November 10th, 2007
11:07 AM ET
15 years ago

Questions planted by Clinton campaign

Sen. Hillary Clinton discusses her energy plan in Newton, Iowa on Tuesday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign admitted late Friday that a staffer spoke to potential questioners at a recent event, but denied that the New York Democrat had any knowledge about what she would be asked by the audience.

Grinnell College’s “Scarlet and Black” newspaper reported a student’s account of being pulled aside before a campaign stop in Newton, Iowa and asked to pose a specific question.

“They were canned,” Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff claimed in an interview with the newspaper. “One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask].”

Gallo-Chasanoff said she was told that the campaign wanted the question, about what Clinton would do for the environment, to be asked by a college student. She said Clinton was prompted to call on her as well as another student seen in conversation with staffers prior to the event.

The Clinton campaign did not dispute talking to the student, but dismissed suggestions the senator was following a script that would ensure she only received friendly questions.

“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 a 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.”

Several of Clinton's rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination contacted news organizations, including CNN, to bring attention to the college newspaper's story.

Related: Watch Clinton's controversial question

Related: Obama: We don't plant questions

Related: Democratic rivals respond to Clinton's planted question

Click here to see CNN's new political portal:

- CNN's Mark Norman in Atlanta and Chris Welch in Iowa.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Hey maaaaaaaan, I bet CARL ROVE planted those questions, man.

    Yeah, man, it was Bush and Cheney and Rove and (sound of a lighter and "bong bubbles")... and... and, Rumsfeld, maaaaaan. (sound of long exhale) Yeah, THOSE DUDES planted the questions, not any of Hillary's campaign, maaaaaan...

    November 12, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  2. Tim Toporek Warren, IN

    I'm not as surprised to hear about planting a question as much as I am about her denial of the practice afterwards. The Presidency is about integrity and personal responsibility; two things Senator Clinton failed to demonstrate in her handling of the situation.

    November 14, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Richard Baca

    Question: Can President Clinton be appointed Secretary of State?
    Can he be appointed to any cabinet position?

    January 26, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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