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For Clinton, the "Question" Won't Go Away

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is still getting questions about the "question."

Last week, a Grinnell College student disclosed to her campus newspaper that a Clinton campaign aide had urged her to ask the senator about global warming at a energy event in Newton. Clinton staffers confessed to the plant and insisted their boss knew nothing. But the story won't go away.

Rival John Edwards stirred it up on Sunday. "People expect you to stand in front of them and answer their hard questions - and they expect it to be an honest process," the former senator told reporters, according to the Des Moines Register. "What George Bush does is plant questions and exclude people from events, and I don't think that's what Democrats want to see in Iowa."

And Clinton was asked about the episode in an Associated Press interview Monday afternoon.
"I think in campaigns things happen and you just go on, and that's certainly what I've done for 35 years and it's what I've done for eight years in the White House and now seven years in the Senate," Clinton told the AP's Mike Glover.

"People can look at my record," said Clinton. "My whole life, going back 35 years has been driven by my passions for improving the lives of children and families, making our country fairer and more equal and creating opportunity for people."
-- .Shailagh Murray

By Post Editor  |  November 12, 2007; 7:13 PM ET
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Clinton says:--
"...what I've done for 35 years and it's what I've done for eight years in the White House and now seven years in the Senate."
Exactly. NOBODY in the Senate has done anything worthwhile in the past seven years.
Her "White House Experience" is on a par with that of Laura Bush and Monica Lewinsky, and that is her sole qualification for the job she is after.
Actually, both Laura and Monica strike me as more honest.

Posted by: cashelboylo | November 13, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse


Enjoy your trip in fantasyland - that's where you are if you think a Republican can't win the Presidency this year.

Whoever the Democratic nominee is he or she will have a very tough fight. Obama hasn't demonstrated the requisite toughness, in my opinion. Hillary has.

Posted by: AndyfromVA | November 13, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

camstanton wrote "Obama thinks we Democrats are too partisan - he wants to have consensus with the Repubs. Problem is the Repubs are not interested in consensus. You give the Repubs an opening and they will kick your rear. Ever hear of Swiftboating? The Repubs don't play the consensus game."
Y'know, the thing is that the Repubs are dying off. Have you taken a look at how OLD these guys are? And seriously, is there any Republican candidate who is actually a Republican?? Or can win the Presidency? NO WAY!
Oh yee of little faith, think about the shape we're in and then think about FDR. Think about Americans being asked to sacrfice and actually doing it! With the right leader it COULD happen again. Consensus will be something needed to solve the immediate problems that affect us ALL. We are human and so are Republicans. The world is watching - it's time to do the right thing.
Obama '08!

Posted by: sheridan1 | November 13, 2007 7:27 PM | Report abuse

I and my wife have listened to Hillary Clinton , Talked about her and other candidates . My job gave me years studying people and their statements . I and my wife just don't trust her or the three top candidates in the two parties . Their statements are superficial and self serving . Their answers to questions are questions to accadently random asked ones . Their questions sound like well plan and studied subjects by both parties before even asked from a schript . Wife and I just don't trust the three top candidates offering them self to us .
We will be looking at the rest having eliminated the top three . Studying them as they speak out . Hope you all are studying this election woth the same or better scrutiny . Thanks .

Posted by: texaskbar | November 13, 2007 7:11 PM | Report abuse

We're not looking for perfection in our candidate - we're looking for someone who has the guts to answer unscripted questions, who treats voters as people you need to listen to instead of sheep to be manipulated and conned. Have other campaigns done things like this? Sure. But the Clintons practice it like a religion.

Posted by: petekwando | November 13, 2007 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Lobbing softballs has been a part of the game for a long time. I don't think this story has any more legs to it than Romney yucking it up over Obama, BinLaden, Chelsea's moma, or whatever it was.

It brings to mind the debates in 2000, when famous lefty Jim Leher asked Bush the first (and I think only) question about what his foreign policy would look like if he won. Bush completely evaded the question and trotted out a rehearsed script about how poorly the US military had fared under the Clinton administration, and how he was going to do them proud.

Softballs come in all kinds of forms. Don't think for a minute that any of the candidates are immune from plants and the like. Hillary just got nailed for it. And only marginally so. Just wait until the media starts picking Rudy apart - on a personal level.

Posted by: cdavidj | November 13, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Grow up folks.

If you will only support the perfect Democratic candidate you will wind up with Giuliani in the White House? Perhaps some of you think that's OK - not me.

Clinton is flawed, but her flaws are not as bad as those of Obama and Edwards.

