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. Jean Deagle, Southgate MI

    WOW! Pretty harsh comments toward Clinton over a staged question about global warming. I wonder if those same types of comments are said about the Bush Administration for warrentless wire taps, lying to the UN and the American people about Weapons of Mass Distruction in Iraq, Outsourcing of American jobs to other countries is "good for America", Leaking the name of an undercover CIA agent to the press would be fired, decreasing taxes to the weathly would put more money in all of our pockets, Global Warming doesn't exist. Hello, are any of you paying attention to who is really lying. Turn off Nascar and PAY ATTENTION.

    November 10, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. EE

    why deleting ALL my comments? simply bc i say hilary has told a lie and given the source of the lie, my comments are deleted?

    November 10, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. Colin742

    David Letterman will have to change his show. We will no longer have "Great moments in presidential speaches" when Hillary is president.

    November 10, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    God!, this is pure fraud. How is she different from G.W, who used Jeff Gannon
    that gay guy (fake reporter) to ask stupid questions during press briefings.

    November 10, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Todd U. Fort Worth, Texas

    I had to dig to find this story on CNN, I couldn't find it anyware on MSN. Fox is running as a top story, as IT SHOULD BE!

    Lord Help us if this wretch gets in office.

    November 10, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Sarah

    Now Hillary stole a page out of the FEMA playbook.

    Even the bad ideas are not her own.

    November 10, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. Scott,Tupelo,MS

    Please CNN stop putting this hags picture up. Her picture scares me everytime I have had to buy to knew laptops because her picture sscares so bad I throw my computer in the floor. She has got to be the ugliest public offical with Condi running a close second. VOTE RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT.

    November 10, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. JB Boston MA

    And now Hillary has recruited Geraldine Ferraro to play the gender card for her in the NY times

    She also claimed to not know her husband was going to use the "swift boat" analogy. BS- Hillary signs off on everything that happens, and, if she doesn't (which I highly doubt) then she is not very bright. She is way to calculated. She claims to not know because it didn't go over too well.

    Geraldine Ferraro's argument is that they should treat her differently because she is a woman in the lead. THAT IS SEXIST.

    How not to run a campaign 101.

    Sing it with me-

    Nah-Nah Nah Nah, Nah-Nah Nah Nah Hey Hey Hey Goodbye!

    November 10, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. JB Boston MA

    Hey Mason Myatt and other Hillary fans-

    This campaign IS NOT about Hillary vs Bush. The argument does not work and will not work. To say "but Bush did it" is a waste of space on this blog. Or in Mason's case "let's talk about Hillary's policies compared to Bush's"

    IRRELEVENT. Bush is not running! You are four years too late!

    November 10, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    man o man... the plot thickens...

    Is there no limit to the audacity of this couple?

    I, like most Americans, have no problem voting for a woman... just not THIS woman.

    Maggie Thatcher, where are you when a good nation needs you?

    November 10, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. pam, Eugene, OR

    Josie in San Diego,
    It would be wonderful to have a female President. I hope I live to see it. However, not this female. I do not want a win for womankind at the expense of everything that I believe in. She is NOT moral, NOT honest, NOT truthful, and NOT what this country needs. Please Josie: look beyond the fact that she is a woman and look into her character. She is devoid, devisive, and will bring us 4 years of nothing but political scandals. Hopefully over the next 12 months you will be forced to see who she really is. You can only make so many excuses for her and maintain your blind support.
    Obama or Ron Paul 08
    Anyone BUT Hillary!

    November 10, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. hillarylover NY NY

    Why does everyone believe that this is not a common accepted political tactic. It only comes off as a negative when everyone jumps on it and brings attention to it when it's not them in the media. They all need to come clean, admit they do it, and move on. The problem with Hillary is not Hillary herself. The problem is people having unreasonable expections of Hillary. She is human–she will make mistakes. She is not a prophet sent from the heavens. She is a politician–it's her job to try to appeal to all people.

