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. Wayne, silver spring, md

    So what? There isn't anything new here. Hill has been doing it all along

    November 10, 2007 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  2. Rick, Kanas City, MO

    I can't say anyone is surprised. This only backs up earlier theories about people asking canned questions about illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses last week. She is a fraud – this does not surprise me in the least.

    If she does this to those that would vote for her, imagine what she would do to the public in general....

    November 10, 2007 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  3. Lawrence Jones Seattle, Washington

    is there really any surprise here? she has had nothing but soft ball questions her whole campaign, I guess we now know why. When she finally did get a real question she fell flat on her face! I can't wait for '08

    November 10, 2007 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  4. Pastor Ken Deemer

    Planted questions? Who would dream of such a thing.

    As the director of Shattered Men, I would love to ask her a question. It would be:

    Since your husband signed the original Violence Against Women Act into law which protects only abused women, we have found very strong unbiased evidence that there are as many abused MEN as there are women. Even the Department of Justice acknowledges 38% of the victims are men and the CDC shows women provoke the violence as often if not more so then men. If you are elected president...what would You do to protect abused men and to stop the very common false accusations of domestic abuse that we see in our court systems today?

    Pastor Ken Deemer
    Director Shattered Men

    November 10, 2007 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  5. jerry

    Clinton planting questions at her events? What is the difference her and George Bush? Democrats wake up....
    Senator Obama should be your nominee.
    Mr. Obama is a Leader and Mrs. Clinton is not

    November 10, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  6. Linda, Chandler AZ

    Goodbye, Hillary.

    November 10, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  7. John Halverson LA, California

    there is no way that the Clinton campaign would stoop so low! wink wink. I guess we all know why she is leading in the POLLS.

    November 10, 2007 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  8. Walter Henry Phoenix, Arizona

    so is she going to ever say anything other what is popular in the polls? also why the 14 year "vacation" from health care, what a joke!!!!

    November 10, 2007 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  9. Queens, NY

    How many times do i have to write this – I am not voting for Clinton for reasons like this. She voted for the war, she voted for the patriot act, and she voted for the kyle/leiberman act – Common gals – how many times does she have to fool you?

    November 10, 2007 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  10. Joey

    this is why she doesnt deserve to be the next president of the United States of America

    November 10, 2007 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  11. Ruth Bethinger, NYC

    If I remember correctly, this is not the first time this has happened. I recall her campaign planting audience members at other campaign events earlier this year. It is sad to say this about a fellow Democrat, but it appears that the only other campaign besides that of Sen. Clinton that plants audience members is that of President Bush. We have had that type of leader in our white house for long enough.

    November 10, 2007 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  12. Greg, Houston

    And what's the big deal? Bush has been doing it for seven years.

    November 10, 2007 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  13. Drew, Oceanside CA

    I think it is perfectly fair for Hillary to give audience members questions to ask. They are just students and may not know what questions to ask so her campaign helped them out. So what? It is for our good anyway, because she will be the best president.

    Hillary 08!!!!!!

    November 10, 2007 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  14. Jerry Weed, ca

    Maybe the illigal question was planted

    November 10, 2007 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  15. Ted H. California

    I guess this is what she calls "leadership". Do people really want 4 years of this? arrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!

    November 10, 2007 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  16. B.R> San Antonio, Tx

    reminds me of a press conference with "W", when all the military personnel were told not only what question to ask, but who to refer the specific question to. They were all in military attire, and pretending to be happy to be a part of a war we shouldnt be fighting, and are not making any progress in.They pretended to support a war that was putting the country in debt, and taking away resources from the "real" threat that still hasnt been captured.....
    You all say, "This is why I don't trust her"...Bet you trust her more than some BUBBA who didnt even get enough votes for a 2nd term- but his big BUBBA in Florida helped him out....Please "W" is more full of crap and less trustworthy than any candidate in any race...Hillary has the knowledge and support and most imp. experience- GO GIRL!!

    November 10, 2007 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  17. Raleigh, NC

    I'm glad Ron Paul is the ONLY honest canidate out there, GO RON PAUL.

