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. Jim - Tulsa Okla


    I didn't realize until now that hillary and bill's favorite character on the show was Sgt. Schultz ......... "I know nothing"

    November 13, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  2. Had enough of the Clintons

    One can't call themselves informed and actually support Hillary.
    To me, she comes across as angry, unhappy and just mad. IF she smiled, she doesn't even look genuine.

    November 13, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  3. Z, St. Louis

    Bush and his cronies have been caught
    doing this too..It's not a single
    party thing. Remember Bush's phoney
    "Q and A" with troops from Iraq? Same
    thing. Both parties are now so corrupt
    and useless that they arn't even
    worth paying attention too..

    We need a "None of the Above" option
    on the federal level like some states
    have on their ballots.

    November 13, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  4. Mike, Youngstown, OH

    I am an independant voter who has not yet decided on any candidate; however, I realize they all lie–some worse than others. I WOULD, however, at least like to think they are telling me the truth. Planting questions is as old as dirt. I could have handled it much better if Hillary fessed up to it. Her propensity to lie out of everything does bother me.

    November 13, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. John Bartlett

    It is extremly ingenuious to imply that this kind of manuvering of Q&A audiences in politics is in any way unusual or unique to Sen. Clinton's campaign. The Mother of all manipulators in this arena is President Bush. Give it a break.

    November 13, 2007 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    OK, folks calm down!!! How many of you have worked in a presidential campaign? Obviously not too many to be so utterly shocked by a common practice used by most campaigns.

    Why is it common? It's not to be deceitful, but to get out the message of the day. All campaigns plan a particular "theme", whether it be the economy, healthcare, etc. The questions are suggested to keep the focus on that message. That doesn't mean that a candidate is not bright or capable enough to answer most impromptu questions.

    Frankly, this is a very small issue. Someone should go ask Romney about the people, let alone the questions, that he plants in his events. How come no one has brought that up? Ahhhh, the hypocrisy of politics......

    November 13, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. Libertarian, Westport CT

    Many are suggesting that “all” of the candidates do this. Somehow I just cannot imagine Ron Paul doing something like this!

    November 13, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. David Branch, Waco, Texas

    Paul, from Florida – crawl back under your little Clintonista rock with the other pond scum. But before you do, post a photo so we can tell you how you look.

    November 13, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. Jafe, Fort Worth, TX

    Mr. AmeriCANadian, excusing bad behavior by referring to other bad behavior is also bad behavior. I bet your mother told you as a child that "Everyone else is doing it" doesn't justify bad behavior. Wrong is wrong. Period. If this is all correct, then it is a reflection of the character of those involved from top to bottomus. From Hillary right on down to the staffer and the girl. Period.

    November 13, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Jerry, Bozeman, MT

    Several people have compared this to the current administration. There are some significant differences.
    1)A question on Energy policy is not contentious nor is it an attempt to create strife. It is an honest question. Not the same can be said for a heckler screaming at the top of her lungs as she is removed.
    2)Bush is not campaigning.

    I am not defending the practice in anyway with any politician. Just noting differences. I also do not know of anyone saying what this girl claims. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Just means no one has come forward. Without that, it is not right to assume Bush engages in this practice just because you don't like him.

    November 13, 2007 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  11. Gregory T. Anderson, DeKalb, Illinois

    For all of you that are lambasting the Clinton campaign for this supposed staged questioning strategy, make sure that you complain to all of the political candidates about their speeches, telephone solicitation, and virtually all of their public appearances because they are all carefully choreographed to elicit your support. If you think that anything that a national candidate does is "spontaneous", then you are simply not aware of how all political campaigns function in the modern age.

    For the complaining young woman, none of the accounts seem to indicate that someone held a gun to her head while she asked this question. If she did not want to VOLUNTARILY assist the campaign, she certainly did not need to, and I hope she never does again because with "support" like hers, who needs enemies?

    November 13, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Michael H., Los Angeles, CA

    Are any of the other candidates being checked to see if they have plants in the audience. I doubt seriously if Clinton is the only one. It's very mysterious that the other candidates are so quiet on this, when we know that many appearances that they make, are completely controlled as to who is let in for the very reason of not getting a challenging question or two.
    Something to think about.