Obama thinks we Democrats are too partisan - he wants to have consensus with the Repubs. Problem is the Repubs are not interested in consensus. You give the Repubs an opening and they will kick your rear. Ever hear of Swiftboating? The Repubs don't play the consensus game.

Edwards supports the extreme left-wing position on every issue. That's guaranteed to win him, oh, about 33% of the vote in a general election - Hello President Giuliani.

Grow up, people, grow up!!

Posted by: camstanton | November 13, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

starfires: I must assume you are among the "Hillary Haters" that so dominates most blogs. Everything that has been gone over and over again will continue by those oy you that are so afraid of her. When she is elected POTUS I can only imagine the attacks will only increase. During the term of Bubba, this country was well respected and envied around the world for many of the things that are now gone, and has been replaced by so much hated on the most basic issues facing all of us. I can understand disagreeing with someone on about anything, but am unable to understand the real "Hatred" towards this woman. IMHO, this "Hatred" has to do with what I refer to as the "Envy/Jealous" Factor, and not so much as to her political positions, when her main issues are children, health care, education, old folks, and helping the lower income class. I only wish someone could explain this to an old man.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

These cued questions tell us that Hillary will continue to dodge and weave on topics she dislikes addressing. I am another female senior citizen. I look at the contributions she has accepted from our wonderful corporate interests, and can only believe that their money will influence her decisions. I consider how her husband " triangulated" and am sure she will do the same. Under that shrill exterior beats the heart of a true neocon. It is so sad that I have waited so long for a woman candidate, and now that one is a possibility I find her unacceptable.

Posted by: janetann | November 13, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is so comfortable with lying that it is frightening. Let me get
this straight . She claims she "didn't know" about the planting of
questions. Yeah Right ! So I am to believe that a "senior staffer"
who organizes and directs these "town hall" type appearances - is
out there with a sheet of printed questions [in this instance,
the student who was approached with the plant, even noted
the paper had the sub-category titlet , "student question"
for her particular plant about global warning] and he DOES
NOT tell Hillary about the questions he is planting and she
will be facing - and then - Hillary just happens to call on
the student and has not a clue about the questions she will
be facing ? Give me a major break ! The real problem here
is "cattle future syndrome". Maybe the planting of questions
is not unheard of - but - the real problem here is that
.The woman is "frighteningly dishonest". Another Clinton who
is so willing to be so dishonest and uses "lying" so easily.

Qestion: Hillary do you plan to "global village" all our
asses - after your rise to power ?

Answer : of course not , - don't be silly.

Lemmee see here --- Would Hillary Lie ?

Whitewater - Rose Law Firm - Ozark land deals etc. The
bankrupt Madison Guaranty S&L, the thrift owned by the late James
B. McDougal, the Clintons' Whitewater business partner. Hillary's
legal work for Madison in the mid-1980s. Web Hubbell goes to jail.
Cattle futures. Travel gate. Hillary professes cluelessness about
bill's infidelities and blames it all on a "right wing conspiracy".
Hillary has "no idea" about who hired Craig Livingston. Ethnic slurs
calling her Jewish staffer a "Jew bastard" [that man passed a lie
dectector test , by the way]. And ON AND ON .....................
Currently " Me oh My ... my senior staffers are planting lies ? Well
who'd a thunk that " ?

Posted by: starfires | November 13, 2007 4:21 PM | Report abuse

The issue isn't "important", but the "Dean Scream" wasn't important either, and it undid him. This may not equal that event in consequences, but "The Question" does underscore a perceived weakness (in the way the scream somehow underscored the idea that Dean was an angry man), highlighting the belief of many that Clinton is untrustworthy.

The perception of untrustworthiness probably belongs more to Bill than Hillary, but that hardly matters (Dean wasn't angry when he screamed either) because a lot of people have trouble separating the two. "The Question" issue will probably just fade away, but will return quickly if there's another demonstrative instance of untrustworthiness closer to voting days.

Posted by: max | November 13, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Hillary is so comfortable with lying that it is frightening. She claims she "didn't know" about the planting of questions. Yeah Right ! The student who was approached with the plant request saw a "paper" with questions written on it and the category "student" for the question she was to ask. This student reports that Hillary called on her even though there were 200 people in the room. So a senior staffer is planting questions and NOT TELLING HILLARY what planted questions she is going to FACE ! does CATTLE FUTURES ring a bell?

