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Hillary’s control freak campaign: The politics of planting questions

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 10, 2007 10:20 AM

Update: Another one!

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Looks like FEMA crapweasels aren’t the only ones faking questions for the public.

Remember when Hillary launched her presidential campaign by touting her folksy bid to start a “conversation–with you, with America?” We knew it was phony baloney, but not this phony baloney:

The Iowa caucuses are known for their “living-room chats” where ordinary Iowans can meet candidates face-to-face and talk about what interests voters. When candidates have larger events or make major policy speeches, the crowds are bigger, but there is often still an opportunity for questions. But under the pressures of major media coverage, with polls narrowing in Iowa, campaigns can potentially control questions and coverage by planning questions ahead of time.

While no campaigns admit to this practice, at a recent Hillary Clinton campaign event in Newton, Iowa, some of the questions posed to the New York Senator were planned in advance, planting some audience members in the crowd.

On Tuesday Nov. 6, the Clinton campaign stopped at a biodiesel plant in Newton as part of a weeklong series of events to introduce her new energy plan. The event was clearly intended to be as much about the press as the Iowa voters in attendance, as a large press core helped fill the small venue. Reporters from many major national news outlets came to the small Iowa town, from such media giants as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and CNN.

After her speech, Clinton accepted questions. But according to Grinnell College student Muriel Gallo-Chasanoff ’10, some of the questions from the audience were planned in advance. “They were canned,” she said. Before the event began, a Clinton staff member approached Gallo-Chasanoff to ask a specific question after Clinton’s speech. “One of the senior staffers told me what [to ask],” she said.

Major Garrett at FNC zeroes in on the scripted query:

The tape of the event shows that the question and answer went as follows:

Question: “As a young person, I’m worried about the long-term effects of global warming How does your plan combat climate change?

Clinton: “Well, you should be worried. You know, I find as I travel around Iowa that it’s usually young people that ask me about global warming.”

The campaign’s admission that it planted the question may be another blow to the New York senator’s image as a trustworthy politician.

Clinton’s critics have accused her of being a double-talker who refuses to answer tough questions specifically. Now her campaign has acknowledged planting at least one question.

The Democrat-on-Democrat pile-on continues. Grab your popcorn for a ringside seat:

“In light of a weak debate performance, not to mention a persistent inability to answer the tough questions, it appears the Clinton campaign has adopted a new strategy of planting questions,” John Edwards’ Communications Director Chris Kofinis said.

“It’s what the Clinton campaign calls the politics of planting.”

And more:

The practice of planting audience members to ask specific questions does not appear to be a common practice, or at least not a politically acceptable one. “Our campaign does not plant questions,” said Lauren Rose, Communications Director for Governor Bill Richardson’s campaign. When asked what she would think of other campaigns who did plant audience members, Rose said, “I think campaigns should give Iowa caucus-goers the chance to ask the questions they want.”

Schadenfreude. It’s what’s for breakfast.

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Video: More pile-on.

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