November 13th, 2007
11:00 AM ET
12 years ago

Student given question to ask Clinton: I wasn't only one

Watch Student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff's interview with CNN.

GRINNELL, Iowa (CNN) - The college student who says she was told what question to ask at one of Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign events told CNN Monday that she wasn't the only one at the event who was a plant and said "voters have the right to know what really happened."

In an exclusive interview with CNN, Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff, a 19-year-old sophomore at Grinnell College in Iowa - whose story in her campus newspaper has now been widely circulated - said that giving anyone specific questions to ask is "dishonest," and the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics.

Gallo-Chasanoff, an undecided voter, said what happened was really pretty simple: she says a senior Clinton staffer asked if she'd like to ask the senator a question after an energy speech she gave in Newton, Iowa, on November 6. (Watch Gallo-Chasanoff ask Clinton the question)

"I sort of thought about it, and I said 'Yeah, can I ask how her energy plan compares to the other candidates' energy plans?'" Gallo-Chasanoff said.

"'I don't think that's a good idea," the staffer said, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, "because I don't know how familiar she is with their plans."

He then opened a binder to a page that, according to Gallo-Chasanoff, had about eight questions on it.

"The top one was planned specifically for a college student," she added. " It said 'college student' in brackets and then the question."

Full story

-CNN's Chris Welch and David Schechter


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa • Race to '08
soundoff (489 Responses)
  1. AmeriCANadian Detroit Michigan

    Were these "softball" questions? Asking what a candidate is going to do about global warming does not sound like a soft question to me. Nevertheless, I don't like this strategy and we've seen it countless times before with the current administration. I wonder if Clinton staffers go as far as barring any obvious republicans from her Q&A sessions, like Bush staffers bar non-supporters from his public appearances?

    November 13, 2007 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  2. Me - San Antonio Texas

    Hillary 2008!

    November 13, 2007 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  3. Jimenez - San Antonio - Texas

    I wonder how much they paid her off to talk? And who is to say this girl is even saying the actual truth. There is her side – their side and truth. Clinton doesn't need questions to be planted. She is exceptional! She's gonna win. She will be our next president. And, she will make history.

    November 13, 2007 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  4. Erica, St L, MO

    We've all heard the Clinton camp is one of the tightest, if not the tightest, most organized run political machines out there. No one argues that, but for Hillary to say she did not know anything about planted questions in her campaign...well it is not far fetched to believe she is lying. What is very troubling is the ease at which she does it, like she has had a lot of practice.

    November 13, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  5. Emery, Toronto, Canada

    Why did the twit agree to ask the question in the first place? This is a way that candidates can answer questions in a non-confrontational manner...answer the question and state their position. It's been going on for years. BTW – is she really looking for honesty in politics?

    November 13, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  6. Matt, Coral Gables, FL

    Wow, I was right. You really do have to be delusional to be a Hillary Clinton supporter.

    November 13, 2007 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  7. Had My Fill of Bill AND Hill, Washington, D.C.

    Great posts some of you. "Who Paid Her Off", "Twit", go to bed Bill, you're grumpy. Typical Clinton crap. Now she's accusing John Edwards of acting like Bush just because he had the guts to call her out on honesty, integrity and chararcter. We'll have a Democract in the White House, but it won't be "the Madam".

    November 13, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  8. Salita, SC

    This is much to do about nothing. It was a darn good question and I think the girl is just lookin for headlines. The media needs to get some where and have a seat! Ok we all know you media people hate Hillary and Bill. We all know its sweeps week and ya need a headline, but COME ON! GO Hillary! I'm still voting for Biden (Big Smile)

    By the way can anyone name me a 100% HONEST politican?

    November 13, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  9. Brett, Santa Monica

    This is ANY different than the pre-approved audiences for any given Bush/Cheney administration members' speeches how?? If anything, at least it's being constructive, instead of the recent forcible removal of Code Pink anti-war mothers from the Condaleezza Rice congressional testimony toward US Middle East Policy on Oct 24. 4 out of the 5 people arrested had done nothing asides wear shirts contesting the war. Nice job Washington.

    November 13, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. James, Minneapolis, MN

    Hillary is going down. She just lost Iowa on this story alone and there is no chance that she will comeback from it. All this talk of honesty and her character is coming into the light. In her next debate she will have to change her whole style just to combat the fact that she is not ever going to be completely truthful with the American people.

    Shame on those of you who are attacking that student for reporting what the TRUTH.

    November 13, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. Todd, Binghamton, NY

    "This is a way that candidates can answer questions in a non-confrontational manner."

    Wow, thankfully we have scripted events like these to ensure that the lines between truth and reality are continually blurred. She is asking for our votes, the LEAST she can do is answer real questions.