Posted by: starfires | November 13, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

bsimon: Having "The Media" pounding this "Planted Question" for the past week or so will play well for Hillary. Most of us supporting Hillary are convinced "The Media" is anti-Hillary. For a time this was kinda funny for most folks does not trust "The Media" to report accurately on just about anything. "Listen for what they don't say." is a good test to apply.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I see the main point of this story is how someone who is young and interested in politics becomes disgusted with the process. The older generation needs to clean up their act and be a good example to the younger generation. Bill treated a young intern poorly, now Hillary does the same. Both are using the young people for their own purposes. Both Bill and Hillary are selfish people, young voters will not trust either of them.

Posted by: erikronneberg | November 13, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) is the leading advocate for freedom in our nation's capital. As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Paul tirelessly works for limited constitutional government, low taxes, free markets, and a return to sound monetary policies. He is known among his congressional colleagues and his constituents for his consistent voting record. Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution.

American Independence and Sovereignty

So called free trade deals and world governmental organizations like the International Criminal Court (ICC), NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and CAFTA are a threat to our independence as a nation. They transfer power from our government to unelected foreign elites.

The ICC wants to try our soldiers as war criminals. Both the WTO and CAFTA could force Americans to get a doctor's prescription to take herbs and vitamins. Alternative treatments could be banned.

The WTO has forced Congress to change our laws, yet we still face trade wars. Today, France is threatening to have U.S. goods taxed throughout Europe. If anything, the WTO makes trade relations worse by giving foreign competitors a new way to attack U.S. jobs.

NAFTA's superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme.

And a free America, with limited, constitutional government, would be gone forever.

Let's not forget the UN. It wants to impose a direct tax on us. I successfully fought this move in Congress last year, but if we are going to stop ongoing attempts of this world government body to tax us, we will need leadership from the White House.

We must withdraw from any organizations and trade deals that infringe upon the freedom and independence of the United States of America.

You can sign up for the next donation event at

***** All are Welcome *****

Posted by: US-Citizen | November 13, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's husband has been in politics for 35 years not her. She's been in the this dirty business for about six years. A dirty business for a dirty girl. I wished she wasn't. I would vote for her except she isn't dedicated to anyone but Hillary. She has a opportunity to really make a differnce but she's just a flop.

Posted by: adobelane | November 13, 2007 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Senator Clinton is in a critical spot. Her last debate performance exposed a weakness that had previously been alleged, but not proven. Since then, she's been on the defensive - her campaign is in a reactive mode, not a proactive one. Coming out of last Saturday's Iowa event, Sen Obama has the momentum, while Sen Clinton is slowly losing the claim of inevitability. The question is what her strategy will be this Thursday. Will she try to revert to the strategies that worked in the past? Or will her competitors keep her off balance, forcing her to commit to specific answers to policy questions?

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I have said for a long time "The Media", as a group, was/is for the most part anti-Hillary. When she appeared on Meet the Press a few weeks ago and Russert went after her, she made him look the fool, then the debate, when he went after her again, and was made more of a fool once again. Another thing worth mentioning is the repubs have even been giveing money to other dems and have changed their party registration in an effort to stop her. Don't be fooled, Hillary is the one the repubs "Fear" most, for they know they cannot beat her in the General.

Posted by: lylepink | November 13, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The interesting thing in this little discussion here is that Hilary's critics excoriate her for qualities that are essential to running for this office and enthusiastically applauded in male candidates: raw ambition, a singleminded fixation on winning, being enough of a control freak to carefully craft every appearance, every issue, and yes, every question. Why the double standard? Personally, I favor Richardson: a fascinating guy, but at heart a complete political animal - in fact, that moniker delights him! So, let me get this straight. Clinton is dangerous and dupl;icitous because she's ambitious? At least she won't start another endless, dubious war or bankrupt our grandchildren through the pork-barrel trough of the military and oil interests. Americans want a tough leader who occasionally lives in the real world. Gender threats should not be that big a deal in this race, but it seems it still is.

Posted by: copynp | November 13, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget Jeff Gannon, the fake 'news reporter' that Rove planted in the White House press room. Turned out he was a male hustler.

Posted by: PatrickNYC1 | November 13, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the Hillary Haters are trying to graft legs onto this dead horse - a minor staffer made a dumb mistake. Contrast this to George Bush's carefully scripted and choreographed public appearances, or senior FEMA politicos staging their "news conferences", or Republican fake reporters tossing softballs to the Bush administration, etc, etc. Clinton doesn't duck questions and doesn't need media bubbles around her.

Posted by: schultz_dv | November 13, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

"The media built Hillary up, just like Howard Dean. Now, they will crush her too. Watch every article from now on, no matter what the source. they will all be critical of her, because the R media can't let a Dem win. Happens every election."

