue. Come on all you Democrats, time to post all those comments again!

    November 10, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. S Schmidt Lynnwood, WA

    Is John Edwards really an idiot? Or does he just make statements that make him sound that way. I think so.

    November 10, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  9. pbj, San Ramon, CA

    It's crash and burn time. There was another incident after the licenses for illegals debate debacle that sure looked like a planted questioner with a big, fat softball question designed to rehabilitate her on that issue and now this. She's just as duplicitous as her husband. At least the process is working - we are getting a very clear picture of who she is and what kind of president she would be.

    November 10, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Brad, Ashburn, VA

    Clinton should drop out of the race because of her attempts to manipulate the American people. This is the latest in a long list of lies and techniques to squeeze her way into the White House. America doesn't need another Clinton, especially Hillary.

    November 10, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. Mitty, Miami Gardens, Florida

    I am so dissapointed in Hillary. She is falling from grace. I am wondering will the questions in the Democratic debate on Thursday night, November 15th be planted by her campaign. I would never vote for her. She is a fake leader.

    November 10, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  12. Len, Portland, Oregon

    This is slick Hilly! For the war, but really against the war. For illegal alien driver licenses, then against it. For diplomacy with Iran, then calls them terrorists before even negotiating. Yup....Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush, we just need that other Clinton don't we to have almost 3 decades of just Bush and Clinton in the White House. Please Hillary, just go away! May we Democrats have a breath of fresh air.

    November 10, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  13. Bill, Round Rock, TX

    Is your spell checker broken: "aksed"?
    Not professional. Not politically correct. I see enough grammar and spelling errors on CNN pages to make an English teacher squirm. Can't afford a proof reader?

    November 10, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  14. DR

    There are so many republicans on this blog. I suspect that most of the "obama supporters" are republicans in disguise. I'm not sure why this article is an issue. It shows that republicans are grasping at straws. I want Clinton to win because it would enrage conservatives. Personally, I believe that republicans want Obama to be the candidate–so they can cruise to victory.

    November 10, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  15. Chris, Middletown, CT

    The sad thing is....if she wins the primary – all the Dems who criticize her here and she what a double talking manipulator she really is...will fall in line right behind....( you don't see it too...)

    November 10, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Davey Jones

    UM, did everyone forget that we don't elect the next president? The electoral colleges do, right?

    November 10, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |


    November 10, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  18. Ken, TX

    "Clinton supporters, just answer 1 for me. What is it about her that you like? I mean, she voted for the Iraq war, voted for the Patriot act, she takes money from lobbyists, and clearly isn't honest. What is it that she does that makes you overlook these facts? I really don't understand it. She's the one democrat I could never see myself voting for, and I'm wondering what other people see in her that I don't.
    Posted By Nick, Eden Praire MN

    Lets put it this way. I don't like the idea of having another Republican President. Period.

    Among Democrats, Biden and Richardson are reasonable people, but unelectable as presidents. Edwards is a joke, just look at his stupid comments. Obama? he has to grow up and bring to the table more than hope and principles. Who is left? I trust that Hillary Clinton understands the issues and is tough enough to address them. She is not perfect, but I don't see a better one.

    And all this joke about planted questions.. my understanding is that it was a content question regarding environment, so lets be serious, her staff just wanted to make sure the issue it will be addressed. And in general, when the doubts regarding a candidate are based on a waitress giving interviews about not getting a tip, or a college student telling reporters she was planted to ask a question (she could refuse if she had sop much integrity), I am really wondering why is this important and to whom?

    November 10, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  19. Dazed and Confused in DC

    Far be it for me to intrude upon this feeding frenzy, but it would seem that there's a world of difference between "staging an event" and suggesting to one person a topic on which they should ask a question. If this college student found this at all inappropriate at the time, or if she preferred to ask some other question, why did she play along? There's no suggestion of any prior affiliation between her and the Clinton campaign and certainly no evidence of any effort by the Clinton campaign to keep its communication with her secret. I know it fits the current main stream media's let's-tighten-this-race narrative, but does any right thinking person really see anything newsworthy here? And as for Phony John Edwards' righteous indignation, it would be somewhat easier to stomach if he were about twenty-points closer in the race. Puhleeze.

    November 10, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  20. Ron Nebraska

    Really folks haven't we had enough of this manipulative crap the last 6 years? Hillary is really no better than Bush, maybe a little more intelligent ( and who isn't) but still just a cold hearted politicain at her core. Why not vote for someone like Obama who shows more character and ethics and actually loves this country enough to want to do the right thing for ALL Americans?

    November 10, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  21. Mark Columbus, Ohio

    You know Hillary's campaign has plants all over the freakin place. Talking about low. She just took a page out of her husband's playbook.

    November 10, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  22. Maria, Houston

    Chris from CT:

    "The sad thing is, if she is nominated, all the Dems that criticise her now....will fall in line..." hell we will...from what I hear on the street and read on blogs, many Dems are so sick of Clintons that they will never EVER vote for Hillary.

    I vote my conscience, not the party. Clinton addicts, DNC, MSM and those who are beting on "the innevitable winner" need to take responsibility for their choice and face their stupidity. Don't calculate that we will help you out to choose "lesser of two evils".

    I held my nose and voted for Bill Clinton twice, I'm done with paying my dues. Guilt trips won't work on me... If the result is another four years of Republicans,blame yourselves, Clinton cult. Just like voting for the war – some people need to realise that bad decisions have consequences.
    I vote for Obama and no one else.

    November 10, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  23. Borasi New York NY

    Common Edwards, get off the 99 counties thing. You sound and act like a Pre Schooler.

    November 10, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  24. Borasi New York NY

    Hey Iowans plant corn. Hillary was just trying to plant questions. Good thinking Hillary. Hey Iowans are good Geographians, Edwards just try to be geographic by charting all counties.

    November 10, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  25. Borais New York NY

    Politicians are known to be really fair and honest. So Mr. Edwards, what are you going to do when all the other states request that you visit all of their counties ??>>??>>??>>??

    November 10, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
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