    It's amazing that people want Hillary to make all these extreme stands on the issues but when it comes down to it–they won't support her at the polls. Obama and Edwards have been getting a pass this whole election campaign. Will someone please turn this high powered political microscope on someone else instead of taking a non-issue and blowing it up into a serious story.

    November 10, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. John Halverson New York

    I can't wait until Hillary is President Huma Abedin will make a gorgeous First Lady!

    November 10, 2007 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Lawrence Higby Seattle Washington

    Lets see if I understand this. Hillary uses Bush as a comparison to show how much better she is then him and how she would make a change and make the country better. Then when caught doing the same thing that Bush has done she says its okay because Bush does it? great more of the same. Can anyone let her please know the definition of change? and also please let Bubba know the Definition of "is" I know it won't be posted, that is why I post on a news worthy web page as well, by the way. Why is this story buried? doesn't CNN report the news anymore?

    November 10, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. JL


    November 10, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Ron Matuska, Crestline, CA

    I have been voting since 1966 (the year I went to Vietnam). If the system does not change for the better, 2008 will be the first time I have refused to vote out of protest. I have listed the following reasons for my change in attitude:

    1. No third party candidates or independents stand a chance of getting on the ballots in all 50 states the way the system is rigged against them by the two parties (remember Ralph Nader’s bid for the presidency?).

    2. A person who does not have the finances to run for president cannot do so without the support from major corporations who are willing to bankroll his campaign. Unfortunately, corporate CEO’s do this with the expectation that any legislation passed will be in their favor.

    3. People who are in favor of corporate profits over people’s rights are controlling the mainstream media, which has been consolidated and concentrated into fewer hands such as Rupert Murdock. The mainstream “liberal” media no longer exists, and in its place are talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, and Pat Robertson. This same media does “polls” which are supposed to reflect the sentiment of the voting public. Unfortunately, these polls have a tendency to make the voting public think that the candidate of their choice does not stand a chance, and therefore they should vote for the one the polls show to be the favorite (i.e. Hillary Clinton). Independents such as myself, will vote against her by voting for whoever is on the Republican ticket (unless there is a serious independent contender).

    4. The convention system no longer elects a candidate for the party being represented. The candidate is chosen beforehand, and the convention is nothing more than a show. I remember as a kid watching the Democratic convention in 1956 selecting Adlai Stevenson as their candidate. The states could throw their vote either way at the convention. Now it amounts to nothing more than a mutual admiration society for the candidate who has been pre-selected by those in power.

    5. In the end, the two party system is flawed into being more like mirror images of each other, both of which represent corporate America, and not the voting public at large. They have been in the pockets of the rich since day one as can be seen by the legislation passed that favors corporations over the people. It seems that in order for any legislation to be passed that is beneficial to the public, the people must march and force the issue down the throats of a congress that is supposed to represent them. Corporations in effect now have more rights than the average citizen, and in fact can even avoid paying taxes by re-locating off shore. The CEOs of Enron, Worldcom, and Tyco have conducted business as if it was an organized criminal activity instead of a legitimate enterprise. There is more “welfare” for corporations than for the people who are in desperate need of affordable medical care. Instead, congress ends up passing prescription legislation that is favorable to drug companies.

    6. As can be seen by the 2000 election in Florida, and 2004 in Ohio, the system is flawed at the voting booth. We all know that the Supreme Court decided the 2000 election in Bush’s favor. Florida was riddled with voter fraud, and the “hanging chads” issue was nothing more than a diversion from the real issue of each vote being counted. Minorities seemed to have been systematically turned away from the polling places, and votes not counted. The Democrats won the popular vote, but the Republicans got George Bush elected because of the Supreme Court, the Electoral College, and the refusal of Al Gore to challenge the results and ask for a re-count! LET US FINALLY DO AWAY WITH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE, AND ALLOW THE POPULAR VOTE TO ELECT OUR CANDIDATES! However, accountability and accurate records must be assured at the voting booth whether it is electronic or manual, for the process to have any validity!

