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. Mike, Columbus OH

    I think it's disgraceful that some of you Democrats have to put down a 19-year old kid to try and make your side look good. How low can you get? Look, I'm not saying this is Watergate or anything, but come on. This was clearly orchestrated and Hillary probably knew. And, it is dishonest. These are supposed to be questions from private citizens, not from the Clinton camp.

    November 13, 2007 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. Kevin Kirwan, Sioux City, Iowa

    What..another Clinton Campaign caught being deceitful? OK fellas let's roll out the trash another bimbo brigade or at least claim some sort of right ring conspiracy plant, to discredit what they hoped would be their plant.

    I wonder, would this new Clinton Administration be the most ethical of all time, or does Bill still have first dibs?

    November 13, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. Chris, NYC

    "I'm very glad you asked me that question!" I can hear Hillary now, LOL. What a charlatan, what a fraud.

    November 13, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Dennis Carnett

    Can you name one honest politican? Salitin SC
    His Name is Henery B Gonzales In Texas
    He passed away but he was 100% honest Biden is a punk.

    November 13, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. John, Austin, Texas

    Oh the irony, after seven plus years of having every Bush event tightly scripted and controlled, we get this. If you disagree with that man you can't get within a mile of him. You have prostitutes being allowed into the White House press room to ask softball questions. The media stays silent and complicit about all of it. However if the Hillary staff prompts an attendee on a question, or if John Edwards gets a haircut, its a big deal.

    This biggest complaint I have about Hillary is that she is using the Bush playbook.

    November 13, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. Alan, Dallas

    If Billary cannot take a serious debate from the American people, dictators such as Amadenajad, Chavez, Castro, Kim Jong Il are going to eat her for breakfast if she is elected President.

    November 13, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. Justin, San Antonio, TX

    This whole thing should be a non-issue; plants are a time-honored tradition in American politics. In the vein of "man bites dog," this could only be interesting if this were about a politician who never used a plant.

    November 13, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Hillary Isadouche

    Hillary is evil. Obama is unelectable.

    Viva la Republicans!!

    November 13, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Patrick, Los Angeles, California

    Any Clinton supporter that doesn't find anything wrong with this needs to take some serious gut checks. My guess is that many of the campaigns take part in acts like this – yet when Clinton is being scrutinized because she has this sense of ruthlessness surrounding her, it substantiates those ideas. Apparently she can't win on her merits alone.

    November 13, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. Kenny Wahl, Union City, CA

    How is it possible in a Federal Republic or Democracy that we have a junta running the country? I mean come on – we are approaching 20 years of 2 families running this country. Are you ready for it to be 24 or 28? I am sick of both "ROYAL" families. I will vote for Obama – not because of his politics or that he is a man – but because he actually answers questions. WOW – how refreshing!

    November 13, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Louis Parses, Atlanta,Georgia




    November 13, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Davey, Ridgetop Tn.

    Who can really be surprised when a calculating lier, gets caught, being-a calculating lier. Then, there's the lie about the lie (she didn't know). PLEASE!!!

    November 13, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. L. Morgan, NH

    This is not a plant...this type of "staging" has gone on for a very long time and all candidates over the years have incorporated this method of asking questions. That way they know the answers 😉
    Seems to me the girl wants her 15 mintues of fame

    November 13, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Tncamp California, Md

    OK, Let's review. Hillary get's askled a question in a debate that she doesn't have a canned answer for. Her campaign suffers bad PR for it. then she goes to Iowa and has planted questins so she can provide rehearsed answers for. Wonder what would have happened if this student had agreed to ask thei question and then asked what whe really wanted to ask in the first place.

    Hillary is in trouble. Too scripted. Is afraid to get into situations that she doesn't control. She has had "yes women" working around her for so long she can't handle real questions on real issues.

    November 13, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. A

    Not that I'm a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I'm curious how many of the outraged people here were not outraged when, just as the last poster mentioned, the Bush handlers during his election campaigns and even during his presidency do the EXACT same things? Is "Absolutely Horrific" merely a way of saying: "Jeez, not another one" or some kind of indignation in the ignorant belief that this is not a regular occurrence with many presidential candidates, most notably G.W. Bush?

    November 13, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. grannie4

    I don't know why anyone is surprised.
    Mrs. Clinton will do whatever it takes to get elected.

    November 13, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  17. Paul, Pittsburgh PA

    Can someone explain why the surprise at anything the Clintons do in this regard? Has everyone forgotten that these are the same people that cut off access by the Washington press corps and stopped White House news conferences when the questions about the daily scandals became to embarrassing.

    It amazes me that the fake FEMA new conference gets the attention it did but when that was SOP for the Clinton administration not a peep.

    November 13, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Jeffrey Stewart

    This Woman is simply not qualified to be president. She speaks with forked tongue on every issue that is presented to her. She calculates her answers according to the electorate that she is talking to at the time. A true leader tries to do whats right regardless of the circumstance or whether or not they will lose votes. A true leader understands that you cant please all the people all the time and you should not try. The position of president requires you to diciplined and steadfast not a panderer. The thing that troubles me the most is the wall that the mainstream media puts up evert time she has a mis-step. In grade school we often learned about the propaganda that was present in the Soviet Union and how the media was limited to express only the views of the leader in power A sort of brainwashing.. The major networks ABC, CBS and NBC should be truelly ashamed of themselves. I will continue to vote with my remote..Each time I see a instance of story slanting or blatant inaccuracies strewn with journalistic opinions I block that channel from being viewed in my household..stick to the facts..lets face it it doesnt take a genius to read from a teleprompter. Too prove my point lets see how many negative stories come out about the Clintons..Very few!!! A vote for Hillary is a vote for Hollywood and I see them as a large part of what is so wrong with this country.

    November 13, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  19. Mike, Seattle Washington

    Exactly how would you know that the "current administration" has done this countless times? I have never seen it mentioned or reported that this is a practice by the Bush administration. It is the epitome of the "clinton" approach to campaigning – direct the dialogue to ensure that she can never be pinned down on any position.

    November 13, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Mario Teron, Bronx, NY

    To buy that Mrs. Bill Clinton didn't know about the plants requires a "willing suspension of disbelief".
    Where have I heard that one before?

    November 13, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Bill (Troy, MI)

    Sounds like Clinton has taken a page from the Bush Whitehouse. Not only are Bush's public meetings and townhall forums filled with plants, but he's even had media plants in the White House press corps.

    November 13, 2007 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  22. John, Michigan

    How does Clinton's energy plan compare to the other candidates' energy plans?
    Why didn't they suggest revising the question instead of substituting another?
    Hopefully it is a learning experience for the student and others.
    (What next? Speech writers and teleprompters?)

    November 13, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Rob G, Berkeley,CA

    How does this compare to Bush campaign events where everyone attending had to sign an oath of loyalty to Bush to be admitted and only asked questions which directly praised him? Where was the media when that was happening two campaigns in a row at every event?

    November 13, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Dave,

    why should we be surprised, this is that way that the clinton campaign has always worked, even when slick willie was campaigning. if this hillary is elected as president, we are on a steep slope to destroying anything and everything our country stands for.

    November 13, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Jay New York, New York

    This girl should be ashamed of herself. Is she coming out with this because she found this whole ordeal unethical? If so, then why did she agree to participate in the first place?

    Now what will she do when her 15 minutes are over? Become a commentator at Fox?

    November 13, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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