Amazing. The "R Media" has transformed CNN and MSNBC into right wing machines...

Posted by: duff_man1212 | November 13, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Sign of the times: rich candidates control their messages, choreograph their visits and stage the questions ... and occasionally get caught.

Too bad. Hillary has been asked soft and hard ball questions on global warming here in New Hampshire - when we can get at her. No fewer than a dozen questions in recent weeks.

And dozens of people prevailed upon the campaign to please have Hillary attend a conference here in NH on global warming and energy solutions. Almost 600 people showed up to hear Richardson, Kucinich, McCain and Huckabee. All had their own time. Hillary? Nope. Fat chance: the conference offered a lot except one thing: total scripted control.

The retail politics that still (though only a bit) symbolizes the NH Primary needs to be reclaimed if we are to help the nation learn about the qualities and frailties of the next president of the United States. Getting caught by the media only accentuates the frailties.

Posted by: r-stephenson | November 13, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

For the junior senator from New York - she has a harder question to answer. She claims 35 year record - what 35 year record? She, her husband and the National Archive [give me a break] are hiding eight years of first lady e-mails? Go back 35 years and that includes the Rose law Firm!
Her experience is shared, or negligible!
That's the question she needs to answer.

Posted by: iwwthom | November 13, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The best chance for a Republican White House is a Hillary nomination. A Republican dream come true. BTW, I doubt that there has ever been a natural, unprepared word that came out of Hillary's mouth.

Posted by: andrewbrobinson | November 13, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Drip Drip Drip...the worst thing in PR...

Hillary's campaign is off-track, off-message and off-balance because it was not being honest and once challenged it has sought to tactically pull out instead of coming forward and being honest.

I predict that by January she will be 3rd in Iowa, NH and SC.

Posted by: bobsue_nemanich | November 13, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

This is just typical Clinton. She doesn't know what the truth is or what it means. I don't know how people can be in the same room with her with all her flip-flops and lies. She is no better than Bill, and look what he did.
It would be nice if she would take some lessons in ethical behavior from Obama, but she is not a good person. That would be against he better judgement.

Posted by: edeerfield | November 13, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I will note that the question-planting story came out on Fox News the very same day that Giuliani's crony Bernie was indicted on corruption charges.
I wonder which one is a more serious story to voters?

Posted by: freespeak | November 13, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

NoMugwump wrote...
"Firstly, Clinton hasn't been doing whatever for 35 years. She practiced law, authored a "crash and burn" health plan and was "First Lady". Her truly public and political career began when she was elected in New York State."

Exactly. She's trying to take credit for already having been President. Ignoring the fact that if she had in fact been President, she'd be Constitutionally barred from seeking another term.

Sen. Clinton could be the best Presidential candidate of the last 50 years and I wouldn't vote for her. We don't need another political dynasty.

Posted by: kenobi_wan_obi | November 13, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

More proof that it's all rigged. How much longer are Americans going to watch their leaders make "decisions" by talking to themselves?

Posted by: kogejoe | November 13, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't care who the the Democrats or Republicans nominate as long as thier nominee understands the role of the Presidency, can work with the power brokers inside the the beltway and punch through some needed legislation....So far, of all the candidates, only Rudy, McCain and Clinton seem to have it.

Posted by: tonyholst | November 13, 2007 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Can anyone say FEMA? People lost their jobs because of planted questions. Everyone shook their heads. It was a fraud.

But . . . the double standard stands up in the room. No big deal say the Hillarites.
But her response is typical. "Look at my record." Well, open up your records to the public and then we *can* look at them. Let's see the 97 million records under lock and key at the Clinton library. Let us judge for ourselves. Executive privilege the Hillarites cry out. Okay, then the same goes for the Bush presidential records.

Posted by: thuff7 | November 13, 2007 11:24 AM | Report abuse

priusdriver writes
" edwards is clearly desperate, and lashing out like a drowning man."

That Edwards is clearly desperate does not invalidate his point: the Clinton campaign should be answering the tough questions, not planting the crowd with people lobbing softballs for their candidate.

Posted by: bsimon | November 13, 2007 11:06 AM | Report abuse

a plant? Some one who came to the speech all on their own? that's NOT a plant.

can't wait for obama's and edwards plants to come forward...oh wait , they work for their campaigans.

Posted by: newagent99 | November 13, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The story won't go away because the media needs to keep it alive. The race has to have some fuel, so now anything, especially anti-frontrunners, will be emphasized.