    November 10, 2007 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  18. Steve, Portland, OR

    Let's see.., we have people in the audience who stand and say they were hit by illegals driving while Hillary is speaking about drivers licenses for New York undocumented.

    College students being told what energy plan question to ask of her on her environmental stop..

    I hate to see what she has in store for lobbiest questions on the big business stop. How about their representation and how middle should pay more taxes, after all how many favors did John Q Public do for her.

    How about middle class Americans questions about how they could improve their lives under her administration.Especially with all the new residents that are soon to be legalized.

    That's right we Americans don't want those millions of manufacturing jobs that are now becoming temporary jobs filled by illegals with no benefits. We have all those new service industry jobs created by the last administration that pay the federal minimum. Thanks in part for your husbands part in signing NAFTA to get the exodus of jobs off to a milions of jobs lost start.

    Sorry,I do truely think we need someone that can answer timely questions without excuses, setups and/or rantings by the husband.

    We really do not need more of the same and I don't see Clinton as anything more than a Democratic money machine.

    Give us back our representation in this country and maybe I'll regard you in higher esteam.

    November 10, 2007 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  19. Bethany, St. Louis MO

    Clinton, do our country a favor, go home!!!!

    I am a woman, and I am ashamed that you are running for President.

    November 10, 2007 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  20. Blair Smith Chicago, Illinois

    ugggggggggggggh! this must be the "experience" that she so often touts.
    good thing her campaign focuses on change, I wonder if she knows the definition of change.

    November 10, 2007 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  21. Max, Boston, MA

    For all the trouble that Hillary's staff is supposedly getting her into (first the "She's being attacked because she's a woman" stuff, and now this), you'd think they'd receive some form of punishment by now.

    Very FEMA-esque.

    November 10, 2007 02:15 am at 2:15 am |
  22. Portland, Maine

    Way to go HITLERY, way to go.

    November 10, 2007 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  23. Joe, LA CA

    she is a liar and should step down, she avoids the hard questions and uses planted questions to make herself look good.

    November 10, 2007 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  24. Colin742

    The other day she said that she had answered about 5,000 questions since the campaign started. I anyone stupid enough to believe that there is any question from an audience that would be unable to answer. In debates she answers question although her answers are sometimes too complex for some to understand.
    I suspect what happened is that they had a "theme" or subject they wanted to cover. So, one of the staff tried to make it happen.
    Big Deal. This is really important

    November 10, 2007 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  25. alan St Louis MO


    Her stance = all stance , IF she takes a side she flip flops the next day.

    Vote for CLinton== Vote for republicans in the long run.

    IT was a Clinton that angered the swing voters to put congress in the hands of Republicans.

    SMART DEMOCRATS that want a DEMOCRAT contolled federal government for the long run , will put any of the other canidates but Clinton in.

    IF she does make it to Preident, The republicans will use her as a lighting rod to charge the swing voters to Republicans. The election in 2010 and 2012 will put the radical right back in control of the government.

    IF Democrats made up over half the population then it wouldnt matter. But the fact is neither republican or democrats have 50% or more supporter in the country.

    1/3 of the country are swing voters. If the hard right republicans know that,and will use that to thier advantage how come the left democrats cant see that.

    Why do republicans want a clinton to run for whitehouse?????

    For the republicans its a win win sitution. One she is a divider, she will split up the swing voters which will give the republicans the best chance or hope to win the election. Or Two If she does win by a few votes they will use her as a lighting rod to get control of congress in 2010 and the whitehouse in 2012. IT IS A FACT the CLINTONS MADE the REPBLICANS as POWERFULL as they are now. Do you remember the Clinton in the whitehouse the first time. IF you do you know of the republican wave that took over the country in 1994. Why do democrats want to repeat that mistake agin?????

    Im for Biden then Obama then Edwards then I will vote republican at least I know what to expect, Clinton I dont know. I dont know what she stands for. She gives answers to take all sides. The few issues she takes a solid stand on , she flip flop that issue depending on how the weather is outside

    November 10, 2007 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
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