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. nancy florida

    If Hillary gets elected, we should call the Administration:

    The BILLARY admoinistration!


    November 10, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Al Marietta, GA

    Didn't someone at FEMA get fired for planting fake questions at a news conference??

    November 10, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  3. Dave Moffett, Orlando Florida

    Hopefully this will show more people that this is definitely not the person for the White House. She can't even keep her Campaign in order so how can she keep the country in order! Didn't see this on the CNN home page. Hmmmm. Why not?

    November 10, 2007 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Kim, Greeneville, Tn

    pretty dirt and devious, isn't it?

    November 10, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  5. CK, Arlington, VA

    "I'm getting sick of this smear campaign against Hillary. It's no wonder she has to hire reporters, it's the only way she'll get a fair and honest question. People tend to forget that sometimes you need to bend the rules to get elected, and if you don't believe that, you're ignorant."

    You got to be kidding. She half (probably much more than half) of the infamous smear machine. It's good she gets a taste of her own medicine. I hope it sticks!

    November 10, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  6. Kelly C

    Where is Hillary? Why has she not spoken about this? Once again this strong, brilliant woman is suddenly completely silent. Her handlers claim she was unaware of anyone being told what to ask, we are supposed to believe out of hundreds of people she just happen to pick the very person to whom the canned question had been given? The first thing to to when you get caught lying is to stop lying. Hillary has made it standard practice to control the environment (like only doing interviews where she knows she will get softball questions I.e. Good Morning America, CNN et al.) in which she speaks. When she is forced to answer questions without a script, she comes apart like a cheap suit. Problem is, she can't really tell us what she would like to do to this country, if she did, she would never be elected. She is a socialist, plain and simple. She is also strikingly dishonest and comes across as having no core beliefs, she moves according to the political winds. The left, in their hearts, know she may be the democratic darling, but she can't win in the general election. The Clinton's are simply not trustworthy.

    November 10, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  7. Hiding in the hills

    You think things are bad now, wait until she is nominated as the democratic nominee. Then the questions will get tougher, the attacks on her character will increase, and I think we may very well have a psychological meltdown. Hopefully it it will happen in public so the whole world can see who the lady really is.

    November 10, 2007 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  8. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    I believe the story: the Clintion campaign planted questions. Her campain is a group of gangseters who commit hiding, shunning, spinnig, plotting, planting, and murdering, not on the street, but on the political avenue. This is the Clinton machine.

    November 10, 2007 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  9. Keith, Iowa

    The audacity of these people. Haven't we seen enough of this type of behavior in the past 7 years? Do we need more of it?

    November 10, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  10. WD, Asheville, NC

    It all depends on what the definition of a question is....or maybe if she would learn to answer real questions she could simply answer with: "I can't recall", "I don't remember" oh my bad she already uses those.

    November 10, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  11. Rosie O'fat

    come on cnn,you can do something to help her more about your america hating neo-nazi loving islamo-facists you so strongly support.That'll convince us all you are a real newsworthy org.

    November 10, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  12. M Stafford, Tucson, AZ

    Having everything in her campaign so scripted, combined with paranoid tendencies (up to the time the blue dress was found it was all the "... vast right wing conspiracy" out to get her man) spells danger. And, let's not forget the planted story that Monica was a stalker - do we believe it was Bill or Hillary who so cleverly planted this nasty rumor against a lowly page? Let's remember the last time we elected a paranoid to the White House (hint: initials were R.M.N.).

    November 10, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. EC from DC

    Taking a cue from the Bushies. Remember the 2004 campaign when GWB would get not so much questions, but expressions of gratitude and undying loyalty from some members of his audience?

    Audience member: "I just want to know, Mr. President–is it even possible for you to be a greater leader? Have you not reached the apex of excellence? Thank you for being our President"
    (sits down to fervent cheers)

    November 10, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Karen, NYC

    Plants, hidden records, fuzzy answers, unsure agenda, offering NY licenses to illegal immigrants, playing the gender card.... all of this adds up to say NO to Billary!

    November 10, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. R.T. Macleod, Rochester Hills, MI

    Why would anyone be surprised at devious manipulation by either of the Clintons? Their entire lives have been dedicated to deception. From the orchestration of an open forum town hall meeting in Iowa, to the secrecy of her White House records, there are glaring reasons for not trusting anything she says...

    November 10, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  16. Barry, Calhoun, Georgia 30701

    What is the big deal? This is a common practice by all political candidates, especially at so called "townhall" type meetings wherev the public is invited for Q & A.
    It is a part of strategy.

    November 10, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. PollM, Dallas Tx

    Has Hillary sealed her fate, it seems to me that people are forgiving. My concern how can smart people make stupid decisions. After all you hope when they get in they don't make stupid decisions.

    Based on what has happened to Hillary lately what does the outlook look like?

    November 10, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  18. Mike, Houston, TX


    November 10, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Susan

    Huckabee for president.

    November 10, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. Josh Chelsea, MI

    She's already looking like dubya. I'm a dem and really hope she doesn't win the nomination.

    November 10, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  21. andrew s. rostolder

    hillary, tsk, tsk,tsk.........bad and wrong. liar, liar, pants on fire. andy

    November 10, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. Tex Mex, NYC, NY

    The Clintons once again display here a fundamental character flaw. America deserves better than a family of cheaters and liars as first family.

    Cleaning Bush's mess will take a long time. So, democrats would be well advised to vote for a leader of character who would rally the country and the congress for the next eight years.

    Vote for Hilary in 2008 and you are absolutely guarantee to see the republican party regain the majority in congress.

    Vote for real change and sustainable leadership with character. Vote Obama!

    November 10, 2007 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  23. Paul Thompson

    Go Huck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 10, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  24. Michigan Marlin Belding, Michigan

    Are your minds that small that you can't remember George W Bush doing the same exact thing. Infact the Bush Camp escorted people out of their Rallys during the 2004 race.

    November 10, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. andrew s. rostolder hillsdale nj. 07642

    hillary, tsk,tsk,tsk........liar, liar pants on fire....andy

    November 10, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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