    7. “Gerrymandering” is alive and well in most voting districts, with lines of demarcation drawn according to the party in power. Look at what happened in Texas due to Tom Delay! The Abramoff scandal showed that many of our elected representatives are corrupt. And all this time we thought Tammany Hall and the Teapot Dome scandals of the past was over. It is still graft, greed, and corruption that seems to be the dark underbelly of politics making it a dirty name. Earmarks, and the throwing away of tax dollars paid to the government by the voting public indicates a total disregard for what the public thinks, wants, or expects from it’s “democratically elected government!”

    8. Even if the person I voted for gets “elected,” I doubt that person will represent me over corporations. The fact is that a CEO of a major corporation gets my representative’s ear more often than I do in the form of lobbyists who ply the halls of congress. The money our “representatives” receive from lobbyists and corporate contributors is nothing more than influence peddling which seems to permeate our government institutions. Many in congress who voted for the prescription drug bill that benifited the drug companies ended up going to work for them later as lobbyist. My opinion counts for nothing compared to the rich and powerful in this country.

    9. Finally, the media must allow equal airtime to those candidates who are independent and who are marginalized by the media and poll numbers. A system must be established where money (with no strings attached) can be accessed by candidates who are not members of the rich elite, ensuring that they maintain their integrity. The Line Item Veto must be given and used by the Executive branch. Earmarked “Pork Barrel” expenditures that have nothing to do with the bill they are attached to, must be done away with. A third party must be introduced and accepted by congress to represent independent Americans who are more “Middle Of The Road” than those of the extreme Right or Left. An Independent Convention should be held and publicized to elect an Independent candidate to appose the Democratic and Republican parties. Major needed legislation fails to get past due to gridlock by the two party system.

    November 10, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Planted questions? This is right out of Karl Rove's playbook.

    Another example of a "texbook campaign".

    Obama 2008 for REAL change.

    November 10, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. RC, Columbia, MD

    pam, Eugene, OR:

    You are so right. This can't be emphasized enough. We don't need another 4 years of disfunctional government. Enough already with these Clintons and the scandal and resentment they will bring with them.

    November 10, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Anonymous, Williamsburg, VA

    John Halverson New York:

    Perhaps you're right about Huma Abedin, but I trust Billy will bring some babes into the Oval Office as well (after hours, of course).

    November 10, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Enoch, Nashville TN

    This is a got ya question........
    Democrats beware, if you want to lose the next election then nominate Hillary.

    November 10, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. joan niantic ct.

    Gee! What an idea for a new book. I am going to title it Hill and the shill.

    November 10, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. DGH, Virginia Beach, VA

    This is typical of both Clintons and what we can expect, more deception, half-truths and outright lies. What surprised me most about this story is that CNN posted it...maybe Hillary isn't the 'chosen one' after all. However, I'm certain CNN will return to its roots after the conventions and fall squarely behind the, don't expect less than glowing stories about the DNC presidential candidate choice. That's my 2 cents, no change please 🙂

    November 10, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. matt Dagostino, Woodland park, CO

    One more nail in the coffin for the socialist-thank God! Maybe now we will abandon her socialism and embrace a capitalist. This event only exposes the tip the "ends justify the means" argument used by the Clintons for years. Bye bye socialism!!!!!

    November 10, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  24. Keith Jarrell, Washington DC

    Is returning to Arkansas still an option?
    If so the both of them should seriously considering going back there, finding a little house somewhere in the woods and growing old together.
    All the while knowing how dishonest the two of them have been to the American People.

    The American people must put a stop to their move for her to become the next president. She is not what this country needs.

    November 10, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. Jerry Houston, Texas

    there are more accusations, of course you won't find that on CNN. Go to another website also this will be buried by Monday. I am sure they won't post this either.

    November 10, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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