Posted by: rdklingus | November 13, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The media built Hillary up, just like Howard Dean. Now, they will crush her too. Watch every article from now on, no matter what the source. they will all be critical of her, because the R media can't let a Dem win. Happens every election.

Posted by: drindl | November 13, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Firstly, Clinton hasn't been doing whatever for 35 years. She practiced law, authored a "crash and burn" health plan and was "First Lady". Her truly public and political career began when she was elected in New York State. That makes her the most inexperienced candidate in the race.

If you link to the interview with the Iowa collge student below with CNN, you'll see there were more plants in that audience that at a nursery in the spring.

Give it up Hillary and remember Harry Truman. The buck stops with you or is it Hsu?

Posted by: NoMugwump | November 13, 2007 8:01 AM | Report abuse

It seems, the only way the Democrats can lose the White House in 2008 is to nominate Hillary Clinton.

She's on an ego run; is it worth it to us to allow her to have her ego fed, while the country continues to slip down the embankment?

I think she's a poor choice.
She's got a record all right, as one of the leaders of the worst Democratic minority in recent history... Iraq sits on her weak shoulders. She's pro torture.

Give it to Barack
or watch the Unitary Executive Principle continue unchecked...

Posted by: vigor | November 13, 2007 7:18 AM | Report abuse

This is not a big deal. Unfortunately, too many people will not get up and ask the very questions posed by others, who may have been asked to do so. Given the range of knowledge expected of candidates on a wide range of issues how else can a candidate express themselves on a topic.
"Staged questions" are no different than position papers candidates prepare for people to know their positions. Too bad that these papers are only read by media and opposition folks for the "gotha game".

Posted by: iopsc | November 12, 2007 11:31 PM | Report abuse

It goes to honesty.
Too often Clinton has said,"I was not aware"
"It will never happen again" "I did not know"
Until the next time.
If someone cannot control her staff how can she control a country??

Posted by: wineberg | November 12, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't live in a senior citizen residence, but I do see the men hating Hillary, and the women supporting her.

I think the democrats are making a big mistake if they nominate her. The Republicans are setting a trap: Hillary is the biggest boon to the right since I can remember.

Posted by: river845 | November 12, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, formervac. I too live in a senior citizen residence with a ratio of roughly 4 to 1 women to men. Three months ago, it seemed practically everyone here just couldn't stand Hillary. Now I talk around and at least 3 out of 4 have changed their minds about her and support her vocally. No one is comfortable knocking her out loud any more. In particular, that ridiculous ganging up by the moderators at the last debate seemed to get her a lot of respect, she really held up under fire, you know. Interestingly, I used to support McCain, now I like Ron Paul.

Posted by: zukermand | November 12, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

I am a Democrat living in a senior citizen
residence. The male to female ratio is
1 male for each 4 females. Two months ago
the men were nearly 'solid' on only one thing. The dislike of Clinton as the nominee. The women were just the opposite, with a large majority favoring Clinton.

The men have not changed their position. About 50% of the women have....moving to
Obama or a smattering of other Democrat or
Republican nominee seekers.

The sense is that the further Clinton
exposes herself the 'falseness' of
here veneer becomes ever more obvious.

I was one of the few men who supported
Hillary. No longer! Too much of the
same old Washington politics. I have
switched to Obama.

Changing badges. Los Gatos, CA.

Posted by: formervac | November 12, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

it is usually unlikely that the planted question will not be known by the candidate,in this case hillary must have known because clearly the answer to that question was already available on her finger short a planted question always has an answer in advance and hillary knew that clearly.

Posted by: nasonmsoni | November 12, 2007 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I disagree with priusdriver. Polticians are *answerable* to the voters, not to their campaign staff. If they want to make sure Hillary's position on the issue was heard, then they should write it into a speech. If politicians get to ask and answer their own questions (while posing as inquiring outsiders), its another chip in the foundation of democracy.

Posted by: gmc177 | November 12, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

snore... a story w/ no legs that Edwards and the media is trying to stretch longer then it deserves.

to compare this to bush's "bubble" is naive and flat wrong. edwards is clearly desperate, and lashing out like a drowning man.

clearly it was not the best idea for the clinton camp, but when you have an event to highlight your energy plan... you can see why you'd want people to ask you questions about... uh... the environment and energy.

it seems obvious that question would have come up anyway. i doubt anyone thinks this is as nefarious as edwards would hope us all to believe.

he's a sad, sad little man.

Posted by: priusdriver | November 12, 2007 8:18 PM | Report abuse

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