    November 13, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. cram noskroy

    Just reading these comments has convinced me that the "Bush Derangement Syndrome" is alive and well. Hill is perfect. Must find something negative about Bush to justify her actions. Wake up libs!

    November 13, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  14. roger, conway sc

    Personally I do not agree with staging questions and Hillary will have to suffer with the outcome...but not one right winger can say anything Bush's rally's were with selected republician supporters only...if someone did make any comments against the right wingers they were arrested or removed from the rally... yet the GOP extremests seem to be pleased with GW....

    November 13, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. Nate -- Boston, Mass

    This girl needs to be honest with herself and join a gym, lose some weight, improve her sense of well-being. Instead being a hog, craving the limelight the second you are offered a scripted question, then once those 3 seconds of fame are over, rolling it over into another 10 minutes of fame, acting like she was somehow forced to ask the question.

    November 13, 2007 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. CF, Orlando Florida

    Senator Clinton is as dishonest as the rest of the bunch. All the candidates will do whatever they feel is necessary to make themselves look good. But, for those of you who really believe Senator Clinton is good for this country, you need to wake up. If she wins and implements her healthcare plan, don't come crying to me when you have to go to another country to get timely medical care.

    November 13, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  17. christian, selden, ny

    DO YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS IS POLITICS!!!!! unfortunately these tactics HAVE to be taken. if this was a republican i would say the same thing. this isnt a surprise at all. its business. you have to do whatever it takes to get into office. every single candidate does this. its been going on for centuries grow up!

    November 13, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  18. Carol, Lansing MI

    If being asked to ask a question was so distasteful to her, why did she participate in the first place?

    November 13, 2007 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Ben, Chicago, IL

    oh please. it simply backfired on the Clinton staffer and Hillary herself. they planted a question and the person talked about it. the Clinton campaign doesn't surprise anyone anymore. they now see the other candidates (mainly Obama and Edwards) catching her. I would not agree to their questions in the first place. I have a mind of my own. these people need to realize they are not sheep. ask her about the CFR, Bilderbergs, Illuminati, etc.

    November 13, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  20. Meat and Potatoes Blog, Knoxville, TN

    Hey time for a joke everyone, courtesy of the Meat and Potatoes Blog!

    What's the difference between Hillary and a farmer?

    The farmer says "Plant your corn early" while Shrill-ary says "Plant your QUESTIONS early" HAHAHA!

    November 13, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  21. Jason, Knoxville, TN

    "the whole incident has given her a negative outlook on politics."

    Then why did she do what they told her to? Why not just say no?

    November 13, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  22. Mike Delfino, Wisteria Lane

    Columbus wrote: If that happened with a Republican, you'd be all over it spewing your nasty "neocon" venom.

    Well, the current administration did use plants at a FEMA newsconference during the California wildfires.

    I'm not shocked by either of those items. Is anyone? It's disappointing, but does anyone expect anything less from either political party anymore?

    November 13, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. Tweed Scott, Austin, TX

    Planting questions by the Hillary campaign doesn't surprise me at all. This is politics at its worst. How can anyone believe or accept anything she says as truthful. Her husband was nearly impeached for lying to Congress. How can anyone with a straight face include the Clintons and the word honesty in the same sentence?
    I have no problem with a woman becoming president but please not this one.

    November 13, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  24. JJ Burbank CA

    Wrong is wrong. Why do people want to point out what some else does (Bush). If she shouldnt plant a questions who cares what others have done. I thought you wanted someone diffrent then Bush. Why don't people see through her. In some sick way I wish she does become President so people can see what a mess she would make. History will not be kind to her and Bill.

    November 13, 2007 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. Sandman - Siloam Springs, AR

    Remember when the Clinton's were first elected and Mrs. Clinton was on Larry King taking calls. The last call was from Tipper Gore (amazing how she got through as the last caller) and they fawned over each other like a couple of 14 year olds.

    After they got to really know each other and each others Husband's they now rarely – if at all – speak to each other unless it's for political expediency.

    November 13, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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