    I understand that this is how the game is played and am not surprised in the least that the Clinton campaign may have plants. It's funny, though, when you look at how rattled she got when someone asked her a REAL question about her Iran vote at one of her campaign stops. She accused the guy of being a plant!

    To the person who questioned whether this was a softball question - any question the candidate is prepared for IS a softball question, especially when the campaign is using audience members as its mouthpiece.

    November 13, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  12. George, Chicago, IL

    Several years ago – during the last Presidential Election – I was able to attend a rally by Senator Edwards at a liberal arts college. College students were present but the focus of this "town hall" meeting was prescription drugs. Out of the several hundred members of the audience (primarily college students) none were able to ask him a question. Instead, pre-chosen people from the audience asked specific questions, while the students were silenced. I think that this is not only in Clinton's camp – but more an issue across all of politics.

    November 13, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  13. No Name, Alexandria, VA

    All canidates do this. Even our on President does this and got caught

    November 13, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  14. C_munkie, Nashville Tennessee

    This woman quite honestly makes me sick. Its a real shame that the first female front-runner is this woman. I would have hoped for someone more respectable.

    I would take Obama over her any day. If the ticket winds up being Clinton or Giuliani, I'm submitting a write in vote for Perot.

    November 13, 2007 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  15. mike, philadelphia, PA

    wait- this girl agreed to ask a pre-planned question, and now she's suddenly all shocked and disenchanted? why did she agree to ask it? it sounds like Ms. Gallo-Chasanoff is milking this for all its worth.

    this kind of stuff might be distasteful, but it's not any different from what any other campaign team does, and certainly not "horrific." and no, this campaign shouldn't be about vince foster.

    November 13, 2007 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  16. Mitchell D. Hirsch, Philadelphia, PA

    . . . As if many others don't do the same thing! Let's not forget that the White House inserted at least one reporter to lob softball questions to President Bush in press conferences. How many other candidates are doing the same thing? My bet is – most of them. The temptation is just too great. Let's either condemn the practice for all or shrug it off and not focus on any particular candidate. Journalists – do your job: investigate and report on other candidates' use of this practice.

    November 13, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. Mark Winchester VA

    Slick Willy and Slimmy Hillary, you people who vote for this idiot are idiots!

    November 13, 2007 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  18. Columbus

    Man, why are you democrats such PHONIES? If that happened with a Republican, you'd be all over it spewing your nasty "neocon" venom. Instead some of you are suspicious that that victim in all of this was planted. Grow up and realize that your little Hillery just might be a PHONY. Oh yeah, now I see the connection you have.

    November 13, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  19. Steve, Huntsville, AL

    I agree with a previous post. The story here evolved from a dishonest practice of planting questions, to how the Clintons handled the scandal. The idea that Hillary, known to be a control freak, was unaware of this practice is not believeable. It is disturbing to me just how easy it was for her to deny...I could not help but believe she is a very seasoned liar.

    November 13, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  20. docrock,lewisville TX

    Surely anyone can see Karl Rove in Gallo-Chasanoff's clothing,right?Though I'm a Biden supporter,I can tell you,by experience Hillary would never trust a twit or an intern.C'mon people,she's a plant.Or a liar.Or both

    November 13, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  21. Cory, PENNSYLVANIA

    This is exactly why I do not support another Clinton. I can see straight through her, and see that she is nothing but B.S. I hope one day everyone else will be able to view her as I do. In the meantime, keep researching Obama.... I'm sure you'll be impressed.

    OBAMA '08!

    November 13, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  22. JKap, Schaumburg, IL

    Well, at least we know that Hillary would run FEMA just as effectively as Bush, what with their fake press conferences and all.

    November 13, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  23. Orlando

    The Truth about Hillary is coming out and it's not pretty....

    November 13, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  24. J. McKinney SW MO

    Oh, my, this is shocking, just shocking, isn't it? Using some of the posts on here as a guide to the intelligence of the average voter, I imagine they planted a question so that a sensible question could be asked for her to answer.
    They all do it–it isn't that big of a deal. It was a sensible question, and the aide probably thought it was one of the only ways to get a sensible question asked.
    Hillary is who we need, and all this made-up hype about the lies she tells– I am sure she is the only candidate who does this. (yeah, right!)
    Get a grip, folks. The Clintons are spending their lives trying to make the country better. Do you think they would work this hard to do a poor job for the US? They are wanting to make history by getting this mess straightened up–not make it worse, and they are a couple of the best minds in the world. Let's let them work on it, and get the US back to the great shape it was in when Bill was president, if it can still be done after this mess that has been made of it in the last 7 years.
    GO, HILLARY!!!

    November 13, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  25. Joe, Boston, Ma

    Maybe the girl was a plant, but a republican plant. Doesnt this lady have reports to write? college classes to attend? Does she want to run for pres?

    November 13, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
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